What was Troy's practicing routine?

Hey there, this is bcndude, just joined the community. Looking forward to progress.

Definitely what has always held back my shredding abilities is my picking hand. I’m a lefty playing right and until I bumped into Tony’s CTC DWPS episodes I thought I would never achieve Malmsteen speed, pretty convinced I can come at least close now. I’m a solid rhythm guitar player who can play any Slayer/ Thrash rhythmic part under the sun with no problem whatsoever but very mediocre at shredding. I was resigned that I would never shred thinking it was due to that as I am using my right hand to pick I was limited as I’m playing “opposite”, my right hand is my “weak hand” (as I mentioned, I’m a lefty) but no, it has to do with never have paid attention to my picking technique and had no idea about DWPS. Have always played with thick picks 100% perpendicular to the strings, which works perfect on the 6th for heavy ultra-fast rhythm, but terrible for soloing.

Ok, have tried a few chunking dwps runs and already I have noticed the ease and efficiency of the technique, now, my only doubt is that Tony does a great job explaining the technique per ser but does little to explain his practicing modes, he actually addresses that in a FB live thing he did where he says " I haven’t talked much about practicing"

When he talks about his progression, he says “I started with E minor 6 notes on the first string up the neck” I would love if he would dive deeper and explain how he practiced this, because obviously, it worked perfectly, so my question (finally) is what would be an efficient and reliable way to practice the multiple exercises he shows but does not explain how to practice. I’m wondering how he did it, how much time did he spend, all this information is vital for me. of course, everyone will say start at your own pace, find your own tempo, etc, but I’m more interested in his practicing routine when starting with DWPS so I can apply it to my own routine.
Any idea?

Thank you!

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You mean Troy! :grin:

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Ay it’s Tony Gradiano here ay whataya mean about dis uh pickslanting shit i aint neva seen that before jeez it’s like a fuckin uh black magic or some shit

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I know this will be a disappointing answer, and I may be incorrect, but I believe Troy has talked a lot about random experimentation and looking for movements that click, rather than X number of repetitions starting at Y tempo increasing Z% every 9th loop.

I believe there’s also an interview somewhere with an academic who has done more formal research on the subject of practicing.

This was pretty important, from Andy Wood:

Not exactly an answer to your question, I know.

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Can’t speak for Troy but I can tell you what has been helpful to me to improve my technique in the last 4-5 years (after discovering CTC).

  1. Work directly on songs you like, not exercises. Also they should be songs that are at or slightly above your current level, not something currently impossible. Your “exercises” will be the parts of the song that you can’t play well. For reference, these were the two songs that I used to develop the core of my current technique (tabs included):
  1. When working with the difficult parts of the song, I no longer spend hours with the metronome (though I tried to in the past). I start by fully memorising the fretting and picking hands at low/medium speed, and then I try immediately to go fast, no metronome. This video gives you an idea of the process condensed in 10 seconds :slight_smile:
  1. After step 2, the next step is to learn to play the parts in time and with good phrasing. The only reliable method to do this, for me, is to try to record the part (to a drum machine, backing track, or with your band if you are lucky!), listen back, and try again until it sounds good. You’ll discover sooo many problems and things to fix, even after you have successfully completed step2. I am in fact still struggling with this step with every new thing I learn. There’s a big difference between playing the part correctly, and playing the part in a way that sounds good.
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Thanks a lot, that was definitely good advice!

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Off topic, but I like being able to see @tommo doing vibrato in slo-mo. Mine’s a work in progress, and I sort of guessed that there should be some circular motion to it. Looks to me from this vid that there in fact is.

Back on topic:)… If you’re looking for more nuts-and-bolts about practice routine, there are a lot of blogs on Noa Kageyama’s bulletproofmusician site that are hugely helpful. (Not surprisingly, Noa has given shout-outs to CTC.) You may be especially interested in his recent post on Jason Sulliman (which I put up somewhere here on CTC) - that one’s like a must-see for shredders!

I think the question in the OP is super important. So many committed amateurs (for sure me) struggle to find the way forward in terms of effective practice, and so many who ultimately achieved pro chops (Troy seems to say so about himself in a different post) struggled likewise.

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Just wondering… So you’re playing that lick really fast on the second pass, I notice the dwps and I think you’re playing all even note number sequences… ala Malsmsteen technique. Am I correct?

Hi @Bcndude, are you talking about the video in “step 2”? That’s actually entirely based on odd numbers of notes per string, and I’m pretty sure my primary motion is downstroke escape (DSX) - the polar opposite of Yngwie :slight_smile:

When I do the Yngwie impression, with even notes and upstroke escape, it looks more like this:

Or for a closer view I found this video from a couple years ago:

More generally, I’d recommend to have a look at these free pages which might helps you sift through the huge number of picking technique options:

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I’m a fellow Southpaw that holds like a righty. My first guitar lesson my teacher goes, “you are holding it backwards.” So I spun it around. Like 2 years later he sees me writing and goes “that’s interesting that your left handed but hold the guitar like a righty”. I was like “YOU told me hold it this way!”

I, too, have always wondered would I be an excellent shredder if I played lefty.

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That’s exactly what I was lookling for, thanks !
I’ve experimented with it on some mid-tempo ~150bpm 16th stuff, in the past weeks.

The bigger difficulty, though, is to find songs for those “in-between” tempos.

E.G. “Curse of the Castle Dragon” (Paul Gilbert) has plenty of classic scale runs in the main theme, with the extra advantage of having 8th-notes lead playing/arpeggios all around, so you’re not always burning on every single chunk of the whole part.
But it can be quite hard to do ~170 bpm 16ths directly on this particular song.

Many player with a great single-escape technique will often write those parts at high speed, because they can play them duress-less with that efficient motion they got.

As a result, I find it hard to pin-point songs at medium speed that would allow intermediate-level players to get there gradually.

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What about this one? 150bpm exactly :wink:

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