Universal Mind (Request) Really would apreciate "magnet" view

So, I’ve been struggling with the intro of Universal Mind - Liquid Tension Experiment since about 5 years
I know from watching John Petrucci that the first note is a down stroke, and from there on, it is all alternate picking. By doing that, to complete the first “cycle”, you have to return to the 1st string with an upstroke after a down stroke on the 3rd string, and that is the most difficult part to me.
Would be awesome to see a magnet angle of this intro. Please if anyone could help me with that, post here a video of you playing that.
Troy… it is a good reveal to make a special video on this one… this intro summarizes every challenge of alternate picking together.
Thank you!


this guy here seens to play with the same technique that Petrucci does (anchored pinky) but without the proper angle I couldn’t figure out witch approach he is using to attack the strings.

He talks about how you can use some economy, but the actual one is all alternated and them he teaches it. he starts alternating in 02:05 time

Hey @GuillySouza, thanks for posting and welcome to the forum! I really like this Petrucci riff, so much so that I may give it a shot myself :slight_smile:

That 13-20 stretch is pretty nasty though!

It is difficult to give specific advice without seeing your playing (and you are of course welcome to post a technique critique thread - filming instructions attached below). In any case, for the particular string change you mentioned, the string-skip may become a little easier if you make your picking motion a bit more “perpendicular” with respect to the string plane (“more escape”):


Let me know if that makes sense :slight_smile:
…and here are the filming instructions if you are interested

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thank you for the reply.
the image you posted is inverted, the last pick on the third string is a downstroke going to an upstroke on the 1st string.
about filming myself, I’ll give it a try. I’ll post as soon as I can.

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I was looking at the tutorial you linked and I think he teaches the last section of wrong. (the turn around lick)

The most difficult part of the universal mind intro is that turn around part which has you quickly bouncing between the high E and G string pedaling at the 17th fret of the G string to the descending notes of the E string, requiring you to string skip AND quickly reverse your pick slant to cross over the B string.

If you watch this guy play it (slow it down like 50% on the youtube player):

You can see he doesn’t string skip, instead he plays/pedals the 13th fret of the B string instead of the 17th G string, which takes away the string skip and a lot of complexity. I’m not really sure what john petrucci is doing himself (all the live vids of this song are so grainy and far away it’s hard to make out this detail, i’d really like to know though) whether or not he does the turnaround lick with a string skip or not, but it is without a doubt more easier to do this lick without the string skip and still alternate pick the entire thing (keeping the sound authentic).

Not to nitpick, but the second shape of the riff (around 7 second mark in the video you linked) is definitely wrong… I just found it ironic since you said the tutorial he linked taught it wrong! :grin:

Yeah… you’re right about that lol. The tutorial is impressive because he does somehow manage to play the 3rd section with that fast single note string skip, proving that is possible somehow, but it is without a doubt easier to alternate pick it on the B string without the string skip.

Does anyone know if Petrucci picks everything or if he uses some pulloffs in here?

Come to think of it, I can’t remember how JP does it. I might try the string skip method to see if I like it better!

I could almost guarantee it was all picked in the recoding, but he might’ve done legato live if he was feeling tired. He does the same thing with the arpeggios at the beginning of glass prison (sweeped live if not feeling it).

Lol that was easy! Guess I’ll try the string skip method then!

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I’m going to have to experiment with additional escape in order to clear the string without “swiping” (I think that’s the term y’all use here?)

As for the OP, I play “through” the b string and try to mute as much as possible. That being said, that’s just my go-to movement pattern, if I wanted to clean it up more I’d recommend what tommo suggested.

Anyways, here’s my attempt (after not playing the song in years, waking up from a lasagna coma, excuses excuses) at the initial two shapes. Goofed the pedal note part, might revisit that later!

Good job @Pepepicks66! This is faster than Petrucci’s version (the original is around 152bpm), the only comment I’d make is that left/right synchronisation is slightly off in a couple of places. I think you’d have no trouble cleaning it up at the original speed though.

Also, it would be very interesting to see this with “magnet view” and slow motion :slight_smile:

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Thank you! I definitely felt I was going faster, but I think I was purposely trying to just go as fast as I could to experiment. I’d be willing to set up something like the magnet, I’ll have to see how…

I DID jump on the Kickstarter for the magnet, so worst case scenario, I can post something in December! :grin:

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Hehe of course, we always suggest to people to try and play fast to discover new motions - so you did the right thing - in fact your speed was pretty amazing here :slight_smile:

Here’s some filming tips that may hap you figure something out while you wait for the magnet :slight_smile:

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@GuillySouza @tommo sorry for the delay (also the lighting, I need a better solution) but here’s an attempt at 157 bpm (I think that’s the tempo?). I feel very clean at 147, this one is in an awkward spot where I feel I start to swipe more and timing it to hit the upstroke on the high E is the Crux.

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