What tempo did you have to revert to when flipping your slant and escape?

I ask because after a few forum discussions and some deep analysis, I had to humble myself into realizing that going from DSX to USX was like starting over.

Last night, I tested my tremolo using my most comfortable position and motion and I was doing 16th notes at 270 and it felt calm and relaxed. I think I could have pushed it faster but after 250bpm single notes, it just turns into mush and it’s hard to tell the difference unless you bump the tempo significantly. Even 10 is hard to notice.

When it comes to USX, my most relaxed and comfortable tremolo tempo is about 150, maybe 160 but I noticed that I start to slip back into mostly thumb-index. As significant of a drop that was, to do 2nps across 2+ with the same level of comfort, I’m lucky to hit 120 if I don’t use any sweeps.

So, I decided that later tonight, I’m going start at 100bpm 16th notes and work my through 15-20 exercises that focus specifically on USX. Most of them are in the “Cascade” section and a few are from Ben Eller. Basically, the ones that are actual exercises and not really lick-worthy. I’m going to a few bars of each one and film them. Once I’m able to bump the tempo 10bpm, I’ll film those as well. The only rule is that I have to be able to play all of the exercises at the next tempo, or I stay there. If it takes days, weeks or months… So be it lol

I came here to learn how to EJ. But to hell with him… I’m doing this because I’m fascinated by all of this. This stuff wasn’t around when I was coming up. I’ll be closely documenting this entire process and journey. Being able to play again after almost 2 decades already gave me a chunk of my youth back. This is giving me a little bit more!!

1 Like

I think this may be harmful than beneficial, you’re more liking to just ingrain bad technique with this approach. Start at least between 170-180bpm 16th notes on one string, get comfortable with it and slowly add phrases that span more strings over time.

I learnt both my working motions at these speeds because the speed demanded an efficient motion, nothing else would work. The chances you will find a super fast motion at 100bpm 16th notes have got to be close to nil, your body has no need to produce any type of efficiency at that speed!

Also, why do you want to develop USX when your DSX is insanely fast? As someone who started out USX it really felt like I was USX in a DSX world, after making the switch it feels like 90% of rock guitar vocabulary makes sense now! :sweat_smile:

You really think so? I don’t know either way, so I’m actually asking lol I want to put as little stress on my hands as possible so that’s my thought process with this, but I might be wrong. I’ll still work on the tremolo at a higher speeds so I’m needing to bump that up as well.

I played all of the shows and did all of the tours I’m ever going to and have no desire to do either again. But the thrill I get from being able to learn a new solo or what have you is better than I got from those anyway. I’m an avid gamer (or at least I was and will be again whenever Naughty Dog puts out a new game or The Division 3 comes out, hahaha) and I always loved trying to play the toughest parts of some games. This is a lot like that, but much more meaningful. I have no desire to play USX at the same tempo, but goddammit, I’m going to play Desert Rose and All About You at full tempo flawlessly at least once if it kills me lol

1 Like

I love that attitude!

And this one too lol!

Also just a general +1 on @Jacklr’s advice. He’s successfully learned several motions that weren’t his “originally learned” motion and in pretty short order.

Definitely been my experience, felt like I wasted so many years doing this sort of thing! Troy has a great couple of videos on this subject:

Fair enough, I understand this sort of mindset. If all I wanted to do was play music designed for USX then it would make sense to focus on that instead of reconfigure everything, though you definitely could :slight_smile:

I’m not doubting you in the slightest, but I’d love to see this. That’s an uncommon speed, especially relaxed.

As for the USX pursuit, honestly if you’re dead set on it, I’d try to get a very different motion from what you’ve been doing going on. Pure rotation, EVH style… something that’s far away from the hardwired DSX technique. Something that will definitely be USX, and then once you get that, you can try it from more of a wrist motion.

1 Like

Thanks! Wishing I could replicate that again, currently driving myself insane trying to learn DBX after thinking I had it on two occasions before realising I didn’t :crazy_face:

1 Like

Only two? lol I have thought I was almost on the right track, like 60 times.

Those are some awesome tempos! I am at 16ths at about 208 max with DSX, 16ths at about 152 with usx. DBX I am beginning to hate lol

1 Like

Thanks for these. I really had no idea, haha. I was about to ask if you’d elaborate, but these vids will do just fine!

Here’s the unedited version from 220-270. It should be noted (and I feel douchy saying it)… I thought I went from 220 to 240, skipping 230. Which would put the last part at 280, but I don’t recall actually doing 280, but it’s possible. I’m calling it 270 now because… is there really a difference…


Here’s the edited version, basically a montage:


1 Like

Guess I’m lucky then! Though I stupidly stuck with both of them for months at a time, probably ingraining inefficiency. My metronome is staying locked at 150bpm 16th notes until I get DBX down this time :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Mine are both around that sort of speed, 200 to 210bpm-ish! My wrist DSX may be a little faster now, I think it’s a bit more consistent because there are less moving parts than with forearm. DBX definitely seems a lot harder to learn though every time I see Trey Hensley shred bluegrass I give it another go!

Really impressive stuff! :smiley:

Your form kinda reminds of those young clips of Jason Becker shredding back in the day, similar sort of setup. You could do so much with that type of motion, crazy amounts of potential once you start applying it (if you haven’t already)!

1 Like

Haha, thanks. I was “that dude” in the 90s, lol Went to GIT in ‘99 to learn jazz with no background in theory whatsoever. Went back to my metal roots until my hands gave out. Now I just wanna doodle in my office lol

1 Like

Agreed. The stuff he’s shown us has been a mixed bag of licks requiring various escapes. If he’d take a detour and ONLY play licks that changed after downstrokes we’d most likely see some McLaughlin level ripping.

Not saying the EJ project should pause, just sayin…DSX is just as much a super power as USX.

1 Like

@DC11GTR have you ever invested any time into pentatonic licks (2nps) but starting on an upstroke? If you haven’t, getting the rhythm down is not as daunting as you think and you’d immediately then have blazing 2nps capabilities

There’s a few Dream Theater riffs from the early days that required it and a band I was hired to play in had one or 2. Not pentatonic but 2nps. I don’t know how I got into any of those, though. My picking hand was always fast enough to correct itself if I slipped. I think the “swipe” technique in the MAB series is sort of what I did, but I never gave it any thought until joining this site. I never gave anything in regards to picking any thought, honestly lol

1 Like

+1 for this too. That was how I got a USX motion. If I had it all to do over again…I would have not done that and just doubled down on DSX, adapting EJ’S phrases to DSX (and maybe some mixed escape). I love EJ’S recorded solos and love the feeling of playing them note for note but…why? They’re just notes. Nailing the feeling of the phrase and the target notes that make the line what it is are still possible with DSX.

Why are we all so stubborn lol!

Are there communities of other instruments where people get caught up in minutia like we do? Pianists that think they are ‘better’ if they can play arpeggios with bigger skips with more difficult thumb crossings? Violinists who can play stuff with ALL down-bows? Flute players that can take a longer time before they have “breath in again”? Tuba players who can produce ANY tone that doesn’t sound like an elephant farting??? What else is out there?

1 Like

I’m guessing that a lot of singles instrument communities have similar debates. But only as it relates to the playing. It’s kind of the exact opposite of a lot of gaming communities. The best PS players I’ve ever seen know how good they are but the amount of times I’ve heard “why do I suck?” And “why am I so bad” is said constantly. I know it’s mostly a joke but that mindset and drive is part of why they’re the best PS players I know lol

Starting-with-speed did not work for me, I tried it for quite a while and my hand would just revert to what it’s been doing for 30 years (DSX). What has been working for me for learning USX is starting slow and focusing on avoiding string hopping while searching for a relaxed motion that is more or less straight-in-straight-out. With DSX I can hold longer passages at 220, with USX I’m up to around 190 at this point but if I try to go faster it either gets mega swipey or my hand automatically reverts to DSX. I’ve been at it for 10 months, around 5 days a week anywhere from 15 min to a couple hours of playing a day, so, it’s not coming easily but it is improving steadily.

I realize starting-with-speed is what’s prescribed on CTC but this old dog just wasn’t able to learn a new trick that way.

It’s worth mentioning that since I’m not new to guitar and already had a fast & fluid DSX, I can use the effortless feeling of my DSX motion as a reference for how effortless USX should feel.

FWIW, the USX motion I’ve developed is wrist/forearm. I haven’t been able to go fast with pure wrist USX even though my DSX is almost pure wrist.

This is the main reason I was thinking of going the route I mentioned in the OP. But I’m going to try a few before I “officially” begin. The main thing that makes me reconsider the slower start is the massive drop in speed. There are a handful of “positions” I’ve tried with USX that feel perfectly fine and usable, so it’s quite possible that my fastest USX motion is something different than I thought.

For me, starting with speed only helped for my first primary motion that i figured out (which was dsx), but for learning usx it didn’t help in the way i wanted. I also had huge problems with mixed escape lines aswell esp when needing to do an upstroke escape ascending. Then randomly i figuered out some sort of elbow motion which did usx but it didn’t feel like i wanted, it felt tense along with muting problems and did not help at all during mixed escape lines (maybe because the setup was very different from my primary setup). My goal was always being able to do both dsx, usx and mixed escape lines with the wrist.

So around after 5 years of struggeling i finally ‘‘figured it out’’. This worked for me, i don’t know if it will work for you or anyone else. I experimented with how my primary setup was instead of trying to figure out a completely new one. So this is basically it, and it might sound a bit weird:

1: I put my forearm under a desk, positioned in a way that the ‘‘upper muscle close to the elbow’’ touched the desk, wrist touching the desk & base knuckles touching the desk simuntaneously. My middle knuckles also touch the desk but i don’t think that’s important to do the motions. Now the arm should look very flat or straight.

  1. Keep this position while bringing your arm down to the guitar and practice playing different stuff while maintaining the position, sort of lock it in, first i made sure to be able to pick my usual dsx lines in this position, and it did feel kind of weird at first but yet ‘‘good’’. Using only wrist here, not involving any elbow motion. Avoiding flexion and extension of the wrist when changing strings during mixed lines for me was the hardest, but probably one of the reasons this helped me. Pickslanting wise, i had to pickslant ‘‘even more’’ then usual to make the dsx escapes. But on the other hand when doing usx lines and mixed lines, all i had to do was to bring my hand down (pinky heel moving towards the string).

So why did this work for me? I can only guess, but i believe that my prior setup was ‘‘too flat’’ in the sense that i couldn’t pick side to side (9-3) to do dsx. So i did some diagonal 8-2 motion to escape, this worked for dsx lines, but i couldn’t figure out how to escape during any upstroke string change even though i practiced like a maniac. With the change in my setup i believe i developed a 9-3 motion which allowed me to escape on upstroke changes by altering the pickslant/position.

Later on i noticed that i didn’t need to hold the position exactly like i described, i could actually bring my hand/knuckles up a little bit more, and for some reason it felt like when i did this I didn’t need to change the pickslant/position as aggresively. I don’t know if i actually need to pickslant less when doing this, but it feels like it at least.

Anyways, this felt really really akward when first trying this thing and it took some week/weeks to get adjusted to, but for me the accuracy sky rocketed and mixed escapes and usx suddenly didn’t feel like an impossible task.

Sorry if i described it poorly, if you have any questions feel free to ask.