As a brief background, I have been playing guitar since high school. Back then, I would practice around 4 hours per day every single day. I practiced to a metronome with hopes of being able to play like John Petrucci, my then (and still) favorite guitarist.
While I did make tons of progress and become “good” at guitar, I always felt like I could not get past the level I was at. I didn’t know why at the time, but I just felt trapped. I never achieved that freedom and confidence I thought I would, where I could play fast passages accurately and effortless without tensing up. I ended up giving up on guitar from around age 25 until around 6 months ago (35 years old now).
Of course, we all know now what the problem was. Without any knowledge of pick slanting, I literally WAS trapped - between string changes.
Fast forward to around 6 months ago. I learned about Cracking the Code and watched the videos.
The first thing that I learned from Troy is about holding the pick. An extremely underlooked aspect of guitar. For 20 years, I was a trailing edge pick holder. I didn’t even think twice about it, or realize that it was a very rare way to hold the pick. While Troy taught me that you can hold a pick ANY way, and showed examples of each, I had suffered with finger/arm/elbow pain and it was due to the way I was holding the pick.
I totally re-learned my grip (thanks to Troy’s breakdown on grips), and now use a more traditional leading edge grip. Everything feels so much better, more natural, less tension, and I am faster than ever. Most importantly though, my injuries have subsided. I did develop a ganglion cyst in my picking hand wrist, but I made some more fine adjustments and the pain is gone.
Next, I started learning about pick slanting. To be honest, while it was very easy to comprehend, I did feel overwhelmed at first when trying to apply it. This is normal though for anything worth learning. My hangup was that I didn’t know if I wanted to primarily use DWPS like Yngwie, use mainly UWPS, or TWPS.
Everything fell into place though and the answer was quite obvious - use it all! Two-Way when I needed to play odd-numbered note passages, pure DWPS for even numbered passages, and pure UWPS for even numbered passages starting on an upstroke.
I can now easily adjust to any style when needed. I am currently working on learning Petrucci’s solo in “Breaking All Illusions”, and I am able to utilize all of the skills I have learned here.
While I am still FAR from my big goal, I just wanted to share my successes so far and say one last Thank You to Troy and to the forum for providing us with the absolute best, most in-depth picking breakdown ever!