Picking conundrum

Perhaps anyone with a similar background could comment on this.

On 2NPS ascending scales I’ve always naturally used USX motion, whereas for descending 2NPS scales I’ve always naturally used DSX picking. This has always just felt natural. Outside of this context, I otherwise use DSX for everything else, whether ascending or descending.
So the anomaly/exception is my use of USX motion just on ascending 2NPS lines. This became very ingrained when I was a teenager and still feels natural today as I have been playing again. It really is cemented in my approach to pentatonic scales as well as my approach to things like the last repeating section of the song No Boundaries (if anyone knows that part towards the end that I’m talking about).

I’m running into an issue trying to adapt this is the Cascade seminar. For whatever reason, doing DSX for ascending 2NPS lines just feels super super weird and I don’t know if that’s a place I really want to go. And similarly doing USX for descending 2NPS lines also feels super strange. I know that there are ways of adapting these lines for the descending licks to fit with DSX though it’s not as ideally suited.

In theory, if I can play fast using USX while doing ascending 2NPS lines, then it seems like there shouldn’t be any reason why I couldn’t do that descending and maybe it’s just a weird muscle memory thing that I can’t seem to break. It would be nice to have a unified approach for both ascending and descending lines, whether that’s DSX or USX rather than this hybrid approach, and I don’t know if it’s best to just force myself to adopt one or the other consistently.

It just feels like a strange conundrum, and hopefully the question makes sense.

That sounds like a perfectly reasonable way to play pentatonics from many perspectives!

Now you loose me, Cascade is all about keeping USX for both ascending and descending. So the ascending part should be no problem for you.

I see. Like you say, there are people in our situation that have developed DSX (inverted) versions of the Johnson descending licks. Maybe check some of those licks out. What is it that makes them not ideally suited?

Yes, there might be benefits of this but I not sure. It all depends on if you like the way it feels to ply like you play now. If it does, keep going. If not, then work on a change.

I also did descending pentatonics with DSX before I found CtC and it was (and is) a bit strange to do descending USX, especially if not utilizing EJ sweeps. But the feeling of the EJ fives and similar sweeping licks during pentatonics feels great with USX so I’m happy I worked on it. Maybe it will come faster that you think with a little work.

Do you have a video of you playing with your current technique? It’s always interesting to see where you’re coming from.

Sorry I think I misspoke in one section. I meant to say that doing DSX for ascending 2NPS lines feels really weird, so it seems problematic in the sense that if I wanted to just convert to DSX for everything (and adapt the lines to that) then it presents an inconsistency. Of course, since I naturally do USX for ascending stuff, I’m already there for that, so yes the ascending stuff should be fine for me, exactly as you say. But for the Cascade material is seems like the descending lines are really where the real money is, and that’s the area where my brain just really protests to using USX. So should I just try to use DSX adapted versions of the lines only for descending? Just seems like it makes it tricky to go back and forth between DSX/USX in this way. Idk, might just need to mess around with it some more.

And to answer the question about how the adapted lines are sometimes not ideally suited for DSX, I have adapted the descending 5s lick, which ends with the six and the period octave note. The way I play it is to move it up to the next pentatonic box, but it makes that final few notes really weird unless I do a quick box shift down for the last 3 notes, which is just not quite as smooth. I’ll see if I can post something that illustrates this better than words can.

Just throwing this out there since you mentioned you are mainly a DSX player

Not sure if you’ve seen it or not but it’s a really great tutorial with tons of different cascade “coordinations” for DSX players.

Thank you, I did see this earlier today actually in a forum search and will look closer at it. I could certainly use his approach for the descending stuff if I want to stick to DSX for that, and then maybe I can still use USX for the ascending stuff and see if that combo feels comfortable.