Thoughts on how to be more precise on this exercise?

First recorded video of mine trying to apply the DPS technique (in this case, mixed with sweeps). I’ve been practicing pickslanting for 5 days now (this particular exercise for about 1), so it’s still all new to me. I’m not familiar with fast playing as well, so any tip would help. Is the movement too aggressive? Not enough slanting? Thanks in advance.

130 bpm


Thanks for fixing the thread placement, @Brendan! One thing I’m noticing while comparing my playing with Troy’s and others is that my pick is moving diagonally. Perhaps because of my edge picking. I know there are no right or wrong in this, but it is ‘okay’? Do I lose efficiency because of that?

Hi! Thanks for posting. Not sure what you mean by precise — I don’t hear any mistakes here, so as far as precision I don’t hear anything to fix. Rejoice!

As far as “enough slant”, try not to worry too much about what the pick looks like. The path of your picking motion, and how it escapes, is the key factor here, because it is determined by… your picking motion! Your arm placement, which joint you’re using for your picking motion, and how you move that joint. Different arm placements and joints will produce picking motions with a slightly different appearance. Some will have a more vertical escape path, and others will have less. So you’re not really adding “more” or “less” of this, per se. You’re just choosing a motion and trying to do it right.

All of which is to say it looks like you’ve chosen wrist motion and it looks like you’re doing it correctly! The most common wrist motions produce a relatively shallow escape path of about 10-15 degrees so you’re not going to see the pick popping way up out of the strings. It will feel like a flat side to side motion which moves toward the tone controls, given that most players approach the strings somewhat vertically, as you are here. I assume this is what you’re referring to when you say “diagonal”? If so, yes, this is correct. But don’t think of it as diagonal, per se. Think of it as your wrist moving side to side, but starting from whichever way your arm is pointing. Because that’s the way “deviation” style wrist motion works, and that’s the motion you’re using here.

By comparison, the motion I use in many of our lessons is a wrist/forearm blend. This uses different anchor points and causes the pick to move along a different path from the more specifically wrist motion you’re using. Here’s what they both look like up close:

So don’t worry too much about comparing what you’re doing to what I’m doing, unless you’re looking specifically at the picking motion chapters in the Primer. For that, I recommend checking out the wrist motion section where what I’m doing will look at little more like your motion here. This is where we discuss the different wrist motion types - check out the new “wrist mechanics” area specifically for a nice overview:

Finally, if you want to make sure you’re doing things the most efficient way you can, try to go fast. If you can go fast and things still feel smooth, then you know your motion is in the ballpark. When you’re doing this, it doesn’t really matter if you get all the notes right. You’re just trying to make sure you’re using the easiest / smoothest version of whatever motion you’re trying to do. Once you’ve found that, you can always slow down a small amount to try and clean things up. But what you don’t want to do is spend a lot of time doing something slowly which isn’t destined to be sped up because something’s wrong with it. That’s the purpose for working backwards like this.

Again, in general, what you’re doing here looks good. The fives pattern is not an entry-level pattern and a lot of people have trouble with it. Nice work.

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That was enlightning. Thanks a lot, Troy! Yes, I’m moving my pick towards (or away from) the tone control. In the lick’s final part, my pick is always a bit to the side of where I started from. Can you name players who do that? I noticed that your playing in this particular exercise is very ‘vertical’.

It sounds like you may have started with one of the seminars. And we’ll take the blame for not making that clear! We really want everyone to start with the Pickslanting Primer, because that’s where all these motion fundamentals are covered. Think of the seminars as an upper level applications class for what to do with your picking motion once you already have some basic version of it working.

Again, in the wrist motion section of the Primer, we have a pretty comprehensive overview of what all the different wrist motions look like, which players use them, and how they work (the “Clock Face” system). Then in the tutorials section we talk about how to actually do the motions. Even though you’re already doing one variant of these motions, scanning the tutorials may give you a better sense of how the one you’re doing works.

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Actually, not your fault at all haha. There’s a small introduction text (if I’m not mistaken) recommending starting with the Primer. I’m a more intuitive type of student, so I try it out and then search the problems (or doubts) I may have found along the way, but since I’m not familiar with the vocabulary or the technique itself, I thought my ‘problem’ could be solved with the ‘picking grip’ and ‘edge picking’ seminars. Thanks for taking your time again!

Different angle for the same exercise (140 bpm):

That’s the chicken and egg challenge we’ve struggled with. I hate reading manuals myself and I don’t want to burden anyone with what feels like a load of academic stuff when they’re excited to play guitar. But the questions you’re asking, and the way you’re reaching for vocabulary to describe those questions (“moving diagonally”, “enough slanting”), are totally direct hits for the stuff in the Primer. Give those chapters a shot, starting with the “Pick Grip” section, and you should have a much better big picture view of what’s going on.

Otherwise everything you’re doing here looks fine. Sometimes just knowing which box you fit in makes it easier to assess what’s working and not working.