Trying out USX with the trailing edge grip

So I’m a leading edge player and I’m mostly practising strictly USX at the moment. Today I for some reason tested out the trailing edge grip and realised that I, while it whas a bit strange and not super smooth, didn’t have to think about escaping at all it was almost automatic. I find it interesting and am hoping that it can help me to better get the feel for it when playing with my leading edge grip. Anybody else who have had the same experience?


Yeah I’ve had a similar experience. For me, I was using a pure wrist USX motion with a trigger-style grip and for whatever reason I was just hitting a wall with my speed, I think I was stuck around 150bpm 16ths, and I decided to give trailing edge with Benson-style mechanics a try. I could immediately go much faster although my hand synchronization was lacking. I think it’s because of the very small amount of pick depth the grip produces, I know @Tom_Gilroy goes into detail about this in a series of Youtube vids he did about his different picking styles. In the long term for me, I don’t really use it a whole lot because it’s not always comfortable and I can’t always get the tone right for some of the music I play. I think it comes back to the fact that the grip is more suited to players that have a hitchhiker’s thumb, and I am not one. However, I still mess around with it to try and feel the smoothness I’m looking for with my regular grip, and I’ve had lots of improvement since.


As @SDCrites mentioned, I use a trailing edge grip a lot of the time and I’ve discussed it here in depth.

I wrote a thread discussing my picking techniques, which you may find helpful. That thread is here:

I also made some YouTube videos discussing my picking methods, including one based on the trailing edge technique. That video is here

It’s more of a discussion video rather than a “lesson” video, and it might make more sense as part of the series I made. I’m not sure. I’m planning on making some lesson type videos and some more in-depth demo videos soon, as I recently had to buy a tripod for work.


@Tom_Gilroy this is awesome. I’ve really been enjoying reading your posts. This whole thing has me curious because I used to do trailing edge and it was one of the first things I ditched after discovering CtC. At this point I can’t even reliably say what on earth I was doing, but I think I had a grip similar to what you display with the hitch hiker thumb. I definitely had an upwards pickslant, but I was likely getting no escape.

Since now I know that what I really want to do (based on the patterns I enjoy) is get a good single escape going, I’ve been making good progress lately after switching to the more conventional grip (straight thurmb, index pad or side pad grip) and a blend of forearm and wrist for the mechanic – all DWPS/USX. I’m just wondering if I should dabble in going back to the trailing edge grip since that has over 20 years of practice behind it…just needs tweaking so it isn’t trapped.

Am I understanding correctly that you use the grip you demonstrated around 1:45 for USX? either way, I’d assume you don’t use rest strokes with this grip though. Seems like the pad of the thumb would create a pinch harmonic during the attempt to rest stroke. Curious! Thanks again for the great info.

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With this grip there is a slight tendency towards an escaping upstroke by default (USX), but I can use the same grip to achieve escaping downstrokes (DSX) also, similar to my “Mode 2” method of picking. I can also tuck my fingers and lock into a pure USX motion, analogous to my “Mode 3” method of picking.

I don’t really do rest strokes in any mode. My biggest movements are in Mode 1, but it’s a double escape motion by design and trying to force a rest stroke would be unnatural. In my other modes, the picking movements are usually just too small. I think I can safely say that I really only rest stroke in Mode 3 (the Eric Johnson method) and even then, only in specific contexts/circumstances.

If you’ve any more questions I’ll do my best to address them.


Nope, you’ve covered it. Thanks again Tom!

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