Qwertygitarr's picking motion

Ok so this video is actually from another thread where I just wanted to explain the rotational picking motion from my perspective. But Troy though it was a good idea to make this a separate thread so here you go:

This is a brief explanation of my current rotational technique. I’m not sure this is helpful for anybody but hopefully it will explain one way of playing. As you can hear, I’ve not mastered it at all yet but it’s a big improvement from before as I’ll show in the video. And please excuse my horrendous Swedish pronunciation.


Fyi moved this to its own thread since it’s more a of a general post on your awesome (!) technique that others may benefit from. Feel free to rename the thread to whatever you like.

Edit: More generally, this is a really cool motion and we see variations on this theme all the time. I suspect what is happening here is a combination of wrist motion and forearm motion, although it probably feels like one motion to you when you do this. It’s unclear if it’s escaping all the time, or only on certain pickstrokes, but that would be interesting to take a look at.

If you can do a “down the strings” take on this in 120fps with some good bright lighting that would be cool. No worries if not.

Nice work here!

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Great technique!! I’m curious about the string tracking. Are you using an elbow/shoulder approach? Are you using any wrist movement for tracking?

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Ah, thanks Troy! This video was requested by Suhrite mostly for fun but I guess it makes sense to make this a separate thread. I might replace this video for a better one if I get the time.

Well this is work in progress as you can hear and I’m not really 100% figured out yet. As for the motion it definitely feels like only rotation a la Eddie tremolo picking. If there is wrist it’s something that happens automatically when relaxing and applying the rotation to the guitar.

It does definitely NOT escape all the time. It’s the one-way DWPS setup using swiping and escape hatch for descending. So it’s not a “true” alternate picking style but more like a Yngwie style. But swiping is something I’m really working on hard to be able to keep this simple picking motion. And a lot of time the swiping noise is far less of a problem compared to other noises in my playing.

Thanks, man! I actually posted another video in the other thread about just these things, but took it down because I thought it took a bit to much of focus from the original thread.

This is actually something I’m really working on. The goal is to use only the wrist for string tracking and to keep the arm still and relaxed. But whenever I need to “perform”, like in front of a camera, I often tense up a bit which makes the arm “help out”. This feels less smooth and less reliable though.

If using only wrist, you need to adjust the angle of the picking quite a lot with thumb and fingers to maintain the same edge picking (especially on the low strings) but it’s actually not that hard.

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That may very well be true! At some point I would like to iron out which motions are without a doubt “forearm”, and which motions are “other stuff with forearm”, because it is often hard to tell even as the person doing them.

And related to that, I would like to iron out how many basic types of these blends there are. In theory there is no hard cutoff between these different types of motion. But in actual practice it may turn out that players fall into a few basic categories. And that can make it easier to tell a new person, ok, in the big picture, there are these four ways of doing this, with a million little variations you don’t really need to worry that much about.

Alternate picking is alternate picking! The escaping is another story but I would say you’re definitely reaping the benefits of efficiently alternating motion here.

Yeah, I know it’s easy to have a picture of what your doing when it in fact is something completely different. For me, when my playing feels “right” I can move my hand away from the guitar, mid-playing, and the motion I’m doing is the same as shaking my hand like I demonstrate in the video. So that should tell me that my motion is more or less only rotation. At lest there’s were I feel the motion coming from.

I’m really in awe of a lot of other movements different guitar players make with ease. Like the deviation movement for example. I can’t for my life understand how to do that in a supinated setup. It becomes arm rotation instantly for me. So that whole movement thing is really interesting.

Here is some picking from another angle. This is not perfect by any means but maybe it can be interesting to see for someone. I’m happy with the motion but have troubles with muting unwanted strings.

Is there anybody else on the forum who plays like this? Do you also have problems with muting? Or how do you deal with it?

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Here is a magnet style view for those who’s interested. Here you can definitely hear the open strings ringing in the background as well as not so clean descending scales. :woozy_face:


Awesome picking, sounds badass! It doesn’t seem as noisy as you suggest!

This is something I also observed in my playing: swiping allows for much “simpler” right hand motions, which makes it quite reliable provided your muting is tight. On the other hand, when I try to clear all the string changes (e.g. using TWPS) my error rate tends to be higher and my mistakes are more noticeable/audible!

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I really like the sound you get with that technique. It has a nice consistent attack.

As Tommo says, using TWPS has a bit of a steep learning curve to play reliably, and you seem to be doing just fine with DWPS.

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Thanks guys for the nice words and for taking your time!

