I also tried playing around with less edge picking. I think the scraping noise diminished a bit.
Second clip sounds the best so far. Attack is definitely improved and the speed is probably mid 180s at points, so better on all fronts.
Doing short bursts of stuff never did anything for me. I get no tactile feedback from something that starts and stops in a half a second, so I don’t know what I can learn from that. Not saying it can’t work for some purpose, but it’s just not something I’ve done.
I don’t know if I like this motion or if you could do better, but I’m a fan of working with what we have and trying to make progress. The next step is hand sync:
You can use a metronome but synchronizing to an external source isn’t the main goal — it’s synchronizing the hands, even as you speed up, which you’ll see I do several times in the lesson. Metronomes aren’t good at that. Also, I’ve seen many, many clips of the click droning away in the background where players really aren’t listening to it, so what’s the point?
You keep mentioning that things are too fast to know how fast you’re going. This will fix that. It is very easy to hear when the six-note pattern speeds up, even by a small amount, because you’re only listening to the first note.
Give this a shot for a week or so, a few minutes here and there, and see if you can get it sounding good, with clean attack, at speeds similar to the clips you’ve posted here. That’s a big step if you can get to that point.
awesome, thanks a lot! I will work on this and update you in a couple weeks
Hey Troy, heres an update. I have been practicing the pattern with the different finger positions you showed. Just wondering if you could give me a quick critique. The synchronization has gotten better I believe and although I have been using the metronome, I am trying to just listen for the first note hitting the click/ attempting to chunk it.
Hey Troy, I went back to square one to try to fix up a better motion. I have experimented with everything and I am just not sure if I have made any progress. I have tried to focus on finding a motion that doesn’t seem to tense up easily. When I tense up, I tend to use this extra sort of arm motion for support that I don’t believe is doing me any good. I’ve worked on this for 1-2 hours a day since my first post. Just don’t know if I am getting anywhere. Here a video of my motion currently. Also, is there anyone you recommend that can maybe give me a couple lessons to try to pinpoint exact things to me?
If you’re not happy with these attempts, my comment is that in general, all of these attempts look similar. They’re all in the deviation / elbow ballpark, don’t go as fast as your table tap tests, and have a very small motion size with aggressive attack.
I don’t know what the magic bullet is, but part of me wants to see you do something that is totally, 100%, different than what you currently do, just so we can say we 100% succeeded in learning something new. Maybe there can be some learning there that will transfer to other ways of playing.
Here’s a less common approach. This is a wrist motion that is very easy and fast. It is similar to tapping on a table:
The trailing edge grip is just there to make the string attack smooth. The pick is coming in on a diagonal (DSX), and you need some way of having it slice into the string smoothly, and slice back out again smoothly. If I hold it with an index finger grip, I can’t get the UWPS orientation I need. So I have to hold it this way. You can swivel the pick in your grip until it is exactly perpendicular to the path it is travelling. When you achieve this, the attack will feel very smooth in both directions. Just so we’re on exactly the same page here, try to use a Jazz III if you have one.
It feels very comfortable and the motion is light and easy. It goes easily over 200bpm when you figure it out. Edit: Think of it like tapping on a table. The motion that goes toward the guitar is the tap. The motion that goes away is sort of the ‘up-tap’. This is the reverse of how we normally think because here the tap is an upstroke. Don’t think of it like that. Just think of it as a tap. To go faster just think, tap tap tap tap, focusing on the tap (trapped) pickstroke. That’s how you keep time with it.
Give this a shot and see if you can copy it. If you film it, do it down the neck in good lighting at 120fps so we can see what’s going on.
thank you so much again for helping. Between yesterday and today I have put several hours now but I just cant seem to find an angle or swivel my pick to where I dont feel any resistance. I know you said perpendicular to the path but even when it seems it is exactly that, I just have these “garage spikes”. I have also re-watched the trailing edge pick grip videos but still no progress. Ill send a video of what it looks like right now
Thanks for doing this!
Is that a fresh Tortex Jazz III? Right out of the bag, those have a really square edge on them. They don’t feel smooth until they start to wear. A regular red nylon Jazz III with the bevel will feel smoother.
But let’s step back a moment. My concern is that you’re doing the movement correctly in the first place. No sense in fussing over the details if the basic motion isn’t there.
Here’s an even simpler way to try this, with table tapping:
You start with the three finger formation, and place the arm and hand flat on the table. In the resting position, you can feel the three fingers touching the table, and the entire right side of the palm on the table. This will set the forearm at a 45 degree angle with the table top, i.e. supinated.
When you tap, the motion goes diagonally, from upper right to lower left (on the screen). It looks like a bird pecking at the table, on an angle. Adjust the speed slider on the video down to 25% to see the diagonal motion. You shouldn’t have to force it. This motion feels the easiest when going diagonal. It should not be going straight down at the table top.
When you do this, you really want to go for it, like you’re playing some kind of video game that involves hitting that spot on the table. It should feel fast and a little bit spasmodic. You can tense up the muscles in your forearm a little if it helps, but nothing above that should have tension. No upper arm, no shoulder, no motion from there at all.
