I have been working my way through Antigravity for a little while and seem to to be making pretty good progress.
Before starting to understand pickslanting I had hit a brick wall of 16th notes around 120bmp for alternate picking. That lasted about 30 years
I am note at a stage where I can play a good basic range of 16th triplet DWPS licks at 120 bpm (ie equivalent to 16th notes at 180 bpm) as long as I change stings on an even number of pick strokes. I can play some limited repeating phrases at 134 bpm 16th triplets (200bpm 16th notes).
I am now working hard on my inside string changes on TWPS and seem to to be making progress to where I can play some comfortably at 120bmp 16th triplets. But I am still finding it unnatural making the roll from DWPS to UWPS. I think I have the basic technique but still wonder if there is string hopping going on too.
The attached clip is a 3 note per string 16th triplet phrase with at 110 bpm.
Unfortunately, no I can’t do it without the roll movement. It gets very “sticky” and I trip up.
On looking at the close up video it appears that my pick grip and hand position is quite aggressively DPS. When I try to UPS without the roll movement I never quite get far enough and end up swiping the string from the wrong angle so it “hooks” on the string I need to cross.
I wish I could find the right grip/resting position to facilitate the TWPS without such an exaggerated forearm roll as this position makes it very difficult to do any form of palm muting when in the UPS position. However, I have now started to thumb mute on the UPS strokes.
I found it useful to establish a zero pickslant setup, play on one string at 16ths. After a few bars, I try to switch to a very small DWPS. Once it feels comfortable I would reset, start again, but switch to a small UWPS. Once that became comfortable, I would practice take a lick (a repeating 6s), and play all the picking strokes and pickslant switching on one string only.
I have posted this before and got mixed opinions on whether it was worth it, but I found it very useful in crafting and controlling the pickslant transitions and avoiding exagerrated pickslants.
Yes. Thanks. It makes sense. I’ll give it a try tonight.
The main thing I find is that the downward angle of the pick itself (as distinct from the diagonal movement towards and away from the guitar) is comfortable, fits well with muting and is deeply ingrained in my muscle memory. I use it for all of my playing including chords etc.
Moving to a zero or slight DWPS angle is manageable for me but going beyond that to UWPS feels very unnatural. I don’t know if that is just lack of practice or whether I am trying to get my arm/wrist into a position that just doesn’t work for me. Only, one way to find out
I have been trying your suggestion for the last few nights (several hours per night ).
Two nights ago everything was firing on all cylinders and blazing but last night was like wading through treacle.
What I THINK I have noticed is that my picking mechanic is largely forearm rotation from a supinated position but with some wrist deviation too. (Forgive me if my description is not correct as I am still trying to get to grips with the terminology). However, in order to get the zero (or close to zero) DWPS that you mention I need to change everything to almost entirely a deviation based mechanic. This tends to aggravate tendon issues. I’m not sure if this is a case of my physiology not working with a deviation movement or simply that I haven’t trained those muscles enough yet and need to knuckle down and get through it.
As I mentioned two nights ago the deviation movement did seem to be working in a pretty relaxed manner so maybe it is just a case of building the muscles.
Definitely use the relaxed form, no point trying to do something that isn’t natural and pain is never good.
I too find UWPS hard to get as relaxed as DWPS
You may be expecting too much too soon. I found a similar thing when I started experimenting with UWPS- it felt physically demanding, but through relaxed practice it jas become better. Maybe you should spend a bit more time doing 1WPS licks with UWPS so that you can concentrate on establishing how you are going to do it. Something like a chromatic 4nps starting on an uptroke - it is hard for me, but the more I do it, the easier 2WPS is
I have been working hard on this for the last few days. Unfortunately, I feel like my playing is going backwards rather than forwards
I think there are several different issues that I need to break down and focus on individually:
1 - the resting hand/pick orientation.
My natural position is quite supinated with a heavily DWPS orientation. Moving to a neutral resting position (both hand and pick) is easy and comfortable. Even moving beyond this to a pronated UWPS position is easy and comfortable.
I can handle each of the orientations and changing between them at reasonably quick tempos on one string around the middle of the guitar. It is still reasonably easy on the 1st and 2nd strings. However, I find this orientation awkward on the 5th and 6th strings.
2- picking motion
in my natural resting position I seem to use a predominantly forearm rotation movement. for UWPS. However, in the more neutral position it seems necessary to use a wrist deviation movement. This is fairly easy and relaxed up until around 150bpm and could probably get beyond this in a more relaxed fashion with practice. However, I seem to be having a few issues with the neutral orientation and deviated mechanic. Firstly, it is more difficult to get the pick to full clear the string on the upstroke. Therefore, I catch more strings accidentally. However, I think I can be improve this with practice. Secondly, I seem to use very different muscles for the wrist deviation mechanic. I notice more tension in my back, shoulder, bicep and elbow when compared to the relaxed (still fairly relaxed even at 16th note 200bpm) forearm rotation movement. I have been feeling little tennis elbow over the last few days although I can’t be sure this is caused by the picking movement as I have been doing other things which can aggravate this too.
3 - UWPS. I have been working on one way UWPS for several months. I usually spend some time each night doing things like the Gilbert overlapping 6 lick. It is never as fast a my DWPS playing but can hit 16th triplet at 110+ with minimal problem most nights. It is definitely stiffer and less relaxed than DWPS though.
4 - starting with an upstroke. I have read many discussions on this and Troy’s comments too. I have no problem mechanically starting a phrase on an upstroke. I do this regularly with syncopated phrases that start on an offbeat. However, I struggle rhythmically when starting a phrase on the beat with an upstroke. I understand the benefits of being able to do either but I have always found that knowing where the downbeat is with a downstroke is a real benefit to being able to play smoothly and in time. I’m not sure my head is ready to deal with offbeat upstroke phrases
I’m going to persevere for a few more days then shoot some new video to assess how things are progressing.
@ForeverSATCH asked initially if I could do the TWPS without the exagerated wrist/forearm rolling movement. I couldn’t/can’t without changing my whole mechanic from a rotational movement to a deviation movement.
I concluded that my wresting orientation must be too supinated so I have been trying to find a more neutral position.
I have been watching the Picking Mechanics videos in the Pickslanting Primer section and have been trying to get my UWPS mechanic working properly but it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Troy describes it as wresting BOTH the heel of the palm and the pad of the thumb on the strings to put the forearm flat on the guitar body. This also requires some wrist extension. I can get that position without any problem. It feels fairly comfortable although I do sometimes notice a tighness in the back of my upper arm muscles trying to maintain it. However, I can’t seem to make the right pick trajectory from this position. It’s not that it feels awkward or particularly difficult just that I can’t fully make the pick escape the string. I can play the lines but my pick is still lightly brushing the string on string changes.
I think that I may be making the right movement in terms of wrist deviation but cancelling this out because I can’t seem to stop the forearm rotation.
I have amade thee videos tomight to illustrate my movement mechanics.
This is my most comfortable and natural position and movement. It sort of seems to be quite Yngwie like in the supination and forearm rotation.
This time I tried to maintain a more neutral position and use a deviation mechanic. The playing isn’t great tonight but I wanted to post it anyway to get some feedback as soon as possible.
Now I switched to an upward pick slant and try to make sure the pick escapes the strings. It “nearly” does but not quite. The only way I can find to get the right movement is to rotate the forearm to a more pronated position (lifting the heel of the hand off the strings and letting unwanted noise in due to lack of any ability to mute). This does allow me to make the UWPS pick stroke but makes the rotation required to change between DWPS and UWPS larger and therefore harder.
What am I doing wrong with the UWPS mechanic?
Am I actually on the right tracks and just being impatient or am I missing something and need to reassess?
It also demonstrated string hopping (extension on both pickstrokes)
Also for Muting- You have to do both Left and Right Hand Muting- the left hand not only frets but the fingers lay a little flat so that all strings physically below the one you are playing on are muted- and the string directly above is as well (your fingertip should touch it slightly to mute it). The right hand can use any part of the palm- side of the thumb, thumb pad, or pinky pad to mute all the strings physically above the one you are fretting.
If you have a smaller, more compact motion when uwps, you can more easily rest your palm on the lower strings.
Also, the angle of the stroke across the string doesnt have to be perpendicular. If its angled across the string (maybe wherecrosspicking gets name…?) Its possible to keep the motion more compact…hard to explain…but you wont need as much dart thrower if the angle is greater. Sit in classical position with neck up, but dont change position of right hand to see the angle im talking of increasing. This will likely also increase edge picking unless you change your thumb grip.
@DJ_Ddawg@ChrisX thanks for the responses guys. Your input is much appreciated. I will try and respond to these and explain my understanding. I apologise in advance if anything I say sounds dismissive or ungrateful as that is definitely not the intention but sometimes written comments don’t come across with the tone intended (even when using emoji). My sole intention is to try and understand and learn as much as possible and I appreciate any help offered. Now with that disclaimer out of the way…
I am not "trying to do UWPS from a supinated position. I am “trying” to do it from a fairly neutral lightly pronated position. However, that may not be what I am “actually” managing
I feel that my position is slightly pronated and extended as per Troy’s video on pick slanting mechanics. It looks that way to me in the last video too but I fully accept that I not very skilled at interpreting the video footage so I may be missing something. I am also not “trying” to achieve the motion with just deviation. I understand that it will need a combination of deviation and extension/flexion. However, it looks to me that I have more of a forearm rotation creeping in. I’m not sure if that is actually a rotational movement or just what happens when you combine deviation and extension though.
I initially thought you were saying my 3rd clip exhibited string hopping but on re-reading it I think you are referring to the 3d model thread. I am fairly confident my clip isn’t string hopping (but I’m not 100% sure) for a number of reasons;
I can’t see it myself in the clip (but as I already admitted my ability to interpret the footage isn’t great)
I don’t feel any tension that I would normally get from string hopping
My previous limit for this type of run was between 16ths at 116-120bpm and even that was getting tense due to string hopping. This clip is sextuplets at 100bpm which would equate to 16ths at 150bpm. I actually practiced the clip at sextuplets 120bpm before filming. There is no way I could do that with string hopping.
I am using left hand muting for the higher strings (by pitch) and the thumb is able to mute the very lowest strings. However, as I move to a more pronated position there seems to be a gap of 1 or 2 strings where nothing is muting them. In fact I seem to be finding a situation where the left hand 1st finger muting the string directly above it is actually causing the problem. As I move to the next higher string the tip of the 1st finger often creates a tiny pull off effect which would normally be killed by the heel of the right hand but with a more pronated position there is nothing in contact to kill it.
Bingo Yes, I am trying to make a small UWPS movement, in fact it looks as though the movements are so small most of the time that the pick isn’t actually rising above the string (even though it would do If the movement was bigger) except on the string switches. On the string switches the string is just barely escaping the string if at all. Maybe I just need to work on making the movement slightly bigger to get used to fully clearing the string al the time?
I think I understand. In the pick slanting primer videos and the Andy Wood videos they talk about the hand being deviated towards the floor when at rest to allow for this movement. I am trying to achieve that but not sure I am succeeding. I may need to film from the front to check. Also, the deviated resting orientation seems to not work so well with the DWPS portion of the movement.
Again, I hear what you are saying. I am already naturally sitting in a fairly “classical” posture with the neck relatively high on my left knee. In these clips the guitar is actually on my knee with my foot on a foot rest although I tend to practice on a saddle stool type chair with the guitar on a strap to achieve this comfortably for longer periods of time.
One of the things I “think” I am seeing in the third clip is forearm rotation. The pick seems to be making something akin to a cross-picking motion (albeit not very well ). I also notice that when attempting TWPS it tend to follow this mechanic:
My mechanic favours DWPS all the time unless actually making a string switch whereas the other seem to emphasise both orientations fairly equally. However, this also means that the time available to rotate from UWPS back to DWPS is reduced as it happens right on the string switch. Is there a clear logic why the second version is a better option than the first?
I don’t mind putting in the work to crack this but I want to minimise the wasted time effort working on something that isn’t an efficient mechanic in the first place.
For the 2WPS thing the rotate-rotate back thing is pretty common actually. This is what they call “Primary Down” 2WPS. I know it is mentioned in the Antigravity seminar. If you are just running 3NPS Scales then it shouldn’t really be an issue but it might be a problem if you go from an off number of notes to an even number of notes where you need to keep that opposite pickslant.
Cool. Thanks. I’ll need to go back and watch some of Ant Gravity again
At the moment I am pretty much running 3NPS for practice but one of the reasons I want to develop 2WPS is because I’m much o more of a CAGED box player than 3NPS player (grew up on the William G Leavitt Berkley Books) so I tend to do lots of patterns that use 2 and 3 note fingerings.
Hi! Thanks for posting. This all looks pretty good.
From what you’ve posted so far, your movements look mostly like wrist movement, not forearm rotation. And your arm position here as @DJ_Ddawg points out is supinated. Nothing wrong with any of this! I see a lot of clips on here of playing making tiny tweaks to their form and calling it a whole different technique, when to me they look almost indistinguishable. I mention this only because I don’t want you to beat your head against the wall trying to split hairs that either aren’t there, or aren’t really worth splitting. We’d like to try and make things as clear as possible for everyone.
Along those lines, have you watched the recent crosspicking broadcast yet? I think that will help clarify a bunch. It did for me! Our understanding of forearm position and wrist movement has evolved rapidly even in recent months, and I would say aspects of the intro to picking motion video are actually now even a little outdated, or at best vague. The “clockface” discussion of the first hour really helped me straighten out my thinking. It evolved from crosspicking study and meeting players like Andy and Molly but it’s just a way of understanding wrist movement.
I haven’t seen the crosspicking video yet but will watch now.
I did watch the last Andy Wood interview though which was interesting. And I still have the Molly Tutle one on my radar.
When trying to get the flat arm position that you spoke about in the past, I definitely feel I am trying to hold my arm in that position and it doesn’t feel natural - almost strained in the elbow. In order to get to UWPS contortably my arm just natuarally wants to roll to a much more pronated orientation which I have been trying to counter and introduce more wrist extension to compensate. Maybe I should just let it do what comes naturally
It doesn’t need to be super flat. In fact, flat isn’t even pronated (with respect to the strings), and pronated isn’t even necessary! How’s that for bad information? Yep, we’re learning as we go here, and I apologize for that!
The crosspicking video will I think clarify all of this. We’ll re-do the picking motion stuff as part of the Pickslanting Primer in the coming months.