Reverse dart speed!

You’ve probably seen this by now:

Lots of great comments on here with tons of good questions and observations. It’s taken a huge amount of time the past few days to read and respond to them all. A number of players have tried the ideas and are getting somewhere with them.

And… we’ve got some clips. Here’s Luís Gomes. I’ve pinned this one to the top of the comments on our video. He sounds amazing:

Imagine getting a 40 bpm boost in your alternate picking speed and 60 bpm boost in your downpicking / uppicking speed, for “free”, in a day, just by changing your technique. Anybody else work on this and get any results?


Awesome video @Troy , and likely the best refutation of the naive conception of “economy of motion” ever recorded.

I can’t do all upstrokes or all downstrokes, but I’ve never spent any significant time practicing it. I’ve tooled about with the fast alternate RDT motion, but I seem to get better results with thumb/index and trailing edge rather than the three fingers, but I’m not fully sure why that is.

What’s the source on the clockface pull directions of the carpi muscles? I haven’t been able to find such a thing before, and I had been looking.

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Three-finger grip has always given me trouble because it feels like I have to slightly hyperextend my middle finger to get the right pickslant and edge picking amount. However, it definitely feels like an enormous amount of speed is on tap.

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@Troy Would you say there is an elbow component to the motion for your higher speeds here? I’m seeing forearm movement, up and down accompanying each pickstroke, and seemingly brachioradialis engagement. So is this a wrist-elbow blended movement, or do you feel elbow isn’t involved at all?

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The elbow definitely moves in some of these clips but I don’t really think it’s the source of the motion. The motion path that you can see in the clips is not one the elbow can actually create. That large, swoopy vertical motion — the elbow doesn’t go that way. And two, if I do these motions at a super slowpoke speed like 200 beats per minute sixteenths (humor intended), there is no elbow motion at all. Also if I do the motion with a gypsy flex, like Joscho’s strumming technique, there is no elbow motion.

So I think the elbow motion is either me being new / awkward at this and just firing all available muscles probably harder than I really need to. Or, it’s incidental small motion of the elbow joint as a result of the wrist muscles firing. Technically, the wrist muscles do attach on the upper arm. So in theory they can create elbow motion. But they attach right at the end of the bone so it doesn’t give them very good leverage. That may explain why you only see this small elbow joint motion when the wrist muscles are firing at max, and only in certain postures — i.e. death metal posture instead of gypsy.

That’s all just a guess. The practical question is do you have to do something with the elbow to make this motion work? For me, no. Learning to do this motion is very much about trying to tap the hand very fast at the guitar body. If the elbow moves, great, whatever, but I think you want that fast / easy hand tapping feeling first and foremost.

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I’ve been experimenting withg RDT for a week or so lately. I’ve tried some Paul Gilbert stuff and I’m trying to get some double escape phrases as well. I’ve noticed that my arm is pretty much flat, very litle supination. That could be why I’m still having trouble with DBX, although I’ve had some advancement lately.

I also recently got a mandolin, and just today, I realized that I have a more supinated form because I’m resting the palm behind the bridge, basically below the plane of the active parts of the strings. So the arm naturally supinates more to get the pick to the right height. While not perfect, I would say my DBX on the mando is working better than on guitar.

safe to say your left hand is gonna be burning for awhile trying to keep up LMAO

Awesome, thanks for addressing the elbowphant in the room! :wink: If you keep up with the technique, I’ll be interested to see how its appearance might alter over time as it continues to become more learned.

But there is rotation with Joscho, no? Or do you think that’s also incidental and shouldn’t be a focal point?

And that’s probably the real take-away here, I just felt compelled to inquire about my other observations.

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If you watch the strumming examples from Joscho’s interview in slow motion, there is extremely little forearm. It’s mostly the wrist just doing that wide swing. I think the flexed posture is just orienting the motion so it’s basically trapped and goes straight across the string plane, to reach the maximum number of strings. I also don’t think the very fast strumming techniques that you see with players like Guthrie are really forearm — I think they are RDT wrist.

Also, you can do the Joscho motion but just on a single string, and then there’s almost no forearm there are at all. I’m pretty certain that is the Roy Marchbank motion. I can actually do this motion as well I just forgot to put it in the video. But it’s basically the same wrist motion, just with a flex.

Yes! The mando body shape and the ramp of the strings behind the bridge sort of gives you a supinated forearm position. But not everybody plays this way. Chris Thile doesn’t look super supinated at all. If anything, he’s small mouse, but not tall mouse. When he goes into mega mode it looks more like elbow DSX so that makes sense.

After watching it a second time I noticed when you did the double upstroke version of it that the upstroke is a half rest stroke, the pick never touching the body. The alternate version goes all the way to the body. Did you train it this way as a reverse version of the rest stroke used in gypsy jazz? Or did it just naturally occur this way?

I don’t know what a half rest stroke is, but I don’t intentionally think about trying to make any kind of rest stroke with these techniques. You just try to go as fast as possible while making it feel easy. The “all upstrokes” motion was what I got first, similar to the player Luís whose video I linked to. For whatever reason that motion seems easier to discover by trial and error.

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basically is just a double down, but i kind of like the new term half rest stroke as it makes it easier to comprehend as far as trying to describe the picking motion. you aren’t fully going to the rest, but cutting short to get back faster.

This would be a different twitch sensation though right? more turning (only way i can describe is pronate supinate like turning a key or screwdriver is what i mean when i say turn) twitch motion as opposed to a knocking (maybe not quite the up and down, probably depends on if the player is doing dt or rdt) twitch motion. i see many gypsy jazz players fall in both of these categories and sometimes i believe they can do both. i think dorado and his son amati, i believe i have seen do both.

I’ve been working hard on my forearm/wrist usx for a good while now, but, when I see these newer rdt wrist motions, it really makes me question whether that’s where I should start focusing my energy…!


I’ve spent not tons, but a decent amount of time learning a USX motion (because…Eric Johnson), as DSX is what came natural to me. I think my USX got ok but it takes much more focus and concentration.

The new RDT stuff makes me think I should just close the door on USX. There’s nothing wrong with USX obviously but I think the important thing is to play to our strengths. If something is working we should run with it. Anything that feels challenging after a good old “college try”…we’re probably doing it wrong.

I guess all I’m saying is don’t go jumping ship because of some “cool” factor. I could say that’s what lured me to USX at all…EJ is just so cool! But with a little creativity and even, if needed (gasp!) full on changing a couple notes here and there, I can use DSX and play most of his lines, at least to some degree.

Now, if there is something about your current motion that leaves you wanting more, maybe it’s worth trying some DSX. Have you messed with it at all? If not, who knows…maybe it will come easy to you!


Lol! I see what you did there!

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I’m not actually hitting a very high speed with my usx motion. I’m not sure if that means something about it is inefficient, or if I’ve not spent enough time trying to hit high speed…

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@Troy Thanks for the awesome content!

I was wondering if you have any prefered pick grip for mixed escape lines while taking on this reverse dart thrower form? Or does they all feel/perform roughly the same?

Personally I can’t do this due to my thumb not flexing as far as some peoples. Idk if this is an issue or not, I’ve no idea how far your thumb can flex backwards @Troy

One thing I wonder is can you do a full run across all the strings with this? I know a lot of people can, I’m just iffy on the one string speed being a test of the full guitar. The pick changes angle as you cross the strings, so theres no way I personally can do this, I’m no where near as good as most of you tho lol. I think a classification on different hand builds and their most effective picking styles is something to look into. Like I said I literally can not do this due to my hand construction.