The more force you put into this, the larger the motion will get. That is another thing you can experiment with. It will burn more fuel, but you should be able to do this motion fast and large, and also fast and small. Or anywhere in between. Some picking motions need to be fast and large at the same time. Cory Wong’s strumming motion is a good example of this, where he hits all six strings very quickly. It is similar to the motion in this test.
Give this a shot and see if you can get the spasmodic bird pecking thing happening!
So this is what I have so far. I couldnt get it without any upper arm and shoulder movement but it doesn’t feel too tense
Looks good! That’s around 220bpm if I line the taps up with a metronome. And even though you start to slow down you still keep it up for more than 10 bars.
Also, the motion looks much larger than your guitar picking motions which in this case I think is a good thing. It means you’re succeeding at doing something different. Does this experiment feel different than your last video clip on the guitar?
If you do this exact motion with a click at 180bpm, does it feel easier and can you do it for longer? If so, it’s working.
If you can translate this to the guitar you will have something new. It should look and feel pretty similar to this. You should see the same path and the same large-ish motion, and you should be able to focus on the taps to keep time at any speed you want. Try it with a red Jazz III and swivel the pick around in your grip to see if you can find a spot where the attack feels smooth.
still a work in progress trying to translate the motion over to guitar but I believe its looking better now that I know what the motion should feel like. Still working on finding the path of least resistance. At 180 I can do the hand motion (table test) for a very long time and I really don’t feel much tension! One thing I realized doing this was that I’m better able to isolate my wrist doing the DSX motion with my regular pick grip. I included a video of that as well.
Nice one! You’ve got a solid dsx tremolo going now, in two forms! I’d suggest using this same motion (keep the video for reference) and apply it to phrases where the last note on a string is a downstroke before switching. You don’t need to train both motions, unless you really want to. I’d probably go with the second videos setup, but that’s just me.
Start with speed to be sure it’s the same motion and you can break bigger phrases down in chunks, maybe just covering two strings at a time. Whatever feels manageable.
thanks! I have been working on this for a bit and I think Im getting it up to around 195 bpm. I cant tell exactly how many bpm but using the tap function on my metronome it seems to be fluctuating from 187-198bpm. The only thing I’m a little worried about at this point is the arm movement. Nothing feels too tense, and as Troy explains in the primer, I am sure the more I do it, the faster I can get it. This is an attempt I recorded just now
I wouldn’t worry too much if the arm is getting involved at very high speeds. You do see that happening with many players. It’s fast, smooth, not too much tension, so it passes the test!
I’d move on to applying this motion with phrases that match and getting the two hands working together.
ok cool, I’ll get working on that. Thanks!
@Troy hey Troy sorry to bother again but any chance you can recommend any skype teachers that are familiar with your work? Just dont want to be practicing the wrong thing and forming bad habits. I feel like I have just been doing that for too long
You may necessarily need anyone familiar with “our” work, per se. This idea of experimenting with motions and making sure they are working, I would like to think any good modern teacher would generally be on board with that. Personally I mainly know the people we have interviewed, like Teemu Mäntysaari and Martin Miller, who I think both still do teaching. But there are great people on here as well. Jake Estner is a great teacher, I don’t know if he still does online stuff. I’m probably forgetting tons of people!
hey @Troy out of all the motions, elbow seems to give me the most speed. I tried avoiding it in the beginning only because I felt as if I was way too tense with it and would get fatigued easily. After spending this week focusing on the motion and revisiting the videos you on elbow players like Vinnie Moore I think I got something going. I think this video is around 210 bpm if I’m not mistaken. The only thing that gets me is when crossing strings on a downstroke (since this is a DBX motion), I still sometimes get caught swiping the next string. Sometimes I swipe, others I don’t. It really is 50/50. I’m wondering if that comes with time and if this is normal in the beginning with an unfamiliar motion.
This looks and sounds awesome! Definitely your best result yet. I would also point out that you’re doing this for 40 seconds straight in this video, which is a test of fluidity in and of itself. If there’s something wrong with the motion, you will start to feel tension way before that. We get the “elbow feels tense” thing all the time, but great players do it and claim it feels very relaxed. If you’ve figured out a way to get it to feel easy then that’s a good start.
Also, elbow motion and wrist motion often occur together, probably because they can move in similar planes. Vinnie does lots of wrist stuff intermingled with his elbow motion and so does Bill Hall. We spent a lot of Bill’s interview talking about the interplay of these techniques. My guess is that choosing elbow as a default is just that — a starting point. Over time you learn to augment with other motions as the phrases require, and eventually they blend together to feel like “one” overall technique even though at the level of the motions there is mixing and matching.
You can check out the Brendon Small interview for his thoughts on what “easy” elbow motion feels like, and of course the Bill Hall interview as well where we talk a lot about it. In fact, if you feel you want a second look at this from someone who actually plays this way regularly, you could reach out to Bill for a consultation. I think he does teaching, not sure, but he’s a super nice dude so worth a shot.