Self awareness of early shredders


Hey all,
At last I am making some actual progress on actual music at actual proper tempos with a DSX (downstroke escape) motion (I will post some clips later but I’m so happy with my progress in the last week) What it means though is that I have to rearrange or even change notes of licks to suit my new found 1 way escape motion to help me cross strings.

Which is making me think: I am making my own music and arranging it because I know that changing after an upstroke will get me stuck in between strings. I am aware of this because of CtC. I’m aware of it.

So surely all the single escape players, Ywinge, Johnson etc were also aware of when they were able to change strings, since they would almost always change after an up, and arrange lines to suit. So why were they not able to articulate this in teaching videos etc when they were doing it quite deliberately. Surely once they got the technique by feel, the process of rearranging lines must have made them think “why am I rearranging this line this way?”

Not a criticism of them obviously (who am I to argue with any of those legends) but it strikes me as fascinating despite loads of ppl being able to shred with single escape motions, it took till Troy to figure it out and tell them what they are doing! All they could come up with was advice like “use small motions, wrist only etc”…

The only people I can think of who don’t have to think about rearranging lines are crosspick guys, as their motion gives them total freedom of playing anything without having to rearrange!

Once again this whole topic of guitar picking fascinates and intrigues…


Im thinking they WERENT so conscious of it after all because they learned those techniques as little kids.

It may never have occurred to them that there was any other way to hold the pic etc.

So I sort of doubt they ‘rearranged’ lines per se. That is something WE are doing since we are on a totally conscious level (adult learners more or less painting by number). I imagine with them it was more like goofing off and certain patterns just worked and they kept doing those patterns etc


Maybe yes. I guess then they weren’t copying other ppls music, because that would have got them stuck (unless they copied other ppl who used the same motion. They just found licks that worked and went with that?


Yngwie might have copied Uli Roth a bit lol. dunno

I think in general though they just worked out their own ways. I suppose thats part of being a “genius”…the ability to know when you run across something that works and then master it and expand on it

Yngwie said he could play any Blackmore solo by the time he was 12. So we are talking about the thought process of a kid here. He probably just found cool stuff that fell under his fingers right and he played those licks a million times

if u think about it…no one in the world could have taught Yngwie to be Yngwie, or Eddie to be Eddie


Yeah that makes sense. I guess that is Genius, figuring out something no one has ever done. No one told Einstein how to discover all the physics he discovered, he discovered it himself!


im no genius but im halfway to being an idiot savant!


Pure anecdote here, which may be a special case or may not:

When I was younger I knew explicitly and consciously that I could only change strings after an upstroke (I was pretty classic DWPS, in retrospect). Because of people giving shit advice on internet forums, I thought that this meant that I was a failure, so instead of learning to make more music, I spent months and months with a metronome. The irony is that I was actually pretty good at the rotational Yngwie DWPS sort of thing then (I’ve only partially gotten it back now). This is one anecdote, and I’m not an “early shredder,” but I knew pretty well what my limits were.


Oh no! I’m sorry you got bad advice. What did they say? Are you now back on track with things?

See this is what I mean, I knew someone would figure it out and be aware of what was happening and be able to articulate it and what phrases one could play with a certain escape path…


Greg Howe was definitely aware of what stroke he was using on string changes and he for sure was rearranging things to fit. He mentions it several times on his Hot Licks video.

pretty sure he was a dwps guy because he lines up his licks to end on upstrokes so he always goes to new strings on downstrokes

like this run he did 3 notes on the first string so he started on an UPstroke and then he did 4 notes on the other strings to keep the pattern going. He mentions it several times about it being easier etc. Somewhere on the tape he mentions he prefers to go to a new string after an upstroke etc

The only way one would come up with weird scale shapes like Greg is if one was hyper aware of the string changes and upstroke versus downstroke etc

its weird though if u watch the vid, like on the next lick he shows (around 18:00) he is started some strings on upstrokes lol. Then he turns around and explicitly states he likes to start new strings on downstrokes


aha! ok i’ll watch this when I get home from work - but yes that would make sense that some people were in some less nuanced way aware of how whatever they used was working for them. How else would he figure out to start on an upstroke and play the lick unless he was in some way conscious of the need to escape the plane of the strings?

Actually one of the licks I am using to get more fluent with my DSX motion is a 4 note per string pattern - and guess what, I need to start on an Upstroke!


I’ve had a similar “what’s going on here?” moment when watching Greg’s vid. Ascending 3nps is comfortable for him, but descending he plays 4nps. Judging from his hand position and stuff he did with Vitalij Kuprij he is probably DWPS based 2WPS or just swipes very good.


Are we counting the gypsy guys as ‘early shredders’? Because their technique is pretty explicitly codified and so they’re all pretty away of the rules they use.


No I don’t think so - I don’t know much about gypsy style, but what I have seen on youtube lessons yes they do codify a lot of rules around pick strokes DDU etc…


Oh yeah, thanks to Troy I’m back on track, haha. My point was just that I knew for sure that I had a much easier time changing strings after an upstroke :slight_smile:


nice! I have much easier times changing after a down. Man it’s so strange (and cool) that there are so many options!