Was there a guitar solo that helped you understand a certain technique?

Not sure if this has been asked here before…

Was there a solo or part of a solo that you enjoyed learning that really helped apply a certain technique such as USX, DSX etc?

Thought it would be cool to hear players thoughts here.


Learning licks is how I’ve developed my RH technique. It feels gross comparing my technique to the greats, but I am capable of flexed wrist gypsy rest stroke USX and Anton Oparin-style wrist mixed escape + DBX and I learned these three with three licks that I like to spam while I watch baseball or silly videos on youtube. I could play ergonomic 6nps patterns at 14.5ish notes/second (depends how much coffee I’ve had), inside Gilberts with a string skip at 13.5ish notes/second (with hit-or-miss accuracy), and 1nps banjo roll patterns at 9-10 notes/second (without string hopping, with questionable accuracy).

I learned USX with one particular run in Misha Mansoor’s solo in “Luck as a Constant” by Periphery, at 4:41 in the song. It’s strictly alternate picked sextuplets at 135 with six notes per string, switching strings on every quarter note-- neatly organized and about as easy to chunk as it gets. I started with a smooth gypsy tremolo motion, working up to 13.5 notes/second, (focusing on smoothness then occasionally trying sextuplets at 135) then worked on getting the left hand of the lick up to the same speed. Then I worked on getting both hands in time at 135 against a metronome, and the synchronization came naturally after that. This process of getting both hands perfectly in time with your internal clock is the key to synchronizing single-string chunks, in my opinion. Then I worked on doing the chunk but ending it on the note on the next string, which honestly felt natural with my gypsy USX form. After that stringing the four one-beat chunks together just fell into place. The whole process took me approximately 90 hours.

I learned the Andy Wood or Anton Oparin-style wrist wiggle mixed + DBX technique with the lick at 2:50 in the solo to “Cowboys from Hell” by Pantera. It’s essentially the Gilbert lick in sextuplets but inside picked. I believe Dime alternate picked the first four notes of six and used legato for the last two, but I alternate pick it. I achieved this by planting my hand “flat” on my guitar’s bridge, resting both the thumb and pinky side wrist bones on it, and doing USX tremolo and DSX tremolo from that same hand position. I “learned” wrist USX and DSX (like Eric Johnson and John McLaughlin, respectively) by just exaggerating rest strokes (against the next thinner and thicker strings, respectively) and making large pickstrokes that visibly flew into the air. Next, I practiced switching between the two while tremolo-ing on a single string. A mirror facing down your strings is helpful to visibly observe that you’re switching between the two. After that, I just attempted Dime’s inside Gilberts (using the same chunking method as before, just with multiple strings per chunk) knowing that my setup was capable of it, and just tweaked little things like pick grip and the amount of deviation I started with in neutral position before picking until I was able to play it without swiping. The lick played without swiping has a 1nps inside picked component so if you can play it, it’s easy to adapt to string skips.

Lastly, for 1nps DBX, I just moved triad shapes around on the three thinnest strings while practicing various roll patterns with the same setup as the Gilbert lick I knew. I notice my forearm wiggling around (supinating and pronating my hand) a little bit but I can’t feel it working the way I can feel my wrist. Accuracy is a continuing struggle but I figure if you can make the motion smoothly past the string hopping speed barrier the accuracy will come over the weeks/months/years as you get reps in.

I realize this response has gone way past what you were likely looking for but writing this has been a productive retrospective on how I’ve developed my technique. This prompt has been very thought-provoking and I’m looking forward to reading other people’s responses.


how fast is your half rest stroke?

this is what i am refering to the double down but during a musically descended phrase that has this occurence during a string change.

Screenshot of a YouTube transcription. Valentin Voyer Transcriptions Library - Paul “Tchan Tchou” Vidal - La Gitane

still stuck around 9 nps on that maneuver.

Sorry for any confusion-- I don’t actually play licks gypsy-style with that articulation. I meant the CTC-type terminology of the setup, with wrist flexed and not resting on the bridge, using forearm USX motion. have played Metallica and can play along with Master of Puppets, but I use wrist motion for that with a supinated setup and the tone probably wouldn’t be right in a gypsy context.

Wow, thanks for the incredibly detailed breakdown of your learning process @skynyrd1965!

