Pickslanting Primer Update! Getting Started With Super-Efficient Wrist Picking Motion

I’m convinced Eric’s primary motion during the fast pentatonic playing is a (relatively flat) RDT path with some subtle rotation. I could never be totally sure from my DVD rips (TEG, TFAoG, ACL shows), but I had noticed that on several phrases he would end in the radially flexed “cradling” position you’ve mentioned in other posts.

Somebody went to the trouble of uploading 4k 60fps remasters some songs from ACL '88 to YouTube. This lick, beginning at 1:20 really appears to be RDT + rotation when slowed down to 25% speed.

I’m well aware that I’m conversing with one of the few people on Earth who has spent as much time looking at Eric’s picking hand as I have, so any comments or observations would be appreciated.

I’m much less familiar with Mike Stern’s form.

Ha! I really haven’t spent huge amounts of time looking at Eric. The few times I have, what I noticed is that you can find examples that look more “wristy” and you can find examples that look more “fingery”, and everything in between. So I was annoyed that the “famous” guy wasn’t the best poster example for wrist technique for watever lesson we were working on. Add to the fact that he seems to have morphed over the years.

Off the top of my head I can’t remember which ones I looked at that were really fingery. But I’m looking at the 1997 House of Blues performance right now, because it’s the first later one I could think of, and his form at this point in time has more finger action. He looks almost like Rick Graham, with the relatively flat hand position and the thumb seemingly involved for the alternate motion and the downstroke sweeps:

It’s not like his playing is any worse here, it’s still the same level of Eric. It just looks like the technique has morphed a little.

I have no doubt that you’re right, that when there’s more obvious wrist motion, it’s probably some type of flat reverse dart motion. From a practical perspective, the reason why I don’t think he’s a super great example to show people is because of the idiosyncratic variation. If we want to show someone what “wrist motion” looks like, there are much simpler, more textbook examples we can use for “player with only sideways hand motion” — like Bonamassa or Stern.

Also, as an aside, people that do this finger stuff seem to have a hard time turning it off, especially when the technique they want to learn is similar in overall form, i.e. interference. Martin Miller for example, I’ve talked to him, and he was like, hey how can I do wrist motion? Anything even vaguely deviation-y, his finger thing starts up. Nothing wrong with that, it’s great, as we all know. But because he’s a teacher himself, he just wanted to know how to do these other motions.

Turns out, Martin also has a Gypsy-style arm position that he uses, which I didn’t know about because he doesn’t really use it. When he switches to that, he has a Marchbank-type all-wrist motion that he can do at 240, and he can play synchronized USX, all-evens lines that way. It’s super fast and easy for him, and obviously wrist. It’s just different enough from his other technique that it lives in a separate mental box.

Sorry, I didn’t answer this one. Yes our new teaching replaces the old teaching — we totally removed all the older wrist section videos. We’ll continue updating this new section to make sure we cover all the bases.

However, this doesn’t really change the end result as much as you might think. Someone following our current teaching can see results that look like Di Meola, and they can see results that look like the clip I posted above. It’s just a simpler way of teaching this family of techniques, with a better explanation of the “why” and they “how” of what you’re trying to achieve.

Once again, I would only worry about this if you don’t think your current technique is optimal in some way. If it sounds good and feels good, then keep on keepin’ on.

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The 3 finger grip. Eureka! I was sat in the car with my strat watching this video all afternoon whilst I was waiting for my kids to finish a class and I couldn’t work out what was different about my grip and yours. As soon as I read this and tried a 3 finger grip my crosspicking feels so much more fluid on the upstrokes which has always been slowing me down.

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It’s really more of the arm position and type of motion than the grip. The grip just allows you to reach the strings with the appropriate pick attack, from whatever overall form you’ve chosen. The trick is that there are a lot more arm positions and wrist motions available than there are pick grips. So you can kind of think of those as the bottleneck, not the ability to do actual motions — ironically. Which is why in the latest update we just get rid of the pick at first. I think that makes it much easier to understand the type of end result we’re trying to achieve.

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Gotcha. Will check the new stuff out soon

@Troy , thanks for the quick and informative responses to my RDT TC. I’ll start working on the pick grip and report back with another TC. :+1:

Really great update, well done - very easy to understand and apply.

Right on. You’ve got a great start with the speed and synchronization so far, let’s see what more experimentation can produce.

Glad to hear it. We have a few updates to this section planned which will continue the hands-on theme. I was under the weather so we might re-film a few of these in the process as well.

An idea: when trying a single note trem with a pick I see in my video a clear USX motion. If I do a trem on a double-stop, across two strings, then I can easily feel and hear when I’m hitting both strings evenly on upstrokes and downstrokes, with a neutral “escape”, which is what I’m aiming for. Might be useful to others?

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Possibly. The trick is that any time you do something mechanically different than the actual thing you’re trying to learn, there is the potential that you just learn that thing, instead of the thing you intend. Playing double stops is a cool skill though so if you want to learn that, sure. Very useful on mandolin.

Otherwise, I don’t know what I’d worry too much about the escape right now. In your case, what you really want is smooth uninterrupted motion and good attack. We don’t really care which escape it is currently, since all the escapes are useful. Just translate that speed and sync we’ve achieved to a note. If you can do that, that’s a big step forward. If you run into trouble, make another TC and we’ll take a look asap.

This update is, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant pieces of music education I have ever seen. Not only the content but the delivery was second to none.

Also, the “tap test” chapter is so critical IMHO. In my case, doing exactly what Troy explains there (focusing on making just one move 8th notes and let the reverse motion just happen because the string is in your way) was my most recent “aha!” moment which led to a noticeable improvement in tremolo speed.

I’ve been struggling with the update and your comment has helped, thank you!

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The more I work with this idea, the more I wonder how the radius of the bridge/strings/fretboard come into play. In other words, are we neutral when hitting both strings evenly? It almost seems like there’s some downward slanting. Thoughts?

I really don’t think you need to worry about this. The number one thing everyone should focus on first is smooth motion of any kind. Tiny differences in hand position, pick attack, or pick trajectory aren’t super relevant to begin with, since these motions are all super similar. In fact, as I demonstrate in the lesson, “USX” isn’t necessarily a different type of joint motion — at least in one of its forms, it’s just a different anchor position. This is why I’m not concerned what the escape looks like.

So if you can just get the hand moving back and forth across the strings with any power and smoothess, you’re off to a very good start. This is especially true if fundamental motion issues like speed and easyness have historically been a primary point of concern. And this is why doing it sans pick is a good way to start. If you can experience the motion in its smoothest form, then you know you can do it.


Can double-escaped motion using the the new wrist motion be approached from the opposite direction? I’m finding the ‘ergo mouse’ motion to be impossible, but I have a pretty decent motion from a pronated position.

Yes, Molly Tuttle uses the “dart thrower” form. However I recommend making a TC on the platform so we can take a look at what is not working. Not everyone will learn every motion, but the most important steps are doable by everyone because they’re based on being comfortable. And if any of those are failing, they can probably be fixed.

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OK, thank you, I’ll record one today

I posted a TC with an example of my attempt at the ergo mouse movement.

No worries we’ll check it out!

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