What if you play the same lick differently?

I may not fully understand what “Pickslanting Primer” is supposed to be telling us, so bear with me. As I understand it, the “ah-ha” Troy had was realizing that licks worked or didn’t (or at least could be played at speed) because they took into account how the pick was being held and used. Very fast players who held their picks in such a way that a downstroke meant the pick broke below the plane of the strings and the upstroke broke above played one set of licks. Those that did otherwise, played a different set of licks. You could not play a lick quickly that required you to change strings after breaking below the plane of the strings.

So does that mean that you have to play the same lick the same way every time, or how does this concept fit that in? Take, for example, that ubiquitous descending pentatonic lick. I wish I could just post a quick audio file, but here goes the one I mean: Starting with you pinky or ring finger on the b3 on the high e string; then the root; then the b7 on the B string; then the 5, then the 4 on the G string; then the b3; then the root on the D string.

Sometimes I like the sound of pulling off, sometimes the very clicky sound of picking every note, often a mix of the two. But if I am to understand the system, I must have an even number of notes per string if I want to go fast so my pick doesn’t get trapped. If I pull off one set I only have a single note. What if I want to throw in that b6 on the G string? Now I have three notes on that string.

Is Troy advocating pre-planning how you are going to pick each lick and playing those licks the same way every time? Is there a technique to adapt how you use your pick to match the lick you are playing at the moment? Is there a practice exercise to learn that technique?

without going into the whole always switching on downstrokes gypsy jazz rest stroke technique entire system, you can watch christiaan van hemerts videos on this, there is a system in place. however you can alter this however you want utilizing hammer ons and pull offs, or just do two downs in a row even if that means going from a higher string to a lower one. sure it might be harder, but the system says always on down so just do it that way or alter from a down, up, pull off/hammer on or use down, pull off/hammer on, up to switch strings. so to a degree the phrases are always kinda played the same, unless you need a different attack sound projection and or alter the rhythm as well and or add or remove notes.

this is why when i finally had my ah ha moment with rest stroke technique is why i feel that it should at least be learned for alittle bit by every single guitar player because of this fragment.

downstroke, rest pick on string below (or guitar body if on high e), hammer on/pull off, upstroke

everyone is always so use to using yngwie tried and true down, up, pull off that you become use to this crutch not realizing there is another that we are leaving out. although i mean it isnt really yngwies to begin with heh its just where most of us picked it up to try to go as fast as humanly possible.

also don’t believe these are the only two ways to do it, there are more so try to learn as many as you can to help tackle musically descended cross string phrases. these are the hardest for the way i naturally slant, now there are others who slant the other way so musically descended will be easy however they will have trouble with musically ascended phrasing.

i think it probably just requires kind of studying the phrase a bit deeper in isolation, and working out creating alterations of it and playing them in context for awhile.

if you have not go do some gypsy jazz courses either stochelo rosenberg or joscho stephan, very nice websites with video and tablature. and look at the phrasing to see how they have their stock set of phrasing, and they will alter it making it sound completely different trying to fool the listener into hearing something different. even myself it makes me laugh how he could alter the rhythm take out one note and it just sounds so different, but its basically the same phrase.

like in gypsy jazz certain phrases like minor arpeggio runs are fingered the django way and in other you have completely different heavy metal arpeggio sweeping techniques that have different fingerings and picking. the more phrasing you learn across the board, the clearer that fretboard will become. so i would say try to be as open as possible to everything guitar related because there are nuggets of information inside every genre.

i can give a really great example of a pattern that sounds completely different because it is different in terms of scale sound.

the fragment everybody is familiar with the yngwie looper. both of these examples are high e string.

here its more of a diminished thing to resolve to e minor yngwies stuff

here this is more phrygian utilizing phrygian dominant flamenco paco de lucia thing mainly resolves to e andalusian cadence if i remember the term correctly

both are the same pattern just played differently

maybe some theory guys can chime in if i am wrong with this i am not entirely sure but i think this is right ones diminished the other phrygian

I’d recommend taking two different approaches with pentatonic licks specifically because they can be finicky for the reasons you stated!

First Approach:
If I want to do something fast that doesn’t take much configuring to get it to work with even notes and sweeping I’ll use an USX wrist-forearm approach

Second Approach:
If I encounter something that doesn’t fit neatly into that approach I’ll use a DBX (double escape motion) which works nicely moderate-fast and if I need it any faster I’ll incorporate some hammers and pulls to make it a little easier

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From my understanding of CTC and the work Troy has done, I don’t think he’s necessarily advocating for anything in particular. The content has been about breaking down different techniques to understand how players execute their lines.

The most likely solutions single escape players employ (even if they’re not aware of it) are swiping or pull-offs / hammer-ons if it doesn’t perfectly match their “ideal” escape pattern. Some have developed an ability to switch from USX to DSX intuitively, or a “helper” motion.

The easiest way (in my opinion) to develop this yourself is to play different lines, regardless of their “ideal” escape mechanic, and see how you adapt to play it. Be willing to experiment with different solutions!

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Not exactly. Troy is mostly advocating to identify how you already naturally play, and then using that as a platform to build off of by using licks and string changes that work with what you are already doing.

Now there is no reason that somewhere down the line that you couldn’t learn a new picking motion if you tend to like licks that naturally work with a particular one, but the main goal is to get you going to your destination faster, by using what you already have.