Martin Miller technique


Hi you all!

I’ve taken a very close look at Martin’s picking technique, and couldn’t it be that his finger extension just looks like a individual movement from the joint of the index finger because he often has his middle and/or index finger fixed under the high E string?
When you do this and flex and and extend your thumb it looks like an individual index finger movement( especialy with the middle fnger fixed under the high E string). Doing the same movement with no fingers fixed under the high E string and the optical illusion is gone.

What do you guys think?


I haven’t looked closely at Martin, but when I attempt similar, it’s both. That is, for me the index finger jump feels like it is actuated by flexing the thumb (in reality there is probably an increase in wrist extension as well), and results in the MCP joint of the finger extending slightly, while the MCP joints of the middle and ring fingers flex slightly. The combination of one joint extending while the other joint flexes could contribute to what you’re describing as an “illusion” of the index MCP joint extending with greater magnitude than it really is (i.e. relative to the metacarpal), but at least in my case, I can tell you that there is still movement at the index finger MCP, though perhaps less than someone might assume.

Has Martin said anything about what the movement feels like to him?

Note also that when Takayoshi Ohmura talks about his unusual index finger movement (while a different finger joint is involved than in the Miller technique we’re discussing), he says that the source of the movement is the thumb.


Yes, that is what i mean. There is movement from the indexfinger but it does not come from lifting the index finger itself but from the thumb flex and extension movement. Because his middle and ringvinger are often more stretched, and at times more or less fixed under the High E string, instead of curved the lifting looks more then it actualy is.

I think i remember that Troy said in the vid that Martin himself does not feel this finger lifting, but i m not sure about that, wouod have to watch the whole vid again.


I believe the same thing, although I may be jumping to conclusions. Concentrating on thumb movement for me has been the final piece that is allowing me to progress after years of not getting any better. Martin seems like he does a little bit of this on every pick motion. This is hard to do for me at speed. I can do it at moderate cross picking speeds but not fast scale run speeds. For now I am just using it for string changes. In addition to using the thumb to initiate that finger motion, it also seems helpful to initiate pick slants opposite to your neutral state. Thinking of rotating the wrist is ponderous feeling but if I just think of flicking my thumb, the wrist follows. It may be its just tricking my muscles to do what I want but it is definitely helping me. Martins technique seems to be the cleanest out of all the interviews so I have spent quite a bit of time watching the slo mo.


Yeah, same here.
Interesting also is watching Martin is that he seems to have quite a bit of shoulder movement, especialy with rums over all six strings. So quite a bit of string tracking.

The Pat Metheny lick and the Steve Morse part is unbeleivable!


Interesting, I will take another look and check out his tracking.


Hi all,

Since Troy’s two minute tutorial on cross-picking, I became obsessed with practicing this technique. I still didn’t get the hang of it, and I don’t know how long this could last, but I am enjoying the journey :slight_smile:

Anyway, this made me watch a lot of Martin Miller. I don’t know if you guys have seen this before, but he was already able to play difficult patterns like the Glass Prison arpeggios quite fast since he was a teenager:

I looked at this, then I looked at his newer CtC interview and it seems to me that his technique is still pretty much the same.

In my opinion, unlike Troy’s Albert Lee inspired cross picking in the tutorial which relies on a DWPS, Martin’s cross picking actually relies on an almost neutral pick position (in regards to the pick slanting axis).

By trying to practice this kind of pick slating neutral cross-picking, I have noticed that there is a big athletic element to it. And that the more you practice it, the faster you can do it. It also made me think that in this case, string hopping becomes a consequence of the movement which helps the technique rather than an obstacle. But not sure how fast you can get.

Does anybody share this view?

EDIT: in regards to the previous two comments, I think we can clearly see the tracking in the video I have posted.


It’s hard to tell if any thumb or finge movement is happening. Quite impressive though!


jesus. there was maybe like one note in there that was only 94% perfect.


Watch the cracking the code vid Troy did on Martin and you will see the thumb/finger movement. I think it comes from the thumb flex and extend motion that makes it looks like he actualy also lifts his indexfinger seperately.

What also amazes me also is how much shoulder movement ( stringtrackingj is involved. You can see it happening here quite well.
So, to me it looks like Martin uses every muscle, thumb, wrist, forearm and shoulder, working together to achieve his phenomenal picking.


Yeah, it is just incredible!


for any of the NPS nerds this is 16ths at 161 (10.7 NPS)…alternate picking one note per string. yikes. 5% faster than tumeni notes.


It is insane! And even cleaner then Steve Morse.


There is still a “pickslant” happening in Martin’s technique, as there is in almost everyone we have filmed. Watch him play pentatonic lines and you will notice various slight tilts to the movement that appear to track the direction of the line he’s playing. The technique itself doesn’t appear to require pickslanting in the sense of “angled motion path that causes escaped pickstrokes”. But there’s no question that when he does the movement it is not always uniform, and may have a “directional” component to it.

The same is true of Carl Miner and Steve Morse. Things are messy in the real world, and it is difficult to parse which of these movements are necessary, versus how much of this is simply idiosyncratic from player to player. But when you see multiple people all doing the same thing, I have to constantly remind myself that it’s probably happening for a reason…


I am posting this here to avoid creating another thread. The CtC folks will probably announce it in a dedicated thread at some point:

Can’t wait!! :star_struck:


Man, thank you. I practiced thumb and index movement, but it didn’t work for me, but yesterday i saw what you wrote. Last night i was able to play the martin miller arpeggios fluently, wrist extention with the middle and ring fingers on guitar, and string tracking from the shoulder are the keys i guess. Thank you again for showing what i couldn’t see.


Great to hear i could be of any help.
Also the hand/arm position is very important, you have to come a bit more from above. What i mean to say is that your arm is a bit more in a vertical position then most players would have it.


This is what i mean with the arm position.

As you can see the arm Andy Woods is comming a bit more from the side in comparison to Martin Miller’s arm which is comming a bit more from above. Steve morse is even comming more from aboven, a almost vertical arm position.


Thank you @Andjoy. Arm is more vertical, ok. Martin holds the pick at the tip of the thumb, even one third of the little jazz 3 is visible. What do you think of that?


Yes, little of the pick is stiking out and i believe he has a loose grip.
Sometimes the pick is more on the pad of the index finger and sometines more on the side; he switches between those grips.