90 hours is quite a solid chunk of practice time to spend on one run. If you don’t mind I have a few more questions about your approach. For getting smooth tremolo up to speed, what did you actually do to practice, and for how long at a time? I’ve been trying to figure out a USX motion that works for me but every time I try, it starts out feeling awkward and slow, I try making about 5-10 various adjustments, and then… it ends still feeling awkward and slow about 10 minutes later because I feel like I’m not making progress. I also have trouble focusing on playing only a single note for more than 10 minutes. :slight_smile:

Also, how did you work on getting the left hand in time and up to speed? Did you just practice it as legato? Did you start slow and increase the tempo bit by bit? One challenge I’ve found with left-hand-only practice is that your notes are either barely audible (and thus it’s hard to hear/feel timing) or you have to add pull-offs which can change the technique quite a bit… or you do that crazy all-hammer legato but I’m nowhere close to being able to pull that off.

This was during spring 2020 for reference haha

My floating, flexed wrist forearm-driven USX tremolo causes the same sensation/feelings/whatever as funk strumming. Imagine your right hand is on fire and you’re trying to shake the fire out, and then transfer that to the guitar-- whack through all six strings. This is a skill I already had from playing songs like Can’t Stop by the Chili Peppers, to bring it back to your original prompt. Then I started doing it just on one string-- however, I supinated my forearm more at the beginning so that the pick really buries on the rest stroke and flies away from the body on the upstroke-- if you set up a mirror it should be readily visible. I just then really practiced tremolo picking as fast as possible, constantly tweaking my setup (amount of supination at the start of a downstroke, how far my wrist was flexed, pick grip, amount of edge picking, the pick I actually used-- I like the Dunlop Andy James Flow) so that it felt as comfortable as possible. I do believe that practicing tremolo gets you better at it (you get more coordinated in your nervous system at firing the opposing muscles, or something like that) because as I practiced tremolo picking over the course of a couple weeks it got faster, freer-feeling, and less tension outside of the picking muscles.

Left hand I did just play legato to build the chunking sync. I’ll say that alt picking the lick is much easier on the left hand than playing it legato at the same speed because you have to add a bit more effort to get it to ring cleanly when hammering and pulling off. To that end I do feel like I’m dragging the fretted note down a bit before I pull off and it snaps back into alignment, almost as if I’m giving it a little bend, as opposed to just lifting off like I do when alternate picking. I focused on playing fast and as light as possible (like impatiently tapping your fingertips on a desk) without a metronome at first and focusing on easy speed and gradually increasing the force of the HO/PU to get it to ring. I don’t do that all hammer legato. But honestly a lot of it is having enough gain and having low string tension also definitely helps. Looking at it while playing my left hand is moving around pretty dynamically like a violin player instead of rigidly being in the “classical” or “blues” posture at any given time, but I never had much trouble developing left hand speed personally so I’m not the best at explaining how it works.


this is the only way i can explain it like if you burn your hands from touching a pan you are pulling out from the oven, and you start shaking them. that like tingly sensation you get from flopping and twitching the forearm muscle by turning your hand (think like positioning your hand like you are turning a key on a door knob) rapidly because you burned your hand. not saying to burn your hand, but this is how it should feel inside your forearm tension free, and it will also sound rhythmically free. if you start adding tension you will hear it, and the rhythm will have more accents to it. in the video troy has of joscho you can witness this also towards the end when he has to be precisely on point during the rhythm, he will force a bit of tension to get the slinging going. that one is a bit different than the more free sounding one.


That’s a great explanation and instantly helped me get such a motion going fairly smoothly/tension-free in the air. Bringing it to the guitar is a challenge and it quickly falls apart but this is at least a good start.

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yes even 2 years after figuring this out its still hard for me most days the morning its easier, when you wake up attempt it for a few weeks. i am 39 years old so i chalk it up to i shouldve learned it earlier in my youth. eventually you will get the distance of the pick and all the intricacies of the hand position pick angle just right. if you get frustrated let the wrist cool down for 15 minutes and try again. put it away for the next day if you get too irritated. eventually you will latch on to something, it took me about 2 weeks. you could also get into trying out the rest stroke like joscho stefan or stochelo rosenberg, this might help put more coordination into the hands and mind of the proper wrist turn key motion that tremolo requires.

however dont just think this is the only tremolo i have seen cesario filho tremolo with thumb movement and dorado schmitt and amati schmitt father and son do a different style of tremolo than the rest stroke norm. so even if you aren’t able to do this one don’t fret. :sweat_smile: