Slow with one escape, fast with the other? Then the CTC team wants your footage!

Hey all Codecrackers!


If you can only play fast with one type of single-escape picking (say DSX), but you always end up string-hopping when playing the other type (say USX), we would like to see your footage - and we may be able to use it in a future lesson!

Please attach your videos in the responses below, or send them to me as a private message. 2~4 short videos should be sufficient.

Licks with “few notes per string”, like straight pentatonic scales, are typically those where this kind of issue is most obvious. Even something like this (trying to start both on Up and Down) could work:

-----4-4---5-5- (loop indefinitely)


In preparation for some new Primer material, @Troy and I are looking for one case study (or more!) of “Anti-Primary Hopping”.

What does that even mean, you may rightly ask? :slight_smile:

We want to look at someone who:

  • Can only play fast with one type of single-escape picking (for example, downstroke escape licks)
  • Has a string-hopping problem when trying single-escape picking of the “opposite” type (for example, upstroke escape licks)

These issues are typically amplified in things with few notes per string, like pentatonics (or more generally 2nps licks).

  • Do you find that you can play a straight pentatonic scale only if you start on a downstroke (or upstroke)?
  • Do you find that things get horribly jumpy / stringhoppy when you start a pentatonic with the other pickstroke?

Then you may be the case study we are looking for :slight_smile:

I want to thank you all in advance for considering this, your footage will most certainly help many other guitar players out there :slight_smile:

As it is of course tradition, I will attach a link to our filming instructions:


I think I’d be a perfect candidate for this :smiley:

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Define fast! :grin:

I seem to be able to do this with both strokes, however, it takes a few reps to do the upstroke version as well as the downstroke version - would this be helpful If I caught this on film or are you after a complete string hopping issue?

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Thanks both for considering doing this :slight_smile:

Yep, basically we’re looking for a pretty obvious contrast “it definitely works” VS “it definitely doesn’t work” :slight_smile:

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I can do some fast USX and I’ve actually had some really nice progress recently but it’s still tensiony and I get pain in my elbow knuckle after doing it a lot. If I showed you footage you’d tell me there’s nothing wrong with it. Ascending upstroke changes are the worst, I tense up and double strike the string often. Too bad it’s about obvious contrast because I still don’t have a clear idea how to fix my USX. Fortunately I’m getting a little better.
What will these new lessons be about? I think I’ve discovered some interesting stuff about tracking on shorter distances (3-4 strings max) after I started to get into more wrist oriented USX instead of forearm-wrist. Basically the thing is pure wrist deviation is a straight line and you can’t move to other strings without an additional component (usually flexion descending, rotation or thumb wiggle ascending). I wanted to make a longer post but if those new lessons are about it then I’ll just wait for them.

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Hey @adamprzezdziecki! @Troy may be able to elaborate further but for this particular lesson we were thinking of showing a stark contrast between a motion that works and one that clearly doesn’t (for the same player).

Your case is indeed more subtle because all the USX example you posted look and sound great - the problem is that they don’t feel great to you (and that is of course a problem!).


I don’t think this is the complete picture: you could also have pure deviation all the time (as the core picking motion) and allow the elbow + shoulder joints to do the tracking by positioning the hand in the right spot at all times.

Yes, I’ll talk about it in my post. I think it works only for lines that move a lot in one direction, not for the stuff like roll playing, which of course if done purely with the wrist (or almost purely because I don’t think it’s possible for ascending upstroke changes) will include something that is supposedly a straight line upstroke. I don’t want to get into that now, I’ll make a detailed post in a week or two.

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I feel like this would probably describe me quite well. My DSX is pretty good, or at least im kind of happy with it, however my USX isn’t up to par.
I will try to film some examples.

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I tried to do this, as my escaped downstroke technique is much smoother than my escaped upstokes… but with that example lick there, my picking falls all to pieces if I try to start on an upstroke. :rofl: Doing upstrokes on the beat just feels so alien to me.

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@Joep36 awesome! Many thanks for considering this, we’re looking forward to your videos :smiley:

@Drew I may have a nice cheat for you - to trick your brain into playing the same lick with an upstroke. Displace the accent! I.e., group the lick like this and start with downstroke on the beat:

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Here is a quick clip which hopefully demonstrates, i wasn’t going to post as i know its not the best light, frame rate and angle but im at work and quickly edited a vid on my phone, and think ill now be more likely to follow up with a proper video!

