Hi guys, ever since the picking primer got updated I’ve been messing with 2wps with wrist motions.
The movement mechanic isn’t “finalized” yet, it’s still a work in progress (aren’t we all? ) and I’m trying some variation with the pick grip, the contact point on the bridge, and the whole arm approach angle.
As you can see from the clips, it’s not bad (and I’m very happy that it doesn’t feel very different if I start on an up stroke or a down stroke) and I can get it up to around 115-120 bpm (sextuplets) but it’s pretty sloppy, and I feel like what makes it sloppy is the synchronization. What do you guys think?
So…5 days and not a single reply, did I do something wrong?
This all looks good to me, but I’d be better able to comment on it if the angle pointed more along the strings. Angle 1 is particularly unhelpful.
Thanks, so it seems I did do something wrong…
I’ll shoot it again when I get back home
This all looks and sounds great. Note that “two-way pickslanting” is not really what’s going on here, at least in the sense that we used to use the term, i.e. where we talked about turning your arm around to change what the pick looks like. You’re just using two different wrist motions to get over the strings, no change in “slant” necessary. I assume this is what you’re trying to do? You mentioned the Primer updates and that’s definitely how we’ve been setting things up with the form we’ve been discussing.
Note that we haven’t actually added any chapters about switching escapes yet, mostly because we’re trying to figure out the simplest way to present things. We don’t want to confuse everyone who has watched older versions of the Primer where “2wps” was how we explaind things. So nice work on your part for taking that next step and putting the two wrist motions together. Moving forward, if we keep the “2wps” term, we might try to make it clear that it only really refers to styles that involve deliberate changes to arm orientation or pick attack, like what Gambale does when sweeping in both directions, or like what David Grier does when he’s playing faster alternate lines. I think the terms does do a decent job of describing what’s going on in those scenarios.
What also looks on target here is the approach angle and ulnarized range of motion, which again we’ve talked about a lot in these updates. I like to look at the body-facing camera angle like in the first clip to see that, and this is a really good example of what that looks like when done right. No need to re-film either of these clips, we are seeing what we need to see here.
None of this strikes me as all that sloppy either — I think a lot of players would be happy with what you’re doing here. Any remaining errors will clean up over the “long tail” as you apply these motions to as a wide a variety of musical phrases as you can. As you do this, I would try to include things in that mix that aren’t strictly pattern-based, and have a wider range of fingerings with mixed numbers of notes per string on different groups of strings. An example of that is this country thing that put in the “Channels” section a while back:
It doesn’t have to be country in your case, any musical style works. But the idea is that when you’re playing more free-flowing things like this, you’re encountering a lot more picking patterns, fingering patterns, and anchor points, and this gives you a lot more ways to “feel” when something is working. If you just to 2nps or 3nps patterns all day, it becomes a little like a stick of gum that you chew and all the flavor drains out. After a while, you run out of ways to plays those lines any differently, and the learning tapers off. A more varied basket of stuff will keep those unusual situations popping up and give you more opportunities to do things right.
Again nice work here and keep us posted.
Edit: One other thing I’d ask is can you do these motions separately, single-escape style, so that the differnce in the two motion paths is obvious to you? This could be single-escape phrases that are exclusively one motion or the other, or just a single note on a single string which you attempt to hit with one motion, then try again with the other to see if you can turn them on and off deliberately. Over time you learn to discriminate by feel when you’re doing one versus the other, even when you’re playing lines that mix and match the motions and the mixing becomes more subconscious / learned.
The first clip is actually helpful for looking at the approach angle and range of motion — specifically whether we’re operating on the radial or ulnar side of the joint. For whatever reason, when we look at great wrist players who use this “lightly supinated” setup, many of them, like McLaughlin, Di Meola, Andy Wood, Mike Stern, and Sierra Hull appear to be ulnar. Pronated players like David Grier and Molly Tuttle operate more radially, with the “hockey stick” wrist / forearm orientation. I won’t claim to totally understand why this is so, and not every supinated player fits this description. But it’s common enough that if a player is doing wrist motion, then I like to have them turn to face the camera like this so we can see how the arm is approaching and where in the range of motion the wrist is operating.
I know we’ve spent a lot of time telling everyone to film themselves down the strings, so this is not a knock on your comment at all — apologies in advance. As usual, this one’s on us. We’ll continue to confuse everyone as we learn more about how this stuff works, and the things we want to look at footage-wise continue to evolve.
I didn’t even consider that or its importance. I was looking almost exclusively for rotations of the picking plane, which I can’t really make out from the angles presented. It looked something like crosspicking movement to me, but I wasn’t sure. Again, not really the right angle to determine the trajectory of the pick.
Honestly, I haven’t spent much time watching the newer material. The recent updates seemed to be pitched at a more introductory level, and I’ve just been thinking about other things. No apologies required.
That’s the trick — very often, the “rotation” aspect, in terms of whatever the arm is or isn’t doing, is just a red herring. This is the case for most of our older instructional material, for example. When I look at clips like this now, it’s hilariously obvious that I am a supinated player all the time:
Even though there is some arm wiggling happening here, the actual escape is not really coming from that. It’s coming from two slightly different wrist motions that I’m switching between as per the string change. This may be what you’re getting at by “rotation”, and maybe this was obvious to some people, but it wasn’t to me. And it led to a lot of people thinking they were seeing things (“changing the pickslant!”) that weren’t really happening, or weren’t really super relevant to what was actually happening. Again, our fault.
So this is how the new stuff in the Primer is presented. Here are the most common arm positions, and from each of these arm positions, here’s how you do the wrist motion, for example, an upstroke escape. And now here’s how you do it for downstroke escape. We haven’t added the chapters about mixing and matching them yet but we’ll get there.
Will we keep the term “2wps” to explain things like sweeping, where there is almost always a change in actual pick attack / pickslant that’s happening when economy type players like Oz Noy and Gambale do that? I think it makes sense for that.
Hi @Troy, thank for chiming in!
Absolutely! but I didn’t know how to call it, ans since what i’m trying to do is mostly antigravity stuff, I guessed 2wps was the most appropriate term for now (2x or double escape in my mind is connected to cross picking for some reason)
that was a very very big light bulb moment for me, and that is what helped me solve the “unevenness” of upstrokes vs downstrokes
Yay! I’ve got the Troy Grady seal of approval!
yes I can. I used rest strokes and a very big picking motion to figure that out.
Thanks a lot Troy - you delivered! my picking now is getting closer and closer to where I wanted it to be, and it is all your fault!
now I’m gonna get back to try and and fulfil my 17-years-old-past-self-fantasy and play some John Petrucci solos
You and me both! From now on we will only use the term “crosspicking” the way bluegrass players use it, i.e. to describe a type of bluegrass phrase where you’re playing arpeggios. It’s basically just a musical term. For motions, it was confusing and we have dropped it.
In general, you’re just switching from one wrist motion to another so for now I think that’s the simplest way to refer to this. We don’t have a name for it, and maybe we don’t need one? Time will tell!
I think this is basically what Petrucci is doing, which is why we don’t see obvious forearm motion when he plays these kinds of lines. He may be hitting strings during certain string changes, he may not be, who can say. His playing on Rock Discipline is sonically pretty clean so if he’s hitting things you can’t hear it. It’s just as likely that he’s not, and he’s doing what you’re doing here.
Nice work on this, keep us posted as you work on this in the coming months.