Struggling with DWPS


So I’ve been playing forever, and I’m really trying to up my game. I’m tired of not being able to play what I want. But I really need help. I’ve been trying the downward pick slanting and have been really struggling with it. I think the problem is with my wrist posture, but I don’t know how to correct it.

Here’s the Yngwie sixes at full speed:

And here it is slowed down:

Please… any help. I’m really at a loss. I thought I had it figured out then I started recording myself… and lo-and behold… I’m not doing any kind of pickslanting… and in fact, I’m just struggling. :frowning:

Thank you.

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welcome aboard!

one thing about pickslanting…it doesnt come into play when playing on just one string. in other words if u had a guitar with only one string youd never have a need for pickslanting

Also, I think a lot of people think “downward pickslanting” is some magic thing to help u play faster. Its not really. Its really just a way to help you change strings easier in certain situations

were you able to play fast and smooth on one string before u tried pickslanting? are u able to play fast on one string using some other type of pickstroke?

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I tend to trip over my own hands. I tried the one string thing as a means of learning control first before I try multiple strings. I think I understand the concept, but it’s the execution I’m struggling with.

I wrest my wrist on the bridge, but when I force the supination I end up … swinging my pick, not really going in a straight line. When I force the straight line, I’m not really getting any kind of clearance. The only way I can get clearance is if I unlock my wrist from the bridge and do more movements with my elbow… kind of a combination of wrist and elbow movement.

Edited to add: Thank you for the welcome. Sorry my first post had to be so whiny. Great community you guys have here and I’m hoping to be able to contribute one day.

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Here it is playing across strings.

This is with my arm floating slightly and using more elbow.


well its really easy to overcomplicate things and also easy for guys to try all kinds of weird stuff because they saw in some vid how they “should” do this or that.

There is no “should” in any of this lol. There are top pro players using every variation of pickstroke and mechanics etc

I think if I were you id just work on getting a good smooth motion going on the one string and not worry too much about switching strings yet. once u get a good motion going it wont be too hard to adapt it to dwps or uwps. one or the other of them will probably fall more naturally too you

that yngwie lick, work on it slowly some and count it out, 1-2-3-1-2-3 etc then gradually speed it up so u can feel the rhythm in it

another variation of it might be slightly easier for you. worth a try anyway. thats doing the 2nd finger first like this:

B-------7–5--7–8--7–5 etc (I just picked random notes but u get the picture)


Ok. I’ll slow things down and try to work on it like you’ve said. And see if I can get it up to speed.

I think I’m going to unlock my wrist. I seem to get better results if I use some elbow.


its not always easy to tell from vids due to angles etc, but it almost looks like you are closer to uwps than dwps. That might be why u r struggling with trying dwps lol

nothing wrong with uwps orientation btw

this is a cool vid showing the various possibilities:

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I’d watched that video before.

You may be right. I’ll have to look into this more closely. If that’s the case, would it be better to develop UWPS? It might be easier to get that going then.


well like I said, i think you have to figure out what sort of falls naturally to u as far as just getting a good smooth motion going on one string…without a ton of conscious thought about this angle or that muscle etc.

once you have some good motion going, it wont be hard to then start adapting it to one of the slanting strategies. you dont even have to slant THAT much…just enough to clear the string etc

uwps is just as valuable as dwps. many great players are primarily uwps guys…2 off the top of my head are Michael Angelo Batio, and John Mclaughlin

the yngwie lick is awesome for good basic work on coordination etc. once u get it poppin’ u can move it up or down the strings and also to other strings as u have already experimented with

one small tip. dont finish off your practice sessions with fast/sloppy work. finish off with some nice perfect examples of whatever you are working on, even if they arent top speed. do that and you will be that much better the next day.


Thanks. I’ll definitely do this. Really appreciate the time you’ve taken to help me. Thanks so much!

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It is interesting how differently we all progress.
I started on a single string and really struggled.

I advanced to 6,s on 2 strings and it worked better

Then crossing strings

Now without practicing the single string I had improved
When I revisited it. I guess because all strings are single strings?

