Switching slants on 3NPS during or after the string?

Hi guys.

The question is pretty much in the topic. I am a little confused on this topic, the reason being, there is people who only use USX / DSX and there’s people who use a mix depending on the situation. What’s confusing to me is, let’s say your doing a classic 3 NPS pattern on all 6 strings. Start with DSX, switch to USX.

When exactly would be the best time to rotate from DSX to USX and so forth during the swaps? Just at the last stroke or during the strokes to where when im at the last note I already got the swapped motion ? I couldn’t find anything in the pickslanting primer about that specifically unless I missed it.


Feel like this might be hard to explain but I’ll give it a try!

Ascending (The Hard Part): Starting with a downstroke the first five notes are fine with DSX, as you play the 6th note you rotate to a USX position just enough to clear the A string before rotating back to DSX as you play the 7th note. You’re now back in DSX and can repeat this method all the way up the scale.

Descending (The Easy Part): Now you’re good to just lock into a DSX position. Starting with a downstroke the first six notes all work no problem. To get to the 7th note you swipe through the the G string to play it with a downstroke. You’ll have to be careful with your muting to negate the excess noise of the swipe but now you can repeat this method to descend through the rest of the scale.

Hope that make sense!

Troy talks more in depth about it here:

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Good question! I asked myself the same question when I started woking on this matter and for me it was better to switch in good time before the string change. My three-note-per-string sequence looks like this:

…usx dsx dsx dsx usx usx

Being a USX main player my priority is actually to get the second note of this sequence a clear dsx motion. This way the motion is set up for the string change in advance and is more likely to clear the string.

It is also to be said that Im not very good at this and I seldom play like this when doing really fast stuff. In that case a one way method works better. My USX motion is noticeably faster and smother than my DSX so doing the two way stuff has lower top speed for me. But when doing medium speed things this two way version avoids swiping.

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I wouldn’t even bother at this point. If you know for sure you fall into either one or the other category, the easiest option is to perfect your muting and then just plow right through (swiping). The reason is that if you constantly have to think about what your doing and where you have to make the transition, and it interferes with your normal picking it will likely just slow you down.

You can work on it later if it bothers you, but I would get the speed and fluidity happening first with your primary.

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Yes I agree the swiping is a great option when going for speed. There of course are swiping noises that is never going to be totally gone (even if it can be masked so well that no one bothers) but to be honest, the changing of motions in 2-way playing can also create noises that are just as loud, which is why 1-way is both easier and often cleaner, at least for me at this point.

That’s a difficult question to answer because it very much depends on how you pick.

For example, wrist players in a lightly supinated setup may not need to rotate the forearm at all, just change the direction the wrist is moving.

Forearm and wrist blend doesn’t create a dsx form, but with a secondary motion, still using the same joints, can change strings after a downstroke.

It’s best explained in the primary plus secondary motion section of the primer linked above.

Also, it’s usually advised to try it fast and see what motions are needed. If you try micromanage in this sort of detail, you’ll likely get an exaggerated arm flip flop thing happening.

So try it fast and film it and you’ll get some good advice on your technique.

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How CtC talks about this stuff has evolved a bit, and increasingly my sense has been there’s more of a recognition that players tend to have a “primary escape” that they default to, and then a “helper motion” for scenarios where that doesn’t work.

That’s been my experience at any rate - I tend to pick with escaped downstrokes, but when I need to escape on an upstroke my wrist rotates in what feels like a “winding up” or “cocking” movement, to lift the pick over the strings on an upstroke.

The irony is pre-CtC I wasn’t really sure what was going on here, could see and feel it happening but didn’t have a good sense of why or when, and figured it was probably some sort of bad habit and mechanical inefficiency on my part. :rofl: