Tom Bukovac picking

Not sure if people have seen this. I know this video is him trying to explain his picking, but it’s still hard to tell.

It looks like he’s not anchoring at all, just free floating.

Was hoping someone can give more insight on this video on what is going on.


Hey @Troy, I think only you can decode what he is doing. I’m trying this type of motion for the last 2 years but still cant not playing like him.

They need a magnet but don’t realize!

Looks like wrist/forearm! I’d recommend looking over the resources on the site on forearm motion specifically the ones on Doug Aldrich’s motion. My USX wrist/forearm motion is very similar to Tom’s, he might have even more visible forearm wiggle than me :slight_smile:

Here is me messing around with it just now, tried to get some shots of it with a tremolo so you can get a clear view of the forearm shakiness:


I just skimmed the video but it’s like @Jacklr says - forearm wrist blend. He seems to have less bridge contact than Doug Aldrich but I think his motion is definitely similar. So regarding the whole anchoring question, the little bit I watched looks like he’s not anchoring. Very light contact with the bridge. Otherwise I think it would kill that rotation he’s getting.

One interesting thing I noticed is how he manages to sound pretty good even on phrases that are a no-go for his motion. Check out 14:18 in slow motion and it’s clear his sync and string changing are not spot on. At full speed, sounds “good” to me though. 3nps isn’t compatible with his USX. If he would’ve doubled up and played 6nps it would have been perfect I bet.

Contrast that with stuff that “works” around the 17:00 mark. It’s possibly 100% perfect. Even when he starts skipping strings, which he says is “hard”, then a few seconds later says he could do it all day and it’s more relaxed feeling than strumming. That’s the funny thing about string skips in a single escape context. They’re really not as hard as people would think. It takes tracking accuracy, so a little more focus is required, but there’s no “fatigue” because he’s just doing the same efficient motion the whole time.

I’ve never even heard of Tom. One of my favorite things about the forum is getting introduced to all these awesome players I’ve never heard of before. He sounds great and seems like a cool laid back guy.


I love the uber high gain tone in the room… until you dig in a little on a bend and hear this big “ploink!” noise from the unplugged guitar. :rofl: Great stuff though. \m/

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They are spot on — for displacement. He’s fretting 3 + 3 but consistently picking 2 + 4. This is a very easy-to-see example of displacement in action. When you see a USX player who is doing non-USX lines, always assume displacement is happening first. You’ll be more right than wrong most of the time.


As @Jacklr and @joebegly point out, this is wrist-forearm, a subject which is covered pretty well in the Primer at this point. You can find it in the motion tutorials section:

More generally, the fastest sequence for learning picking technique is this:

  1. Test your joint motions on our motion tests
  2. Translate at least one of the high-performing ones to the guitar with our motion tutorials
  3. Establish single-string hand sync
  4. Figure out which escape the motion has
  5. Play multi-string lines that match that escape
  6. …profit!

This ensures that you don’t get stuck using slow motions that don’t work, or spending lots of time trying to copy specific picking motions and not getting anywhere.

You can always learn more motions over time. But this sequence ensures that you move as quickly as possible to learning steps 3-5 which can’t happen if you never get past the initial steps. And this hurts your ability to learn any other techniques you want to learn in the future.

TLDR I highly recommend getting good with at least one technique right now — whichever one is working best for you!


Dang it I always miss the obvious stuff. I guess that’s why it sounds more “good” than “messy”. Well spotted. I love displacement. I think that and swiping are (among) 2 of your coolest observations.

Sorry, what does this mean?!

Imagine playing 3 notes per string on the B and high E strings where you pick 2 notes on the B string, then 4 notes on the high E string. The 3rd note would be a hammer from nowhere in the fret hand (B string) while at the same time picking a dead note on the high E

   d u  d u d u

Troy calls that “pick stroke displacement”


Funny, I cannot do this at all! Seems like a pretty clever tool, kind of along the lines of a sort of “hack” like swiping! Neat!


Totally. I’d bet if done correctly it would be even cleaner than swiping. The mute/dead note should be happening at the same time as the hammer from nowhere, as opposed to just a hair before the target note like in swiping. Not that proper swiping is easy to hear or anything. I just think the displacement stuff is even more stealthy


Swiping = lots of us that do it (a lot) don’t even hear it. Well, now that I know what it is and have had a chance to really see and hear it in my own playing it sticks out like a sore thumb now - not necessarily in a bad way - it’s just that I can really recognize it now. I know what to look for and listen to.Truthfully, I don’t mind it at all - honestly it sort of punctuates certain things in a way if that makes sense.

This displacement thing, I honestly never would have thought of it and i should have - my legato is pretty solid, I feel like I could have made that work as a sort of “work around”. Ah well. I can save it for when I really need it now I suppose.


Even better, the string is energized from the prior pick stroke so it is an easier (regular) HO. Or am I missing something? Thanks for explaining, it seems clever and somehow I missed any mention of it!


You’re right…no clue why I was referring to it as a hammer “from nowhere”. It’s just a regular hammer on.

This looks like what might be at work in the “Spanish Fly” sextuplets…although Troy pointed out all the “airballs” in that recording, I think this might be what Eddie was driving at?

I’ll have to re read that thread, it was interesting. I think at the time I wasn’t as familiar with CtC concepts as well as I am now, so aspects of that thread likely went over my head.

I know Eddie has a few different motions. My understanding is his tremolo (pure forearm rotation, no wrist) was USX but he also had a DSX wrist based technique. Spanish fly 6’s should work out perfectly with a DSX motion but if he was doing his forearm based motion I can see how that works with this pick stroke displacement stuff.

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That segment is really something else, especially after Troy analyzed it.

Since then I’ve become aware of the way that was recorded…Edward had a VERY difficult time with it. He recorded a total of 26 takes and the 25th was the one that ended up on the record. Alex was encouraging him in between takes as well. Fascinating…and I’m still trying to figure out how to play it in a coherent and repeatable way.

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Huh, I saw this while scanning the boards quicky, had the same question… and this is a great answer. Interesting. Thanks!

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