Anyway I dont mean to sidetrack just pointing out that If I stuck with single string All I was getting was demoralized. I do see the value in mastering it but I’m certainly not there yet.


one of the first things I could play fast was this:

G-------------7–5--7 loop

That would have been in the mid 1990s. But I could NOT play the Paul Gilbert lick, nor do scales

I saw the CTC stuff starting in 2014 and it obviously helped my understanding quite a bit…BUT I still couldnt really play scales or the PG lick lol. At least i understood WHY I had struggled with the PG lick

Seeing some of the Claus Levin vids helped me get my head right to FOCUS my practice time. I dedicated maybe 3 solid weeks to the Yngwie 6 note type patterns and everything really started to click. TBH the last few months have felt like exponential growth

This is why I recommend the Yngwie 6 note stuff. It REALLY helped bring all the pieces together for me (after 30 years of playing lol)

if only Paul Gilbert would have had the good sense to put the Yngwie lick first off on his Intense Rock vid. cest la vie


Thanks for this. I’m still trying to figure out what the right road for me to learn is. I find that’s the hard part. I’ll do these exercises and then hit a wall. Can’t get any fast; gets sloppier and goes in kind of the opposite direction of where I’m trying to get to. I’m a little worried that I’ve hit my own personal limits.


I’d definitely try to slow it down a bit as in your video, you can tell you’re rushing to play fast and your hands aren’t in sync. It’s good to practice fast movements but not exclusively and you probably want to spend more time playing slower just to get the feel of what it’s like to hit the string with your pick at the exact moment your finger hits the fret.

Also, maybe don’t focus on the pickslanting part too much just yet. Forget everything for a bit and try to work out how you can pick the strings in a way that feels fluid and comfortable to you, rather than forcing your body to do something it’s not naturally inclined to do. I always used to have fairly solid picking technique, at least on one string or one way pickslanting, but I tried too hard to force DWPS on myself and it just didn’t work with my body. The slant isn’t important when changing strings - the direction your pick escapes is. Different pick slants are a way of achieving different escapes but you need a more solid picking technique in the first place to base it all off.

Personally, I’d recommend trying to find a picking motion you can do comfortably, consistently, at a decent speed and forget about the left hand while you’re doing it. Then slow it waaaay down and introduce the left hand, focusing on hitting the string at the same time as you fret it in order to sort out your hand synchronisation.

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nah, not even close.

id take a look at my practice habits. (im just guessing)

The mind and body is an absolute machine at adapting to whatever you throw at it. if your playing is sloppy and hit-n-miss, and breaks down a lot etc, it just means thats exactly how you have been practicing

There is a place for pushing your speed to try to get faster etc, but there is also a place for being accurate. if you are making like 50% errors in your practice then that is EXACTLY what you will get good at

or look at it this way. Lets say we had a contest to see who could play fast and sloppy and make lots of mistakes. How would we go about training for it?? Well we would probably try to play way above our current capabilities without ever laying any slow and accurate groundwork

why not experiment and see what happens? play the Yngwie pattern WITHOUT MISTAKES 50 times in a row. If u mess up, start again lol. yeah, this means u gonna have to slow down considerably.

When u hit 50 mistake free reps, feel free to start speeding it up a little but not so much that u fall totally apart. Id say start speeding it up but still at least be able to do it 5-10 times before you make a mistake

Then maybe push it as fast as u can and see what happens. maybe u hit a nice groove and start to get a glimpse of your potential speed. Personally I wouldnt make this more than about 5-10% of my practice time yet

finish off with 50 mistake free reps again.

Then go practice other patterns or just jam or whatever

Do that for a week straight and you will be back in here telling us you have had a breakthrough etc


haha, ConcreteLlama and I didnt plan this out to give u the exact same advice, but we did lol.


Thanks so much guys.

I’ll definitely do what you both suggested. I will work on finding an arm/wrist position and movement that’s comfortable and build up from a slow speed. I hope I have the breakthrough. :slight_smile: