USX - with elbow but... not really?

This week, I made some improvement on this lick by @Troy. USX doesn’t come naturally. After watching @Bill_hall 's USX elbow motion, I thought I’d try to get a little more elbow-y here since I do it a lot with DSX.

The result - I leapt up 10 BPM (to 130) but more importantly, it FEELS better. Less strain on my wrist and forearm. But… when I look at this, I don’t see much elbow motion until the descent at the end. Does that look the same to y’all?

I wonder if simply focusing on what I think is elbow motion might just be helping my wrist motion. It sure feels better. WAY better

Strangely, it feels like I’m using some shoulder. Anyone experienced this?


Obviously we can’t see your shoulder in this shot but as a general principle we think the shoulder joint may be what Zakk Wylde is using to have a picking motion that “looks elbowy” but is actually upstroke escape!


a ha! yes, it does feel like that.

so, does this motion look elbow-y in the ascending part to you, @tommo ?

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Without measuring the position of all your bones with an X-Ray, I would say that the wrist is not locked in, so I would place my money on some kind of elbow + wrist hybrid, or elbow + wrist + shoulder based on your perception :slight_smile:

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that if it feels comfortable! As usual, push the speed if you want to know the potential of this technique.

I had forgotten about this lick by the way, sounds very cool :slight_smile:


It’s difficult to spot the elbow motion, maybe it you film it with the camera facing you.

If you feel elbow motion, it’s likely there, but can definitely see wrist motion also.

Do you feel the elbow more on the sweeps? Some people use elbow and some sort of upper arm motion on sweeps. (The tracking motion)

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Great idea. I’ll shoot it again today. In the first few measures, there’s very subtle difference when I think about elbow. I notice that I suddenly get faster, more accurate but… I don’t SEE any difference in this video. so maybe it’s more mindset. or it’s just so subtle a difference it’s hard to detect.

yes! on the sweeping part I feel elbow and shoulder!

Playing this daily, I was able to get up to 140 bpm on this with no real problem later in the week. 150 was challenging but not so far out of reach.

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it’s a fun exercise and super beneficial! I also love the one @Troy does in D minor descending then ascending. I practice these daily as warm ups!

thanks, @tommo

good to know about Zak and shoulder! Yes, he does look like he uses shoulder to me, too!

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DIFFERENT LICK, same thinking/feeling: Tried this on Holy Wars. There’s elbow on the sweeps. But in the wrist-y stuff, I’m thinking elbow and feeling both elbow and shoulder. I see some elbow around 0:16 in those quick upward escapes.

I notice a dramatic decrease in tension in my wrist and an increase in accuracy and better sound!


Looking great! You likely have a combination of motions from the elbow, maybe upper arm and I can see some wrist in there too. Not massive Zack Wylde elbow, on the alternate picking parts, but if you can feel it, it’s likely there to some degree
Yeah I find elbow really helps on sweeps like that too. When I try more wrist, the pick angle can change a little too much, especially descending, and then it’s a garage spike issue. I know Frank Gambale alters his pick angle as he descends those sweeps, but I couldn’t get that going easily.


thanks! I think you’re right - it feels like a blend of all those.

great point about pick angle! even on the alt picking parts, I notice when I change the pick angle slightly in the high notes, I feel and sound better.

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Great! Keep up the good work :metal: