My technique with many example clips

Hey guys! I can play a bit cleaner than this if I take the time to warm up, but I felt like that might be cheating. So here’s me pretty raw. I seem to use an Angle/Pad grip similar to Martin Miller and Guthrie Govan, and I’ve taken lessons with Martin Miller and Andy Wood directly trying to get this specific technique dialed in, but I’ve been holding the pick this way pretty much my whole guitar life. All videos here were recorded with a Canon SL2 DSLR. Minus the last bonus video. If there’s any secret tip I’m missing please let me know! I’ve mostly been told at this point to just keep grinding.

Here you can see I’ve got decent intermediate capability on this 1NPS Alternate Picking thing when I’m not muting. Most likely just needs a ton of grinding, I do sometimes see some swiping when I use the slow-mo cam on my Iphone. Also, I tend to get the thumb joint involved similar to a circle picking style which I am still working on controlling or eliminating from my playing.

Now when I mute I’m still using a Angle/Pad grip but it gets a little closer to a Pad/Pad grip. And in slow-mo I swipe even more, which enrages me to the point of nearly throwing a temper tantrum. Camera also seemed to had focused on my fretting hand for which I apologize.

Next we have my 2wps technique for when picking multiple notes on a single string. I also worked with Martin on this and it has improved significantly because I swipe the strings MUCH less now although admittedly when I do swipe it is barely a swipe, perhaps I’m just too nitpicky. Also messed up hardcore on a lick I normally play easily here on an inside doubled string change. Pay no mind :slight_smile:

And now we have the same attempt at 2wps while muting which seems to be much more troublesome for me as I most definitely swipe after upstrokes no matter how hard I try, unless I switch to the slightly more Pad/Pad grip but then my speed capabilities become severely diminished. Should’ve played some diminished licks for this one in retrospect.

Lastly I’m including this extremely old clip of my as a young teen in 2008 at age 17, kind of embarrassing but helpful to see that I pretty much hold the pick the same way.


Thanks for posting! This all sounds pretty good so far. Especially the scale clip.

The main comment I’d make is one I make frequently, which is to apologize for confusing everyone with some of the terms we’ve come up with over the years! Specifically, I think it’s less helpful to think about rotating your forearm as “doing pickslanting”, and more helpful to think of it like it is: a picking motion that rotates using the forearm joint. There are players out there, like Jimmy Herring, whose core picking motion is almost exclusively that motion, or a blend of that motion and wrist motion. He’s not really “pickslanting” all the time, he’s just doing his picking motion, which happens to rotate.

So what you’re really trying to do in these clips is mix several different motions together: deviation-style wrist motions (windshield wiper action), flexion/extension wrist motions (motorcycle pumping action), rotating arm motions that move at the forearm joint (key turning action), and it looks like some finger motion as well, Martin-style, for when you’re doing 1nps phrases.

None of these motions are wrong! They can all work, as players like Martin and Jimmy show us. But one thing I can point out here is that by doing these mixtures, you’re really trying to learn several techniques at once. And it’s not wrong to do that either. But it might take longer and be a little more confusing.

The smoothest playing in these clips is the scalar one, and that one looks the most like deviation wrist motion. And that’s because of the lightly-supinated arm position you’re using, which makes wrist motion closer to (but not always exactly) wrist deviation. That form by itself can play all the stuff you’re playing here, with relatively little drama from the arm or fingers.

So one thing you can try is doing just that motion, and seeing if you can get your wrist to do smooth escapes with a more or less stationary arm and no finger involvement. They key is smooth. Sloppy doesn’t matter as much, but it can help to think about the just wrist moving sideways with as little resistance as possible, and the arm / fingers being loose or simply uninvolved. Not stiff and immobile, just not needed. Here are some examples of what that looks like:

Alternatively, when I do the motorcyle pumping (flextension) motion, I tend to try and do mainly that motion. So you can try that too. Here’s an example of what that looks like:

Note that in both of these techniques, I’m not making only single escape motions, or only double escape motions. When I film it and look at it, it ends up looking more like what we saw with Albert Lee’s technique, where he sometimes does a whole phrase or part of a phrase with a single-escape motion, but he might mix in bits of double escape here and there. Another great recent Instagram clip shows what this looks like:

In general, when I’m playing in both of these techniques, I’m not really aware of what kind of pickstroke I’m making at any given moment, I just try to focus on whether it feels smooth and sounds good. If it does, then it is good. Obviously, knowing what should be happening technically, and occasionally filming myself to see if that really is happening, is a big help. But I try not to be super analytical in the moment because that seems to lead to exaggerated motions.

The benefit of simplifying to a single technique is that you can maybe get a better handle on that smooth factor. If however you film yourself and find that there are bits of finger motion or arm motion, or different mixtures of pickstroke types (upstroke escape, downstroke escape, double escape, etc.) that’s fine! That’s your hands doing their job. But the hope is that by mainly trying to be smooth with only one of the techniques at a time, the variations will be less exaggerated, and you will (subconsciously) enable them only when you need them.

Nice work so far, keep experimenting! Not “grinding” - experimenting, casually, with a focus on smoothness of feel and good sound.


I will post more vids in a week or so continuing to try and implement your suggestions. However the problem is when I try to relax, which is required to play smoothly, the thumb gets wayyyyy more involved. Similar to Yngwies style of picking which I find to be less optimal for alternate picking arpeggios.

There’s nothing wrong with using finger motion if that’s what you want to do. Martin does and it sounds great. I think I’m just pointing out that our instructions have tended to blur the line between all these motions, particulary “two-way pickslanting”, which is very often just a picking motion that’s curved. Apologies for the confusion.

In general, I try not to stop myself from doing motions I don’t want. Instead, I try to imagine the motion I do want, and get a mental image of what it feels like. For example, in the case of wrist motion, I imagine the hand itself swinging side to side, almost like a dead fish, at the end of my arm. The “swinging hand” feel is not really a “fingers” feeling to me, which I imagine as a much more detailed kind of plucking feeling. For wrist motion, the fingers are uninvolved, like wearing a mitten. They’re just along for the ride.

Now there are some mixed metaphors for you! Just throwing out some hints. The way I imagine a motion to feel is often the only overt way I can control it.

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Picking up a bit of speed, but I’m still swiping n stuff when you slow it down. It’s driving me crazy, been at it for years and I just can’t get it. Every time I think I’m finally improving because it sounds decent and it getting more comfortable and faster and seemingly cleaner, I put it on slowmo cam and I’m still swiping stuff inaudibly and it’s just the most discouraging thing ever.

Hi! Thanks for the update. Someone wrote a YouTube comment recently calling themselves “trash”, and when I clicked through to their channel, I saw the same thing I’m seeing here: awesome playing!

Seriously, this is a nice improvement and very far from trash. As a general rule, from someone who has been down this road many times, when you find yourself getting upset at things you can’t see or hear without a slow motion camera, and would never have even known existed before, that’s good! That’s what we call “getting somewhere”. Michael Angelo Batio uses swiping as a core part of his technique and I don’t recall anyone ever, once, mentioning hearing it or thinking it detracted from his seemingly robotic levels of clarity.

So… nice improvement here. Much smoother than the arm flip flopping you were doing earlier. I’m not seeing anything that looks like swiping and I’m certainly not hearing it so let’s pretend it doesn’t exist. Because for all practical purposes it doesn’t. (cf: Tree falling in forest, no one around.) Instead, try to get the rhythm smooth. There’s that little pause halfway through the arpeggio. Eliminate it. Just move the hand with no pausing, as smoothly as you can. Ignore any errant notes you hear or feel and just try for even time with total relaxation.

Don’t try “do” anything with the arm or hand, like arm turning or form changes or motion changes, to get over the strings. When this type of playing is done at its best, there is no perception of making string change motions — it just feels like moving your hand side to side. So let’s just fake that right from the get-go because that’s where we know we’re going to end up. If any part of the motion feels unsmooth or feels like it’s causing the “pause”, make small changes in your arm position until it goes away and you can do the rhythm perfectly consistently.

Another thing you can try is the three-finger / middle finger grip. I’m always recommending this for players experimenting with wrist motion because it’s usually new for most people and comes with no baggage. Same instructions, perfectly smooth in-time motions with relaxation and see what happens. Note that this grip requires a more supinated arm position, as we explain here:

That’s a USX lesson but the form is basically the same, the wrist will just be moving what feels like more flat to the strings. You don’t have to want to play this way forever, it’s just a learning opportunity. And you never know, it may work, and you may keep doing it.

Edit: This all refers to the first attempt, the wrist motion attempt. The finger motion attempt looks good but I haven’t worked on that, so you’re on your own with that. But by all means experiment, you may find something awesome.

Keep up the good work!


Thank you for taking the time to respond so extensively. You’re incredibly giving to the guitar community. You’re gonna be in the history books for sure. I also wanna thank you for lifting me up. I really do get down. I’ll keep posting the progress in this thread as I continue to keep trying to get this thing relaxed and easy and I’ll try to spend less time worrying about slowmo footage. Can’t thank you enough dude.