Pickslanting Primer Update: Crack the Code Of Your Own Picking Technique!

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New Pickslanting Primer lessons up! This was a big one, over 2.5 hours of new lessons on the seemingly simple, and yet actually quite challenging, topic of learning to identify different picking motions.

It was also a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, because there is a certain amount of stuff you need to understand in order to differentiate one technique from another, and there is no way around the technical nature of some of that. So this update actually arrives in two parts. The first section “Understanding Escape Motion”, is a six-lesson sequence that contains the minimum amount of book-learning type concepts you need to identify motions. It covers what escape motion is, what pickslanting is, and why it’s necessary.

Thusly armed, you’re ready for the next section, “Identifying Your Motion”. We run each picking motion through a more or less standardized series of questions: what do I see that’s moving? What is the arm position? What are the anchor points? What is the escape motion? What type of pickslant can I see or not see? What phrases can I hear, and is there anything I can identify about them such as obvious even-numbered groupings, and so on.

It doesn’t include every motion available, but hopefully the process of working through all these will be a lesson unto itself in terms of how to approach identifying an unfamiliar motion, potentially others that aren’t included here. Also, while these aren’t motion tutorials per se, an enterprising person could probably glean much from simply understanding how they work, in terms of just going for it by trial and error.

We’d also like to thank @Joep36 and @PJferrandi for graciously agreeing to be our case study subjects, displaying their excellent DSX motion powers for our section on “Primary Motion” and how to identify it.


The amount of information and supplemental work that’s gone into your material in the past year alone, is astounding.

I don’t know if it’s partly because I’ve immersed myself in it or that the material itself has improved and been refined so dramatically but I feel SO much better equipped to diagnose or learn things now than I did previously. Ya’ll are doing amazing work either way.

Much appreciated Troy and company!


But are you any better at guitar? We’re wary of dumping truckloads of information on people if all it leads to is analysis paralysis. So the thrust of all these recent updates has been trying to be practical / hands-on whenever possible, and to reduce the amount of — and/or simplify — the purely conceptual stuff. If we can include hands-on tests and case studies as part of that, so much the better. But again, the real question is whether any of it is helping?

I mean… I think so?

Whether that’s been the year++ of pandemic working from home practice coupled with knowing what is ‘smooth’ and what isn’t or just the gradual building up of skills and repertoire of songs is probably difficult to separate.

The inspiration to keep playing and learning and playing and learning and trying as a result of all the content on this website plus the forum is extremely helpful, so…

I’m probably a dummy for looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I’ve just read far too many reviews of people who clearly enjoyed the learning experience of XYZ lessons but where it’s unclear if they actually got anything out of it. So I’m always willing to call out our own stuff if it’s more enjoyable than functional. The goal is to create real change.

Is there something you’ve been trying to learn for the last year or two, and has it actually improved at all? How can you tell? It’s so easy to just play the same things all the time and sound basically the same from one week to the next, one year to the next. We want to make it as easy as possible to effect real change in your abilities and to know for sure it’s happening. If that’s what you’re looking for, of course.

Hahah no @Troy I could not be happier you’re asking these questions. You are VERY good and being Columbo esque when it comes to making sure you’ve got your facts right!

But if you want the dead on honest truth for something I’ve been struggling with for a year with no real ‘breakthrough’ improvement that I can see? I still can’t cleanly crosspick that C based etude that you show in your crosspicking with the wrist and/or crosspicking with the wrist and forearm video.

I can play it ‘faster’ than before and I don’t believe I have a string hopping problem, but the issues I had in this thread remain (although I’ve not focused much on it since I feel like it’s beating a very low energy horse) and hasn’t cleaned up at compared to here Trying to push the tempo - Fisher's Hornpipe (help pls)

Now, that could be my fault for not really working at it, but I feel like I can more easily play fiddle tunes now as a result of getting more mileage out of working on easing the ‘force’ I use in my fretting hand as right now I think that’s where my main skill blockage is. IE: my picking fluency has probably outpaced my fretting fluency?

I dunno, I’m willing to be a huge guinea-pig on this so ask away. I don’t want to be blowing smoke either! I know I’m a better player now than I was a year ago (my wife told me so! :smiley: ) but I’ve also been playing a LOT in the past year.

But the thing I wanted the most (that bluegrass roll) doesn’t feel any closer now than it did when I took those videos.

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I think the new stuff is an excellent eye-opener and I don’t think you can get more clear than what you have here. This is a very in-depth nerding out perse and wide perspective of picking elbow/forearm/wrist posture illustrations and commentary. I find there is value in these updates. I have grown I feel in my picking and what kind of stuff I will tool around with just based on what I find is my easiest approach which is my old reliable elbow technique. I tell you this. My picking hand always seemed to be the bigger issue but now it seems that my fretting hand is the weaker of the two in the link and there is something to say about that. I also do what MAB and you said about doing the tremolo and slowing it down. I am now at the phase where I try to slow it down but maintain the same technique and motions. as they can always be sped up to synch my fretting hand.

if i may make a suggestion, how about giving some clear direction on how to start appropriating, your core motion, once you identify it?

I know you’ve handled chunking, and some synching stuff with the Volcano seminar, but I really believe CTC, needs to address how to get both hands working together in unison.

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Of course. We have a section on hand synchronization coming up after a few additional smaller updates. We are by no means done with picking motions. We’re just starting at the beginning and working in order, with the intent of checking all the boxes eventually.


Thanks Troy! That sounds awesome!

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Troy, stumbled upon this old thread the fact that I found your free videos right at the start of the pandemic really helped, but I’ve honestly made more progress recently than I have in 10 years. I was subconsciously doing some of these things, but the fact that I didn’t know meant that once I had the info I could easily tweak things and make RAPID gains. Plus the content is enjoyable and fun. Had to come on as a member and hope to see the content keep coming. Love the interviews especially and escape specific analysis.