Switching from DSX to USX

Hey everyone. For the past week or two I’ve been trying to learn to play with USX to make my alternate picking/tremolo picking match the arm position I use for everything else. I initially learned to pick with a more pronated arm which caused DSX. But that made switching from regular gallops or down picking to alternate picking difficult because I had to change the arm position. Initially, I thought I was making progress with USX but now that I’ve recorded this video it seems like there isn’t as much progress as I thought. It looks like my picking uses the same motion that creates DSX that it is used to, just at a new angle now. I’m feeling a little unsure of how to actually create a motion that achieves USX consistently. I can maybe get a USX motion if I do a one beat or 1.5 beat burst of alternate picking but anything more than that and it seems to just revert to my old DSX motion that I’m trying to get away from. It’s driving me up the wall that I can’t seem to get this down. If anyone has any sort of advice it would be more than welcome.

I’ve also made the switch to USX with the help of @Tom_Gilroy for sorta similar reasons, but there might be a slightly different motivation, which I think is important to get to the root cause of…

I’d first ask if your current lick vocabulary fits DSX or USX better. Gallops and down picking aren’t really “USX” specific techniques (Hetfield uses DSX), but licks and vocabulary are. When I made the decision to switch to a USX motion it was because a large portion of my lick vocabulary fit with that style better (lots of DDU phrases and sweeping) and so I learned to apply a forearm motion (which was one of my faster tap test motions) with some thumb and some Zakk Wylde elbow to my alternate picking. I’m now faster with my USX playing than I ever was with the wrist w/ some elbow I used to use.

This is important because if your lick vocabulary is already geared towards DSX then why not work on having your gallops and downpicking be DSX as opposed to the other way around? I think that would be the straightest path to success for you, again, if you’re already playing licks that match DSX. Otherwise, then you’d have to find new USX vocabulary.

Based on the video, you’re doing something I’ve noticed some of my students doing, which is you’re “downward pick slanting” your pick grip, but your motion is still (I think RDT) DSX.

If you’re really set on finding a USX motion, maybe start with trying to get a tremolo using a motion that is inherently USX, like a forearm or forearm/wrist motion instead of trying to make your wrist motion USX when it’s currently so used to doing DSX.

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It seems like the video has no sound?

Also, here’s the video embedded following the advice outlined in tommo’s tip….


…which has this result:

It would be helpful to see a video which includes both the DSX motion that you’re already comfortable with as well as the USX motion you’re working on (with sound of course).

One thing I can tell from the current video is that your USX motion is neither fluid nor consistent yet.

Have you tried experimenting with strap height? Moving the guitar up or down could have an impact on how much pronation feels natural.

I don’t have a lick library. I am a rhythm guitar player just looking to be able to play along with some thrash or death metal songs and potentially even write my own music. While gallops or downstrokes aren’t USX exclusive, the way my arm is positioned in my video is the same position I use to play those rhythms. If I want to do any sort of tremolo, I have to change my arm position to be able to achieve a somewhat consistent and somewhat fast motion. The main riff in the song “Over The Wall” by Testament uses both 8th notes and 16th notes in quick succession. In order to accurately play something like that, it would require me to be constantly rotating my arm to change position or, in light of this recent discovery, use this weird motion from my video. So rather than trying to switch my other techniques to match my alternate picking, I decided to try to change my alternate picking. But, maybe making my other motions match my DSX is what I should pursue (though that does create a new obstacle of riffs that contain tremolo with string switching on the downstroke). Your observation about my motion in the video is the same thing that lead me to post here. I’ll look into forearm or forearm/wrist motion and see if that leads me anywhere. If not, maybe I need to look into switching my other techniques. Thank you for your response

Sorry about that. When I posted the video to youtube initially, the sound was messed up. I took the sound out because I figured no sound was better than a video with a constant high pitched squealing. My apologies if I also formatted this post wrong. While I’ve had access to this forum for a while, the only time I posted was in 2019. I’ve probably missed some rule updates. I’ll take a look through the page you linked to make sure that any further uploads are formatted correctly.

If I get a chance tonight, I can definitely upload a clip here of my DSX motion. It’s not the fastest nor the most consistent motion either but it is a lot smoother than attempting USX. It just comes with a different set of issues in my playing. Mainly, my arm position for dsx doesn’t match the arm position I use to play anything else. So needing to switch between the two positions is frustrating.

I’ve messed around with strap height a little bit but I’ve yet to settle on anything that feels natural for an arm position that fits DSX or USX.

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