What technique is best to compensate when moving up with an upstroke with DWPS

My goal
I’m an (aspiring) improvising musician – basically my mission to play fast, thorny bebop lines >:)

The problem I’m having
I’m new to the whole pickslanting convo, but it seems that my technique (or lack of) is based on a downward pick slant (?). What I realized is that every line I have trouble playing is because of one mechanic - picking a lower (pitch-wise) string on an upstroke after a downstroke. No surprise there, since that downstroke is trapped between strings.

What I’d like some help with
I can really figure out what I should do to resolve this. Some options as far as I see

  • Commit to DWPS: reprogram my left/right hand to never end a string picking on a downstroke. As an improviser, I’m worried about being locked out of a picking scenario because it will happen at some point.
  • 2 way pickslanting: I could practice being mad flexible with that. This seems ideal maybe, but also very difficult and subtle to practice, meaning I might not get it (I am very dense.)
  • Crosspicking? Those dudes do it all. I can’t really tell but maybe that’s what I’m doing right now?
  • Rest stroke??? This seems to be the gypsy jazz approach to dealing with this, and I like the idea. I haven’t seen anyone talking about the rest stroke as the “antidote” for this issue with DWPS, am I on the right track?

I’m just getting into thinking about my picking so please be gentle with feedback when helping me understanding what I’m doing and what I should be doing :slight_smile: wrote a little phrase that does a lot of this lower-note-on-a-lower-string-on-an-upstroke stuff. Help me!!

Link to my video:


Hi there,

Welcome to the CtC community!
For me, I’ve worked on this technique that you are describing. I’ve been working on this with basic repetitive exercises but I am pretty sure for me, in order to play smoother at faster speeds, I need to incorporate a PO so I can setup my string cross to that lower string and have just a tad more time. I use a upstroke on the PO and then use an upstroke on the first lower string to keep my picking continuity. The feeling is almost like jumping off a treadmill then that little skip when you hit earth again to regain your balance. This move might take some practice to get sync’d as it did for me and I wondered at times if I could make this sound convincing. Now, I am able to negotiate this ‘inside’ string transition at my peak speeds.

Lastly, I do continue to work on picking these most difficult moves but it just gets messy and more inconsistent when I am playing at my peak speeds.

I don’t hear the PO as a PO because my sync is good and the PO is as loud as the picked note.

Good Luck and I hope you enjoy your experience here.




very cool phrases :slight_smile:

I don’t see any issues with what you are playing here, and indeed you are managing to escape those downstrokes via a curved motion. I see that you have MIM membership, have you seen the Albert Lee & Mike Stern interviews/lessons? Mike Stern for example uses a supinated arm orientation most of the time, and like you achieves the occasional downstroke escape via curved pickstrokes.


PS: this blog post by @Troy does a great job in explaining how Albert Lee can achieve both escapes while maintaining a supinated arm orientation - hope this helps :slight_smile:

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Thanks for posting! This isn’t a pickslanting technique. Although you may feel that your pick orientation is “DWPS”, the motion you are using is not the kind of picking motion that goes with that. Instead, you’re using a double escape motion here. We used to call this crosspicking but we now say “double escape” just to be super clear what we mean. In a double escape motion, the pick follows a semicircle motion path in the air. You can see this semicircular motion clearly in the slow motion part of your clip — thanks for including the slow.

Your wrist orientation, arm orientation, and double escape motion look almost exactly like what Olli Soikkeli does. We haven’t edited his interview yet, we’re way behind. But we put out some clips of him in the past and here’s one where you should be able to see the similarities right away:

In short, what @tommo says is correct — you can’t look at the “pickslant” to determine what your picking motion is doing. The pickslant is just the way the pick is oriented in space. It affects pick attack, i.e. how the pick hits the string, but it doesn’t do anything to create the picking motion. To perform a picking motion, you have to do that by setting your arm and wrist in a certain position, and moving the joints a certain way. The only way to evaluate that is to look at the motion path the pick is creating, and also which joints you can see moving.

I would also mention that obviously, during sweeping, you’re using a trapped motion. This is where the pick moves in a straight line across the strings. That’s fine. You have to do that to play multiple strings.

So in summary, your technique looks great. I’d keep doing it. Just try and incorporate a nice variety of different musical phrases so you get a chance to practice lots of different picking and fretting patterns. Anything that feels particularly smooth and good, do more of it. Don’t hammer away at stuff that isn’t working, go where things are working best. Then come back to the problematic ones and see if they feel any better.

Nice work!


Thank you for sharing! I was playing around with that as well.

Troy thank you for the detailed breakdown! I’ve never considered myself a crosspicker/double-escaper but now I definitely see it. With your words of encouragement I guess I will practice that on purpose now :smiley: very fascinating.

Very cool articles. Gonna check out the interviews, I would never have watched them otherwise. Thanks for pointing me in that direction!!

Right on. The key here is not try to “do” a semicircular picking motion. You’re already doing it, so don’t try to fix what isn’t broken or be exaggerated in any way. Instead, what you want to do is try play at these medium-fast bebop type speeds, like 120-150bpm sixteenths, in a way that feels really smooth. If you can go at these speeds and not feel any kind of tension as you do this, then you know the motion is correct. Or at least, you know it’s efficient and not stringhopping.

Operating by feel and sound is the main way you get better. You can film yourself once in a while just to make sure the motion looks like what you expect. This is also helpful when you have phrases where you can feel or hear that one more more notes are wrong, but you can’t tell what they are when you play at normal speeds. So there, the camera can be really helpful in showing you what the mistake is.

But again, smoothness at these “realistic” speeds is the main test. You can always slow down when you want to work on motion accuracy, but it’s important to always play a variety of speeds to make sure that the slower, more accuracy-focused practice, is actually producing any results at the faster “efficiency” oriented speeds. If you spend all day trying to do things super slow and accurate, you’re missing out on what it feels like to do these motions in the realistic way you will eventually need to.

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