Up slant picking

Hi all,

I have (recently) discovered that I am naturally an up slant picker whose brain seems to prefer even number of notes on a string, starting with an up stroke.

What I wondered is that it obviously has its limitations as I can’t just play anything I want in terms of licks, I have to sort of organise ideas, but should I just stick with what I naturally seem to be able to do, or should I try to learn the other styles of picking too to allow for more flexibility of ideas? The likes of John McLaughlin do pretty well with this orientation though.

Many thanks


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The standard is advice here to exploit what you’re naturally good at. It’s how most of the greats got so great. Branching out is only recommended if you’re either A) not satisfied with something about your technique (i.e. you just HAVE to be able to play Tumeni Notes and you currently have a one-way escape motion); OR B) you’re interested in adventure.

Thanks for the reply. That’s my feeling too, just exploit what is there already.

I’m 49 and have been a frustrated potential shredder since I was 18. I think now I just want to enjoy what I can do and fully explore it in terms of ideas and licks etc….


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Other than 1nps stuff…there’s really no limit to DSX. Even stuff like Eric Johnson and Yngwie is surprisingly playable if you just reorganize either the starting pick stroke or the arrangement of notes. There are times where it doesn’t work out (particularly with EJ) since some of his stuff is possibly unplayable except with his exact fingerings, which just may also pair with his USX since he does some economy. Still, plenty of his phrases are possible.

Have you seen this yet?

No I haven’t seen this yet. I’ll take a look now. I’m attempting now to play cascading pentatonics ala EJ but starting with an upstroke, but pick is flying all over the place at the mo, so need ti work on that with a metronome I think. I also do economy picking fairly well so 3NPS string stuff (some) is still accessible but DSX alternate picking is much more comfortable for me

There’s also this amazing post by Adam P. (RIP)

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Oh awesome. Many thanks for this

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so for this let’s call it DSX or down stroke escape to avoid confusion. So you escape the string plane after a downstroke which will let you change strings efficiently after the downstroke escape. So for even number notes per string then you would need to start on up. But if you do Gilbert overlapping 6s you just start with DUD on lowest string then go UDUDUD on the next string so all the next string changes will be down.
If you like pentatonic sounds I do DUD then move to next string going UDUDUD on the next set till you finish. It is kind of like a modified Gilbert 6s. If you get tired of the sound just position shift into the next box up and try that. So it would be DUD then UDU shift up to next box DUD UDU shift DUD etc. WOrks in reverse to.
You can get a lot of mileage doing sequences based on the premise So don’t feel you are limited.

What happened to Adam if you don’t mind me asking? He seemed like a particularly good player and his lesson on Ej using DSX was awesome. I’ll get a lot out of practising his fingerings.

No idea. Whatever it was, what a loss. He was easily one of the best players to post on here. Really young too.

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Brill. Thanks for the response. It seems that there is a hell of a lot that can be done using DSX.

I remembered that I had a couple of online lessons a few years backwash Greg Howe who said almost the same thing being echoed, that exploit the techniques you are naturally better at, not allowing yourself to be limited by it.

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Yeah, really young. Poor guy. man, I wish all this stuff on CTC had been discovered back when I was learning. It would’ve saved me years and years of frustrated practising, believing that I was just crap at shred. When in fact, I just didn’t naturally play the way that the players did on the REH instructionals (thinking of the infamous PG

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As in the infamous 6 note PG lick!

You might want to give Andy James a look. Almost everything that he plays fast (and he’s quite fast) is DSX. He’s a great inspiration for not being limited in that regard.