Thank You Troy! You've Transformed My Playing

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!



Thanks Tim, this is great to hear! I think a common learning path, reaching a plateau without knowing quite why…glad you returned to guitar and have been seeing a lot of improvement (and less pain) since!

Fantastic, and feel free to post to #show-and-tell at some point if you’d like to share progress. Here’s a related topic you’ll probably enjoy :slight_smile: : Tommo's progress on the Erotomania final solo - including analysis


How much are you practicing per day now? I have a similar story to you (frustration at my lack of progress despite doing what everyone said at the time), as well as Troy (I’m a similar age, but didn’t make the breakthrough that he did). This year I’m going to dedicate some time to practicing (so many other things get in the way, work, family, learning a new career), and I’m not expecting miracles, but I’d be interested to know how much time you’ve been spending to see such gains.


Awesome thank you for the link to the solo progress! Sounds right up my alley - I will be sure to check it out.

And yes I will try to get some vids up. Hopefully I will nail that Best of Times solo by the end of the year and I will be sure to post it here if I do.

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At the moment, I am practicing a few hours per day. I haven’t really been doing much metronome work these days (aside from one speed exercise which I use to keep track of my general speed progress).

When I was first learning about Troy’s system, I did some of his exercises to learn the mechanics and get used to my new grip.

But recently, I have actually just been learning really difficult solos by my favorite musicians, not to a metronome. I will then turn the difficult licks into little exercises that I repeat and see progress on. I have found this to be invaluable for me personally, as these “exercises” are musical and contain lots of new techniques to stumble upon. Each solo usually has many kinds picking phrases, sweeping, bluesy sections, tapping, etc, so it works great for my current goals. Everyone is different though so I’m not sure that I can recommend this kind of practice to everyone.

Aside from that, I devote about an hour to improv and theory stuff. I have a Martin Miller improv lesson that takes you through tons of scales, triads, etc. at every position, and I have found this to be quite helpful.

Hope this helps

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