Yes, I agree with this completely! I know your playing Tommo and your playing is crazy clean! I’d love to have that amount of control but the reality is that playing this way is hard enough for me. I’ve worked quite a lot on TWPS but this playing style FEELS like how I envisioned Gilberts picking would feel when I grew up. And although sound quality comes first, the feel of playing freely is super important. And I say this knowing that all different picking movements and styles are learnable if you take your time. But I guess we all have to make up our minds which battles to take and for what price.

Thanks, man! Yeah, the pick attack sound is really important in my mind and I think is something we haven’t talked too much about. Some guys just get that sound that YOU like and it’s often hard to understand what components that make that happen. I think this might be an interesting thread by itself, maybe even worthy of investigation from Troy himself.


I think my “main” motion is fairly similar, I too had a lot of trouble with muting, or at least trouble combining what I felt was my best picking motion with adequate muting.

I used to try and sort of “drop” the heel of my hand straight down both to mute unwanted strings or when wanting to mute the sounded strings and that basically rendered that picking motion unavailable.

I’ve since found that sort of “flopping” the whole arm over towards the bridge allows better muting while keeping the same motion available, or at least something that feels like the same motion and allows me to play the same things.

I guess it’s a bit similar to Marty Friedman’s hand position but much less extreme.

edit:ok, so if I mime what I think I’m doing with my arm in the air without a guitar, it’s like Marty, but when actually holding a guitar the difference between “dropping the heel of my hand straight down” and “flopping my arm over to the side” is pretty hard to really see by looking.


Actually PG does use quite a lot of swiping, so you may not be too far off the mark! In fact, I struggle to find examples of fast players who do not do it - at least occasionally - when they play near their top speeds. EDIT: especially live.

Did you ever manage to use swiping for inside string changes - like Jorge Strunz does?
I am considering trying this approach for my fastest playing - the idea would be to use a sort of “neutral” picking path, completely “ignoring” the string changes.

We know it should be possible to obtain a very good sound quality because we have seen at least one example of an elite player that can do it. However, the left-hand muting is tough!

EDIT2: Here’s an example of Batio doing exactly what I am talking about:
EDIT3: ok maybe not exactly, but approximately :sweat_smile:

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I’m not even sure that’s possible with the amount of DWPS angle I normally use. Or of course it’s possible but that would alter the angle of the upstrokes and I think that would take away from the natural feeling I’m going for. And just to make sure I get this right, this would only occur for a DWPS player when doing inside picking going TO a thicker string, right?

But from looking at YOUR playing I guess it would work for you as you have a far less steep slant, right? You being a TWPS player, how would you use it? In the same manner as Batio?

One thing that I’m sure you’re aware of is that this type of the swiping would make the pick do the swiping BEFORE the actual target not is played, right? When I tried this it really felt like a mistake, but that’s just me.


Oh cool! I have a bit of a hard time understanding what this looks like in reality. Do you have a video of you doing this or can you make one? I’d love to see!

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Yeah, if I could play as cleanly as Batio at these speeds, I’d be very happy!

To be fair, in that clip he is not explicitly ploughing through the “wrong” strings, he is still doing the TWPS movements but at these extreme speeds (14nps or so) the pick paths become almost flat and gently graze extra strings. I think the result still sounds terrific, and I don’t think there are many (any ?) players out there who can play twps lines this fast and good.

Re inside swiping, I basically agree with all your statements :slight_smile:
I tried it a bit yesterday and could not avoid the bad feel/sound! Strunz’s cleanliness remains a mystery!

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This is brilliant! After a very helpful discussion with @induction, I have been practising with a rotational moving very slowly today, but was unable to do a tremolo style of movement at all with it… until now and I saw this video!! It feels like it could be a very nice and controlled way to pick across all of the strings. I need to give it a good bit of work - for example my hand is more flexed than yours, so I can’t seem to get it to work with the ulnar side of the palm resting as anchor - my fingers want to flex and touch the strings behind where I am picking, so I have an abrasion now (I have literally played until my fingers bled!) Do I perservere with this and try and work on moving my hand/palm/flexed fingers into a more useable position?

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I watched this video and the motion looks very similar to mine. If I look closely at what is happening, if I make the motion on top of a table to see what is happening, there is a synergy between the wrist and the forearm. It appears as if the forearm is “counterbalancing” the wrist movement. IOW, the base of the wrist is not perfectly stationary.

You cant see this from above, you need to view it from the outside.

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Great picking, fast and has a lovely sting to the tone- aggressive but not abrasive!