Picking Technique Before Pickslanting Primer

Hey guys, I’m new here and this is my first post (please let me know if I need to reformat my posting or need additional videos from me). I’m about to dive into the pickslanting primer that I bought last month. I’ve looked over some of the material that is in it so I am somewhat familiar with the terms. But, before I really jump into it I wanted some feedback on my playing so that I know what I should pay close attention to. In my opinion, my alternate picking is subpar. It’s sloppy and inconsistent. I shot these two videos in slow motion with my phone and I attempted to get a decent angle, I apologize if it gets shaky. The first video is alternate picking on a single string while the second is alternating between two strings. I look forward to seeing what you guys have to say.

(If this isn’t how you want members posting I will take the post down or the mods can feel free to remove it)

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I’m not great at analysis of motions, so hope that someone else will chime in, but it seems that some of your pickstrokes seem to move around the string as opposed to actually plucking the strings and some only graze the string. This might account for what you describe as sloppy.

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this to me looks like Wrist Flexion and Extension and some possible small wrist deviation movement as well. I think this would also be called bouncing perhaps since your using the same muscle group for both up and down and will get tiring after awhile usually the flexion and extension are blended with wrist DSX or USX to help smooth it over and make it so it isnt as tiring. Looking at it again it looks like your using DSX but with flexion and extension but could do it by wrist alone if you rotate your forearm a bit on the thumb-side towards the guitar then use the extension to lift above the string on the upstroke then it would be USX other wise like this you may want to put some forearm rotation in there for the upstroke.

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Sorry for the late reply, I just got off work. What you’ve said makes sense. I’m hoping that by going through this picking course that I can fix my playing. Thanks for the feedback!

Sorry for the late reply, I just got off work. It never really occured to me until I watched these videos myself that my picking was using flexion/extention motion. I always assumed it was a stereotypical side to side motion. So you are suggesting that when I play I rotate my forearm a little bit towards the guitar body help fix my technique? I’ll definitely give it a shot. I’m hoping that this pickslanting primer will help correct my technique. Thanks for the reply!

check out some of the andy wood clips and I think that may help with what im trying to explain. he has a DSX type picking but uses a pronated hand but just not as pronated as yours in the clips above. I think there are some on youtube that are free to view to check out.

I’m no expert either, but notice you aren’t using the pointy end of the pick. Some of your upstrokes appear to get stuck hitting the side of the pick. Maybe try rotating the pick so that down and up strokes equally strike either side of the pointy bit. I can take a picture if that doesn’t make sense.

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Alright, I’ll definitely look those up. Thanks man

Yeah I’ve noticed that too. The odd thing is that when I start out playing, I hold the pick in a “normal” thumb and index finger grip but when I start alternate picking, the pick slides from the side of my index finger to the front of it. In an effort to combat that I’ve tried gluing sandpaper on my picks to give me some extra grip. I think what’s really killing me right now is a combination of my pick grip changing while I’m playing and the fact that I (and I noticed this bit today) use a combination of writs and forearm movements to alternate pick. I can’t sustain my alternate picking for long because my forearm gets incredibly sore during and afterwards.

Hello!, i don’t have the sharpest eye when it comes to analyzing motions but i’d like to share my thoughts here (also this is my first time posting in the forum!.)

To me, your motion looks similar to EVH´s 1:00 DSX wrist motion that Troy demonstrates here at 3:50

have you tried to experiment with a middle finger grip like the one troy uses in the video?

You arm looks quite supinated in the videos, which is when you rest the pinky side of the hand on the guitar and roll the arm leaving the underside of the forearm exposed.
From what i’ve learned, the middle finger pick grip is related to very supinated arm setups like yours because it lets you contact the strings better. This could help you fix the grazing the strings problem that PickingApprentice described above. BTW sorry for my sloppy english!


Hey there! Sorry for the super late reply, but better late than never I guess. I have tried using a three fingered grip but I have never found it comfortable. I’m also learning that when I alternate pick, I tend to tense up almost my whole arm. Practically right up to the shoulder. I’ve got a lot to fix about my playing technique, it’s just finding the right place to start. Thanks for your feedback!

Hi @Metalhead018, sorry for the delay in responding!

I think this is good starting point for a DSX (= downstroke escape) motion. Are you familiar with this terminology? Let me know if not and I will elaborate :slight_smile:

Long story short, you can try to refine this motion by practicing a variety of licks that exclusively change strings after a downstroke. The exercise below, starting on a downstroke, should give you an idea of what these string changes are supposed to feel like. But please don’t spend hours on this alone - you can find plenty musical ideas that satisfy this mechanical constraint :slight_smile:


Give that a try and let us know how it goes.

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Hey thanks for the feedback! I am semi familiar with the terminology. I haven’t had a lot of time to go through the pickslanting material due to work so I haven’t watched/practiced much yet. I’ll definitely give your advice a shot. Since making this post, I have unfortunately learned that there is a lot wrong with my current technique. I tend to use a combination of wrist and forearm/elbow motion, in which I practically tense up everything from my forearm to my shoulder to be able to play fast. There’s also the issue of my pick grip, which changes as I play. Frustrating stuff. Hopefully I’ll be able to find something that allows me to play fast accurately without tensing up and becoming fatigued. Thanks again for your input!