Longtime wanna-be shredder

Hi guys, I’ve been checking out Troy’s stuff for forever and lurking here soaking up tips and advice. I downloaded CtC back when it was new and there was just the 2 seasons, then the Pickslanting Primer, and although I love the documentary style of CtC (and Troy’s “bedroom” gave me childhood flashbacks) I never had sufficient time to get into heavily studying the concepts…moving, marriage, job change, children, job change again, moving again, job change again, etc. But now I’m finally devoting time and fully getting into it.

I’ve been playing about 30 years, starting in the late 80s, when all I wanted to do was play like EVH, George Lynch, Warren Demartini, etc. But pre-internet in a tiny rural Southern town with no guitar teacher, the best I could hope for was an occasional Guitar World or Guitar for the Practicing Musician (remember those?), where I learned a lot of scales, licks, etc., but failed to develop any real shred speed. I largely abandoned my quest once grunge came along, and I found myself playing in cover bands with a large emphasis on classic rock where virtuoso speed wasn’t really needed.
Flash forward 30 years and between nostalgia, YT vids, the availability of any music I want (old or new), and things like CtC, I’m back to wanting to shred!

A while back, I got this book called “The Daily Burn: A Daily Guitar Practice Program for the Development of Accuracy, Dexterity, Strength, and Speed” by Chris Cotter (who I am not affiliated with in any way at all…strangely, there’s zilch about him on the internet, even though his book is widely available). I had seen a video with Tom Hess…sigh yes, THAT Tom Hess, but his advice on picking stuck with me for some reason, and I started working on a technique where the side of my picking hand thumb grazed the strings and my hand was slanted back. I started working on the book using this technique, and got progressively faster and more accurate. Once I took whatever roundabout way I came back to diving back into CtC, I realized that I was UWPS! By this time (about a year later), I was able to blaze pretty well using that technique, but my DWPS was sorely lacking. I am thinking about going through the book again using only DWPS this time, but I don’t have as much time to devote to it now, and it’s quite a slog. Instead, I’ve been just doing DWPS tremolo picking as much as I can every day. I’m not sure the book itself is anything special, or that it just made me realize that I just wasn’t picking as much as I needed to be to get where I want to be. I think I may be better served just going through the CtC courses.

Even just as far back into CtC as I’ve gotten, Troy’s discoveries are mind-blowing. I would’ve done anything if Bill and Ted could’ve transported Troy back to my room circa 1988 to share his insights so I could’ve blown Mike Varney’s mind, gotten a Shrapnel deal, and gone on to stardom replacing Paul Gilbert in Racer X…be still my beating heart.

Also, Ben Eller’s YT channel has been very helpful at filling in some gaps and providing me with some other 2WPS licks to practice on, so I have to give a shout-out to Uncle Ben :slight_smile:


Hey sorry for the late reply here, but wanted to say: welcome! Thanks for joining and checking out the forum :slight_smile:

I definitely suggest going through the Primer as there’s a lot of newer stuff you may not have seen yet, including a lot more detail on picking motions than we had a few years ago, so hopefully that may be helpful. Let us know how it goes!

Thanks for the welcome! I’m just digging through the old stuff I got and starting with the Yngwie stuff, it looks like that may be the best place to start (?). Hopefully once I get through all the stuff I already have I can catch up with the stuff that came out after I bought the two seasons way back when.

sounds like my life story except I had ultimate guitar but I wasted so much time stuck in ruts pre youtube.

It’s tough wading through non-essential stuff on the internet. Once I realized how much free guitar lessons were out there, I suddenly had the opposite probably from when I was growing up: information overload!

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Welcome to the forum indeed! Based on your nickname, I’d guess you also like Gypsy Jazz? If so the Yngwie system (DWPS + upstroke escape) can be a great starting point, as it works both for… well Yngwie stuff, and also for the lines of Gypsy masters like Django and Joscho Stephan.

If anything gets confusing about the distinction between pickslanting (the angle of the pick) and escaped/trapped strokes (the pick trajectory), let us know!

Thanks! I’ve got pickslanting down, I’ve been doing that for quite a long time now, and I get UWPS and DWPS, but I haven’t gotten caught up to the point of getting updated on the new lingo/concepts (I saw something about “double escape”?). I know a lot of what we’re diving into with these concepts and Troy’s amazing discoveries is still evolving a bit though.

Hey GypsyBlues73,

Welcome! I made a bit of a mistake taking online lessons from TH, if I don’t say the name he can’t get his lawyers after me right? lol. Anyway, I spent three years trying to get the picking hand thumb muting technique to work. I found it EXTREMELY limiting, especially as it only really works with economy picking. It really limits wrist motions also and if you want notes ringing out, you can’t get that with thumb muting, you gotta change techniques mid riff and it’s not that easy to switch from thumb muting to muting with the palm or side of the hand.
Anyway, I could go on and on for pages about he who shall not be named :sweat_smile: but instead I’ll say this, work through the primer here and you’ll have all the right hand info you need to get where you wanna be!