Pick slanting before Troy

I have always been an alternate picker and an unconscious 2-way pick slanter.

I purchased the Paul Gilbert, Vinnie Moore and Michael Angelo’s StarLicks videos when they came out, which was the basis for a lot of my practice schedule; exercises and a lot of metronome work. Eventually I was doing reviews of this videos so I have all of them :slight_smile:

I remember noticing Paul Gilbert’s pick slanting and experimenting with downward pick slanting; thinking that it may be important, not realising that I was already a 2 way pick slanter and how important it really was. I had none of the insight Troy did, just that it was a thing.

When Troy’s Cracking the Code came out it was a lightning bolt and made perfect sense to me.

So I find it very bemusing when players dismiss Troy’s seminal work on the topic, their loss I guess.

Anyone else have any picking slanting intuition prior to Troy’s definitive study of the topic?


I think that there has been an evolution in CtC, where pick slanting was a “thing” at first, but now it is really about single- or double-escaped, and if one escapes on the downstroke or the upstroke.

I thought about picking pre-CtC and had no escape at all unless it was REQUIRED to change string, and this is arguably the worst possible thing to do (given how slow/expensive that motion was); back then everybody was talking about small motions, no unnecessary movement, etc., but CtC showed that they were well-intentioned but deeply confused.

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I wish. I had moments of break thrus but alas I could not discern what I was doing when I did it so I could not repeat it the next day or even an hour later. I guess I didn’t have the cognitive abilities of looking for or at what I was doing at the time. It wasn’t until I watched some of troys stuff in the beginning that I started paying more attention and in fact in the beginning was the complete opposite of what Troy was doing or talking about. I was at a loss for a while but I mentioned on a youtube vid that what I did looked like the opposite of what I did. Instead of upstroke escapes I was the downstroke escape guy and he stated that was also a thing. For a long time I was like do I have to throw this out now after making progress but then learned no I don’t I just have to add the other component. Sorry for the long verbage. There is alot of insight on this webpage and I am thankful that it exist for sure. I don’t care what the naysayers say, haters gonna hate., and its to bad for them.

In hindsight it was brute force approach on my part, practicing 10-15 hours a day in my late teens. I used a metronome bottom-up approach, but I also used a Shawn Lane top-down approach because I simply tried to pick as fast as I could despite being sloppy.

At the time I wasn’t aware of these terms or the philosophy it was just a happy accident, starting with an upward picking slanting approach which morphed into a 2-way pick slanting approach. Which I didn’t understand until I saw Troy’s work.

I wonder if starting with upward pick slanting makes for an easier transition to 2-way pick slanting?

I’m just curious, how did you motivate yourself to practice that much?

The only thing about upward pick slanting for me is that it felt like I had a better contact point for wrist deviation and elbow movement via the base of my thumb pad as the pivot point and felt a better connection with the guitar by doing it vs using like the knife edge side pinky side of hand which did not feel as good to me.

I wasn’t aware of pick slanting as a concept but was struggling with the inside/outside picking thing (the string hopping thing. I hated it!), especially when hitting a down on a lower string followed by an up on a higher one.

My intuitive fix for that was what we all here know as Upward pick slanting. And it really worked. I wasn’t particularly fluid in my playing but at least I managed to play some runs at a moderately fast speed. I wish CTC existed back in the day.