Pickslanting - good on one string, how take it further?

New to the world of Pickslanting… I feel like I hear and see the trap & escape happening with the pick now - on one string, that is. But trying to pickslant with a scale, it falls apart; I’m basically back to string-hopping. The obvious is to play the scale very slowly and gradually work up the speed. But since there’s probably more to it, and since so many of you have already reinvented your wheel, any further suggestions?..

Yeah, don’t do this. You’re much better off going fast-and-sloppy with the right motion from the get-go and then working on cleaning it up. If you go slow you’re very likely to be doing your old inefficient movement, just like you experienced, and you’re never going to get that to be fast and smooth. By starting slow you’re practicing the wrong movement and then somehow hoping that you’re going to switch to the more efficient one as the pace quickens.

Since you have the tremolo going, with what you think is the right technique, one thing you might try is to start out with the tremolo, pay attention to how it feels, and then try to maintain that feeling of how the motion works will you transition into your lick or whatever. To make this easier on yourself you might play the tremolo with an accent that matches the phrase. E.g. if the phrase your working on is based on 16th notes you might accent every fourth note of the tremolo picked starting note, that way you have a strong pulse going in to the lick.

edit: when I say ‘fast and sloppy’ I mean a comfortable speed. That might be like 140-150 bpm 16th notes. That’s fast enough that you can’t make it with inefficient motions but not so fast that you start tensing up etc trying to get an unfamiliar motion to go as fast as possible.


Good comments from @lars.

You mention playing “a scale”. That could be part of your problem. What fingering are you using, and what kind of scale is it? You won’t be able to pick every note if it is a 3nps diatonic scale, for instance, unless you sweep it. You’ll have to play phrases that are an even number of noter per string for single escape playing to work!

Lars, I take your point. Gonna give that a shot… Johannes, just trying a major scale. Mostly 3nps, but only playing ascending and yes, I’m sweeping to reach the new string if the pick is trapped. So theoretically it should be okay, but maybe that’s a bit too fancy until I improve. I’ll look for something more DWPS-friendly. Thanks, both:) Glad to hear more thoughts thought if anyone’s got some.

This helped me a lot when I first started working on pickslanting.


Just a simple chromatic fragment that always changes strings after an upstroke, so no need to sweep anything.

bingo; that’s the ticket

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Cool, glad I could offer an exercise that can help! The other tip on here about starting fast is really good too. I know it flies in the face of conventional wisdom and even contradicts what elite players preach in their instructional videos. Trying to think of some other stuff I had to work on (or am still working on haha). Maybe, during the string changes, just make sure your picking movement doesn’t change at all. Sometimes I’d notice good form while on one string and when the change came my picking hand would sort of ‘hiccup’ a little instead of just smoothly moving just enough to reach that new string. This wasn’t a string hop, I don’t think. This may mean your movements need to be a little ‘wider’ and that’s ok. Basically we are trying to make string change feel no different that going on one string. Smoothness is the key.

Regarding string tracking and range of motion: what are some of the ways people are doing string tracking, while maintaining a good, comfortable range of motion? Sure it depends a lot on the motion and form that’s used, but let’s say wrist USX or DSX. Just by “crane movement” from the elbow?

Right now I am dividing my playing between a DSX study I wrote on soloing over Giant Steps (gonna show and tell when I get it presentable :slight_smile: ) and EJ style 2nps USX. On the former, definitely doing all the tracking from my elbow. The EJ stuff…I am still working on this as I notice I am much better at ascending vs descending. When I ascend, gravity seems to help me just ‘fall’ to the next string. I need to film myself and see what I’m actually doing, but I suspect I’m tracking from the elbow when it works, and doing more of a small wrist deviation when it doesn’t work out so well.

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Playing just pieces of scale works too. Though not as a pure exercise but in a musical context, like playing over some chord change. Like


Then you may make them longer (involving 3 strings, 4 strings etc).
But you have to play it fast.
I don’t know why but nonmusical exercises don’t work for me. Like totally. It’s another kind of focus or whatever… idk… but I digress…
So, if you, for instance, have simple minor progression like i-iv-VII-III-VI-ii0-V-i you would train all chunks that you need to play nat.minor scale… and any major mode, actually.

RIght. Make it smaller, but not slower. The obvious seems to evaporate for me in the heat of frustration;)