Speed Picking Critique Needed!


Hi everyone,

Here is my attempt at speed picking just going up and down a major scale.

I think I am doing downward Pickslanting (without really thinking about it). I know it is a bit sloppy - which is something I am trying to rectify - but I would appreciate if you could provide me any feedback, tips, what I am doing, whether I am in the right direction, etc.



@Troy ??



To be honest I’d go back to the drawing board on that. It’s just all completely unsynchronized. Start with single string or sixes across two strings to start working on tightening it up. Keep it simple, and once the synchronization is there, start expanding across additional strings.


I am going to disagree with the above.

Your form is nearly 100%, synchronization works itself out as a consequence of practicing a lick. Refinement as @Troy has mentioned before is the long-tail process of motor learning.

I would not change a thing about your technique. Keep practicing the way you are. That last 10% is a consequence of changes in the brain that take place over a long period of time and you will have absolutely zero control of when that “professional level of refinement” begins to emerge. I can play the lick you are playing and I sounded exactly like you for a period of time, and over time, the rough edges smoothed out with zero effort on my behalf.

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TBH its a little hard to exactly tell whats going on because we can hear a lot of string noise AND then in the background we hear the amp sound and it sounds like there is a little delay between the two sounds. so its hard to tell exactly whats up

to my eye it looks a bit like you do indeed have the pick itself “slanted” downwards…BUT the PATH of the pick still appears to be parallel to the body of the guitar.

for dwps to work the actual path of the pick must be somewhat angled to the body. In other words when you do a downstroke the pick moves in closer to the body and gets “stuck” and when you do an upstroke the pick moves slightly away and thus it is “escaped”

to my eye yours never actually “escapes” since it is just going back and forth on the same plane as the guitar body. thats why you can see the little “hop” or extra raising motion when you need to change strings. With proper dwps you wont see much, if any, extra lift motion because the “lift” is built into the upstroke

you dont really need to change the motion itself…just the orientation. The thumb side of the hand may need to come away from the strings ever so slightly while the pinky side may need to touch the strings more etc


Hi! Thanks for posting. Great job on the angles here — did you make a magnet for that second clip?

In general, it’s a little hard to hear what’s going on here, again, as has been mentioned, because of the room tone / distant miking. It sounds like I’m hearing pick/string noise or perhaps thumb/string noise in addition to that in the form of right hand harmonics. Not sure if this is intentional.

What @JonJon mentions about holding the pick with a particular orientation but not actually doing the motion that pairs with that orientation — that may be what’s happening here. Re: the thumb noise, I can see that your thumb is rubbing on the surrounding strings as well. This shouldn’t really be happening if your pick is following an escaped upstroke pathway. Meaning, the escaped upstroke style of picking motion means that the pick moves along a diagonal so that the upstrokes go up in the air. This would cause the thumb to move off the strings at least during the upstrokes.

Related to this, your grip exposure is super tiny. So little pick is actually protruding from your grip that you’re going to get harmonics even if you don’t want them. Exposure is a variable thing and I can play with a little or a lot, and have the exact same pick attack, just by making a small adjustment in wrist and arm position. But I never play with this little exposure unless I’m specifically going for harmonics on every downstroke.


Use more exposure. Have some pick between the fingers and the point that is not used to play the string. Learn to adjust by feel so that only the last 1/16" or 1/8" of pick is used to play the string, while at least another 1/8" or 1/4" of exposure above that does not. The Pickslanting Primer has much more on grip right here — any of the grips we investigate will work for an upstroke escape type of motion path:

Re: arm and wrist, the form looks ok for an upstroke escape (aka “dwps”) type motion but you may not actually be making the motion correctly along the correct diagonal. Here’s a quick example of what the two escape types should look like, and some thoughts on how to achieve them:

The Primer has more on picking motion here, and will be getting much more on this subject over the next month or two:

Thanks for posting, and good work so far.


Thanks for your comprehensive analysis! Appreciate it very much!

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Not a problem. One other thing I forgot to mention is that it’s not clear to me you’re actually picking all the notes here on certain strings. You may be leaving off the last pickstroke on some strings to make the string change easier. This is cool in the sense that it’s similar to what we’ve ween with great players, doing things at a subconscious level while playing fast. But it can make it confusing to get a handle on what is really going on with your motion.

As @Skye suggests, dialing back to a simple pattern, like a single-string pattern, might make it easier to ensure that you’ve got your grip, attack, motion, and hand synchronization happening the way you want. What you’re shooting for:

  • Smooth, fluid motion happening on a single string, following the escape path of your choice — up, down, or double
  • Clear pick attack that doesn’t have any harmonics or finger interference, and where downstrokes and upstrokes feel equally smooth and sound similar in attack
  • All notes picked with no pickstrokes missing
  • Fretting hand fingers all line up with picked notes

Good luck and let us know how you make out.


Thanks a lot again for your feedback, Troy. I will incorporate these ideas going forward.

And answering your very first question, yes my second clip was made with a magnet :wink: