Thanks for watchng our stuff! Those episodes are a little old now, and the truth is we probably would not place as much emphasis on what the pick looks like now, because it was a little confusing to people trying to learn. What you should really be thinking about are the picking motions you use. Because the motions you use determine the way the pick moves.
We can use Batio as an example. Mike’s core motion when he plays fast looks like elbow motion. There may be some other joints involved but his elbow definitely moves. And the elbow is a simple joint which can only make a “downstroke escape” picking motion. This is the motion we show in the episode where the pick moves diagonally, and the downstroke goes up in the air. This is not caused by the slant of the pick. It is the motion of the joint he is using which causes this.
Also, Mike cannot change that angle of motion because the elbow doesn’t do that. It’s a simple joint which can only do downstroke escape. To do upstroke string changes, Mike must involve another joint as a helper motion. And he only does this very briefly, for certain phrases, right at the moment of the string change. We don’t know what the helper motion is, it might be fingers or forearm. But it’s not really a picking motion. He can’t pick that way continuously. He can only make a brief turning or lifting motion to get over the string. The only real picking motion Mike can make at very high speed is the simple one that does downstroke escape. So 95% of the time, when Mike is playing fast, that is the motion he uses.
I’m pointing this out just give you a sense that the answer to your question is very specific to the joint or joints you choose. In Mike’s case, he only makes the helper motion very briefly once every six notes because it is not a picking motion on its own. If you use a different joint for picking motion, like the wrist joint, that’s a more versatile joint. The wrist can pick continuously in all directions, so it can make all escapes. Great wrist players still usually have a default or favorite motion, but they can switch the motion to other directions unlike Mike who needs the helper motion.
Short answer: the most important first step in picking technique is to know what kind of motion path your pick is making, whether that’s downstroke escape or upstroke escape. In other words, which diagonal motion. It can also be helpful to understand which joint you are using, because this will help you understand why the pick is moving that way, and what other ways you might be able to get it to move.