I’ve spent the last few weeks going through the Volcano seminar, playing what I can, and practicing the rest, and then last night took a look at the Eric Johnson seminar, which is probably a little closer to where I fall stylistically. Today, I thought I’d take another close up look at my picking hand technique to see how/if things looked any different to me. Unfortunately my fretting hand was kind of worthless today for some reason, so these clips aren’t really all that fast - sadly, close to as fast as I can pick them at the moment, but my fretting hand was faling off before my picking one on the pentatonic stuff, so I guess that buys me some time to work on the picking while I get my fretting hand back up to speed, lol.
Anyway, having spent a lot more time looking at Troy’s and Yngwie’s picking hands up close for the last couple weeks, one thing immediately jumped out at me today - my picking mechanic has an odd swooping curve to it that I’m not seeing in Yngwie’s or Troy’s clips - their pick follows a very linear, slashing trajectory, down and into the strings on a downstroke, and then back up and above on an upstroke. Mine seems to be curving, and in a few cases looks like it’s coming out above the strings on downstrokes as well (see 0:08-010 in the second iPhone video, where it appears rather like the pick is passing over the TOP of the subsequent string on upstrokes, without brushing into it). Two videos:
Shot with my camera, moves in and out of focus a little but a better view of my whole hand and bottom of my forearm:
Separate performance, similar tempo, with a flexible phone tripod wrapped around my upper horn to hold my phone in place (ish):
I’m of a couple minds of this - theoretically, if I could learn to consistently arc over the top of the strings on downstrokes as well as upstrokes, that would seem to be an incredibly versatile picking mechanic, and while I don’t have the best handle on how exactly this is happening I suspect this is more or less what you guys are talking about with crosspicking and if I could figure out the mechanic and bring it out a little more prominently, this would give me a lot of flexiibility. On the other, I’m not playing especially fast here, and as I’d alluded earlier, I’m not capable of playing this pentatonic pattern much faster than this at present. It seems plausible that part of the issue is that I’m making excess motions, less in magnitude than in direction, that I don’t technically need, and if accuracy is a concern of mine then a straighter, more slashing linear pickstroke seems like it would be a lot less error prone, and as an added benefit I see no real reason why you couldn’t pull off DWPS with a pretty heavy, aggressive picking hand, which I think there’s some strong tonal reasons for wanting to do.
Idunno… I guess, is my understanding of what I’m seeing here more or less right? If so, is this something I should be cultivating, or is this a habit I should be trying to break?
EDIT - other thing I’ll add is near ads I can tell, my picking motion is being driven less by forearm rotation than it is some form of wrist deviation. Watching myself play at various speeds and watching the mechanics video you guys did recently, it looks like theres maybe a little bit of supination going on during upstrokes to help lift the pick over the plane of the strings, but the primary mechanic is deviation, probably mostly ulnar deviation on downstrokes, and then simply returning to neutral on upstrokes.