Personal help with picking (Video)

Hello all you lovely people I hope you are safe wherever you are in the world.

I’m new to Troy’s course and trying to get the hang of downward pick slanting. I’m just wondering if it’s correct? I’ve always struggled with very basic picking patterns and wanting to get it down finally.

I have another problem which is holding the pick too close to the tip? If I hold it with more space it feels unstable and weird. That also makes rest strokes hard for me to do.

Any advice would vibe greatly welcomed.

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Thanks for posting! This looks great. What is the problem you’re trying to fix here?

Try not to worry too much about the “pickslant”. The way you determine what kind of picking motion you’re doing is by looking at the way the pick is moving. You’ve done a great job with the filming angle here so you can see clearly what the pick is doing. When you play those first three notes on the first string of this phrase, which way is the pick moving? Are downstrokes going up in the air, or are upstrokes going up in the air, or are both going up in the air?

The answer in this case that downstrokes are going up in the air. This isn’t downward pickslanting, this is what we used to call “upward pickslanting”. But again I wouldn’t look at the pick, and I wouldn’t call it that. I’d just look at the motion. Since the pick is moving in a way where downstrokes are going up in the air and escaping, we now just call this a “Downstroke Escape” motion. You’re using wrist motion for this, so the video that describes what you’re doing is here:

If you give this a watch, it should look familiar to what you’re doing here. Further, if you have to play a single note on a string and do it smoothly and quickly, what does it look like? Try filming that and look at it. Does it look like this motion? If so, then you know what you’re doing.

The key to this motion is that it requires phrases where the last note on each string is a downstroke. So for example if you try this phrase, it should feel pretty smooth:

Give that a shot and see how it works out.

The phrase you’re playing in the clip above is a three note per string scale, and obviously in this kind of phrase there are moments where you have to switch strings using an upstroke. If you look at what you’re doing at that moment, you’ll notice the motion changes. This is a little helper motion you’re making to help the pick get over the string on an upstroke. This is very similar to what Brendon Small does. Take a look at and see if you can see what happens around the seventh note where he has to do the upstroke - watch in slow motion if you need to:

What you’re doing looks very similar to what Brendon is doing here. This is a very common approach to scale playing and it works fine.

Your grip also looks similar to Brendon’s in terms of the small pick exposure you’re referencing. I don’t play this way but for high gain scale stuff it’s probably fine. For things like bluegrass I don’t like it because my fingers hit the strings and stop the sound. But for metal type stuff it’s not a big deal. You can always just use a little more exposure if you want. It won’t affect your motion substantially. It’s just something you have to tool around with.

In short, everything looks good here. There’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing, specifically, you’re just learning more about why you do what you do, and maybe that will help you feel more in control.

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Thank you so much for getting back to me and thank you for all of your hard work with the site and videos.

Yes I’m 100% certain I’m an upward pick-slanter it definitely feels the most relaxed at higher tempos. But I really want to learn how to downward pick slant and having spent the last couple of weeks going through your videos, others youtube vids and forum discussions, still struggle with it. I like the snap of dps more parallel to the string (Sounds clearer) and with more of the pick showing. And it feels more rhythmic. But its very hard to play anything resembling a speedier tempo.

I think your advise saying that it’ll come together more naturally now after recognising (String hopping or bouncing etc…)

Thanks very much for your response, really appreciate it and can’t wait till the magnet ships!
P. :slight_smile:

You’re already doing upstroke string changes in your scale example, so you’re already “doing downward pickslanting” when you need to. This is why I’m saying don’t think about the slant of the pick, think about the motions you’re trying to make. What you have here is a very nice looking wrist technique that can do both escapes. There is no stringhopping or bouncing present. It is similar to what Petrucci, Gilbert, and Andy Wood use. There’s no reason to change any of it. Lots of people would like to have what you have here. Just keep using this motion on a wide variety of the kinds of phrases you want to be playing.

When you say “downward pickslanting” I think you might be referring to the playing style like what the Gypsies and George Benson do. This is a whole separate playing style. In that style, you use a specialized motion where upstrokes go up in the air. In this “upstroke escape” or “USX” style, you can only ever make upstroke string changes with alternate picking. So you can’t play a scale with alternate picking like you’re doing in this video, for example. All the licks have to fit the motion. The Gypsy community has gone the farthest in terms of making their players aware that the style requires a specialized fretting vocabulary, and fitting that vocabulary to a wide variety of licks and songs.

So you really have to think of the Gypsy / Benson EJ style like a separate language. Unless you want to learn that language, and be able to play whole phrases in it, there is no immediate need to learn to do it. My best advice is to continue using the picking style you have now, which is a wrist technique that is “primary DSX” but can also do upstroke escapes when necessary.

Always go with what is working first. I’m just trying to make you more aware of what that is, so you can become all-powerful with it!

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Great no worries you’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you and stay safe!