First clip is starting on an upstroke, more or less 2nps.
Second clip is starting on a downstroke, i can probably do it a bit faster but am definetly in Tension City if i do so.
I have left a few licks in which are typical of the sort of lines i play using DSX, I think of it as reverse yngwie/Eric Johnson.

Im happy to film properly with more specific examples if you think it will be useful?



That’s awesome playing @Joep36 :open_mouth: \m/

filming -wise this is perfect - only minor issue is that maybe the audio is out of sync?

for our purposes the contrast between the first two example is what we’re looking for. If you have a chance to film a longer USX example that would be great!

EDIT: I mean the exact same USX example, but where you loop it for longer

Thank you!!

@tommo I’ve made a test shot, please let me know if this is something you’re looking for.


Would you believe that’s the first thing I tried, and it’s STILL awkward as hell? :rofl:


This is awesome playing. What you’re calling “USX” isn’t really USX, it’s double escape and looks like the good (i.e. correct/efficient) kind used by Andy Wood and others. This is totally something I would encourage by applying to phrases that don’t have any kind of obvious downstroke-switching organization.

If at some level this motion still feels awkward to you, some trial and error may lead you toward a version of it that feels less so, i.e. by trying to go fast on mixed-escape patterns and until you feel any sense of resistance go away, sloppy or not.


I think this may be the case also in @gabrielthorn’s video. I.e. it doesn’t really look like “badly done USX”, more like “potentially promising double escape”. Further evidence is that we’ve seen Gabriel play the intro to tumeni notes pretty well :slight_smile:

Thanks Troy. I see exactly what you mean there, bit of an oversite on my behalf, i should have just labelled it ‘Starting with a downstroke’.
I will film properly over the next few days in slow mo. I have messed with other motions/escapes before, however i have just found it easier to play licks/lines that escape on downstrokes or utilise upwards sweeps or hammers/pull offs, so i haven’t put much time into the things im not so good at. That being said it would be nice to unlock those tools!

The attempt starting on a downstroke which i labelled ‘dsx’ is far from the fast smooth feeling you describe when talking about various picking motions, so i’ve just asumed it is fundamentally wrong.

I will get some videos to you as soon as i can.

This is probably too close to be useful, but I’m using one of those little tripods with bendy legs wraped around my upper horn to film this so there’s only so much I can do, I’m afraid - I could try breaking out my real camera and manually slowing it down, though, if that might help.

This also came across as full speed when I uploaded it to youtube, not slo-mo, but you can slow it down quite a bit on youtube so hopeflly that works.

The biggest thing jumping out at me, on the opening escaped downstroke section, is how irregular my timing is on the escaped downstroke on the low string, transitioning to an upstroke on the higher string - it’s like a full note longer than any of the other notes and I have no idea why. That motion just feels really awkward to me.

The escaped upstrokes, it looks like I’m going through the higher string, as often as I’m hitting it an bouncing off.

This is actually pretty awful, watching it slowed down. :rofl:

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Thank you @tommo for checking the video. I think my upstroke escapes are pretty awful, especially when I try to play pentatonic stuff. l’ll have nightmares about 2nps licks forever. :sweat_smile:

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Hey everyone, so I’ve had a chance to film some slightly longer clips.
This first one is a 2nps pentatonic phrase. Starting with a downstroke, this is pretty much it speed wise, its worth pointing out that it feels pretty awful, quite tense. I’m assuming that this is string hopping as I know the feeling of smooth and this isn’t it lol. At about 40seconds I go into the Yngwie pattern from fire and ice, 12nps before changing string. This is using my default picking, however there is a helper motion when it comes to changing strings. The helper motion isn’t smooth, sometimes it works other times it doesn’t. Also worth noting, if the nps decreases and the help motion needs to be used more often then the speed generally drops and tension sets in.

Next is a similar picking pattern starting with an upstroke

Yngwie Fire and ice starting on Upstroke

I hope these vids are ok, @tommo I’m not sure why the audio would be out of sync, it’s just using the phones mic, so hopefully it is ok, if not ill see what i can do.

Here’s another example of a lick i’m comfortable with using DSX

The last one definetly recorded in 240fps, i thought the rest of them did but watching them back i am unsure.

Let me know your thoughts, Thanks.