Trying to start out the right way


Hey guys,

Been playing guitar just over a year and feeling lucky to have stumbled across Troy’s stuff at this early stage.
Here’s a video of me on my second day of attempting downward pick slanting by playing a short series of “fives” in the style of EJ.

My picking angle and grip etc. are not exactly the same as Troy’s when he plays it, which i think is ok, but please let me know if I am making any major mistakes before I sit down for hours every week trying to pick up speed using this technique.

I will use a metronome for this lick in future practice sessions, this was purely to get an idea of what my picking hand is doing!

Thanks in advance!


Slow Motion:


The upstrokes seem to be escaping the strings which is what you are going for. There does seem to be a slight curve to some of the strokes, instead of a completely string pick direction - I don’t think that is such a big deal though (as the upstrokes are escaping the strings), but the beauty of DWPS is that you can use quite a big pickslant, straight line pick direction on the upstroke without fear of hitting the strings.

How does playing a tremolo on 1 string feel with your setup? Can you play it pretty fast and smooth?


Hey thanks for the response!

I think i can see the slight curve you mean, and i think it happens more as i move onto the lower strings. I seem to start out with straighter strokes, but as my hand/palm repositions (moving up in the direction of my face) to reach the lower strings, i think i am maybe compensating with a little bit of finger movement or something due to not repositioning my hand quickly enough? Not 100% sure.

Playing tremolo on one string feels fine to me, fast (for me) and smooth.


Cool, if you combine this tremolo with the ‘EJ Atom’, it will give you an indication of what sort of speed you could get with EJ style DWPS.

Also, it might be a result of the swept notes to the top not of each set of 5. Maybe its somewhat necessary to flatten out the picking trajectory to prevent getting buried too deep in the strings and getting snagged on the upper string. I’m not the best at analysis of pick movement and have yet to invest time into the Cascade seminar. Hopefully a more experienced member will chime in!


Appreciate the advice! Will check out the “EJ Atom”. Thank you!


Thanks for signing up!

This is one of those cases where I wouldn’t say what you’re doing is “wrong”, since that’s a loaded term with implicit value judgements of ‘bad’. Instead, I would say that this doesn’t really have the look of one of the simpler / textbook downward pickslanting movements, and yes you do have fingers and other stuff happening here. Again, not really ‘wrong’, and I could see someone getting really good with this type of movement.

But if you’re looking to understand movements, I’d start at the beginning and learn to make the more vanilla ones. Have you watched the picking motion broadcast yet? This is where you should start:

Survey all these movements, determine which one works best, and then post a clip of the one you think is working best. Do that only on a single string - no multi-string stuff or sweeping. Just the movement you like best, and see if you can get a fluid reciprocating motion happening.

That’s where I’d go from here.


Hey thanks for the feedback, Troy!

I’ll have a look at the broadcast when I get a chance tomorrow, and will get back to you with another clip.



I think this is the most important piece of advice when starting out, but it’s easy to overlook. Pick slanting is all about changing strings, so we’re all eager to start applying it immediately by playing multi-string patterns. While getting the motion down on one string and really drilling it in, and then moving on to two strings, etc. may seem like an over-simplified approach, I think it’s very easy to fall back on old (bad) habits if the new mechanic isn’t fully drilled in.


Hey @Troy, that video was great, really helped to wrap my head around all the different moving parts that make up specific movements. Have spent the last few days trying to make my brain and arm mimic some of them, not sure how successfully though! Here’s a clip of single string tremolo with what I think is a DWPS motion driven by both wrist and a bit of elbow maybe.

Normal Speed:

Slo mo:

I’m not sure how “fluid” I would say this is, but it doesnt feel terrible and feels like I can repeat it without any serious strain or anything.


Hey @travloser,

I know you’re waiting for Troy to give you some feedback, but in the meantime let me tell you what I see in your clip.

I would say that this motion is mainly driven by your forearm. Your wrist seems to be fixed, I can’t really sense any motion there. I also don’t see any elbow movement, really, but I can’t see it so well from that angle.

But if it feels good, keep on doing it!

Yeah, that’s good stuff! I think understanding these concepts is the key. I wish I had that when I started out. You’re lucky :wink:


Hey thanks for the response! I think what you’re saying makes sense, it definitely helps to get feedback from people other than myself.

You’re right, I am lucky to have so much information at my disposal. I need all the help I can get, being a late starter (currently 27) and all.


I agree with the above assessment. I’m seeing a forearm rotational motion with really no elbow and no wrist deviation movement. I’m pretty sure what you are doing here is a common approach. If it feels good I’d suggest continuing to see how far you can go with it.
My one critique, if I may is that you have an arch between where your forearm rests on the upper body of the guitar and where your fingers meet the body of the guitar, just below the strings. The bent wrist you have here is typical of dwps but my main concern is the you don’t have any of the fleshy palm heel touching the strings. I feel like this might cause you problems later in muting unwanted noise from other strings.
I would try to achieve the same angle of your wrist/picking motion but also get the palm resting on the unplayed strings.


And since @Gtrjunior brought it up, having your hand up in the air like this won’t allow for palm muting, which you might want for musical reasons. Since you are sort of just starting out and don’t yet have a picking technique “burned into your system”, why not try a position that enables muting. If it feels bad, just drop it again.

Don’t worry, it’s never too late and you’re doing great!


I considered editing my post above about the palm muting, because obviously guys like MAB and Marty Friedman have no difficulties bridging the strings and playing cleanly but I feel like they are the exception to the rule and not typically the norm.
I in no way want to say that you can’t achieve your goals doing it the way you currently are doing it, I just wanted to throw another option to think about in the works.
Plus as @tomatitito pointed out, the muting is also a stylistic option you may want in your toolbox too.


This is a good point. I will work on trying to maintain the same picking motion while maintaining the palm on the strings/bridge. The only issue I have with this so far is that i feel it somewhat restricts the speed at which i can do this single-string tremolo picking, but maybe with a little practice/experimenting I can find a way to get it working just as well.


Ok quick update, this position/motion actually feels more comfortable I would say - does it look ok to you?

Normal speed:

Slo mo:

Appreciate everyone’s feedback so far, really helpful stuff! Thanks.


The pickstrokes look great. Classic dwps!
Just try to get your palm to cover the lower strings too. You might want to try to slide you picking hand up a little toward the neck. See how your not contacting the low E string with your palm? If you play with overdrive at all you might start to hear unwanted overtones ringing out from the low strings if you don’t mute them.
I really like how you are staying nice and relaxed with the picking motion. Great job!


Good idea, will work on that and repost! Thanks for your advice and analysis, really helpful.


Thanks to @tomatitito also!


Yeah, that looks good, I would say! Just keep up the good work!

I would not worry about speed per se too much. I mean, of course you want to play fast, we all do. But it’s far more important to find a picking motion that is mechanically efficient and that really feels comfortable. If you manage to achieve that, than for everything we have learned from CtC, the speed will follow.