Shocked by how bad my right hand technique is (help please)

Hi all

I’m new to the forum so thought I would say hi and ask for a bit of guidance on my picking technique. I have been a big fan of the cracking the code videos for a while and have recently found a bit of time to go through the pickslanting primer.

It makes so much sense and I knew that I wasn’t doing something right because I can’t achieve string changes at high speeds. Not sure what I was expecting to see when I recorded the videos but I am a bit shocked at how sloppy my technique is…:see_no_evil:

It looks like I am ‘bouncing’, which doesn’t surprise me all that much, but I definitely thought that I might have been achieving a bit of an upward escape motion. I’m fairly horrified that I have been picking this way for about 20 years (as it is so inefficient), but sort of relieved that I have an obvious mechanical issue to overcome. The only issue is that I’m really struggling to affect a successful downward pickslant / upward escape motion. It feels like whatever I do, the pick just wants to stay buried between the strings on the upstroke. Even if I physically angle the guitar differently, the motion compensates. Fairly annoying…

Has anyone got any experience correcting this type of picking motion? I’ll take a look through the forum to see if this has cropped up anywhere else, but any direct feedback would be much appreciated.

My goal is to play Cliffs of Dover. I know I can do it. I have the speed in my fingers, I just can’t apply the technique and now I know why.

Any thoughts and feedback would be really useful.




Hi! Thanks for signing up. These are great clips - did you make a Magnet?

You don’t have an upstroke escape problem. You’re upstroke escaping just fine! You have a stringhopping problem, meaning you’re escaping all the time even when you don’t want to. As a side note I wouldn’t call this playing super sloppy, it’s just the inefficiency of the motion that’s holding you back. The accuracy of it is decent, so once you eliminate the hopping you’ll clean the rest of that up no problem.

The two most common picking motions in use for USX picking are wrist alone, and wrist plus forearm. We do cover both in the Primer, but we have the most detailed instructions for wrist motion. This is also the closet to what Eric himself uses, though there may be bits of fingers here and there and perhaps even some forearm that we can’t see beneath the Hendrix jacket. Either way, you can totally do EJ style lines with wrist motion, and that’s what Bonamassa and Andy Wood do, among probably many others.

If you haven’t checked out the wrist motion section of the Primer yet, give that a shot. In particular, we just put up a little step-by-step checklist specifically for USX wrist motion which I’m hoping will get us closer to eradicating the stringhopping menace among those who are stil battling it. If you can check out Chapter 1, and then the checklist right after it, that would be useful feedback. It is precisely your issue that we’d like to address most.

Edit: Don’t attempt pentatonic lines with this yet. Just do a single fretted note on a single string. That should be enough to verify if you’ve got the motion working. You can move right along to phrases once that starts to click.

Give that a shot, and put up another clip when you’ve had a chance, and we’re happy to take a look.

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Hi Troy

I actually just used a clamp and my gopro to emulate the magnet. Seemed to work out ok.

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. I’m going to go back through everything with a fine tooth comb. I genuinely thought that I had been making adjustments to my picking based on the Primer videos, so it’s funny to see my hand just disregard all instructions and do its own thing. Really highlights the importance of filming yourself in this matter.

I’ll post a video when it feels like something has changed. Thanks again and great work on such a fantastic site and such a weight of truly educational materials. You are a very inspiring presenter!



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