What's my picking motion?

Hi all,

I’m pretty new to this world and I must say I don’t really know where my picking motion fits and what I should do to improve.

Ultimately, I want to be able to get better (read: more nimble) and avoid poor habits before it’s too late. (Note: it goes without saying that avoiding injury comes first).

Here are a few videos at different speeds for you to give me an idea of where I am and what I should work on.

  1. A fast chop with tremolo and hybrid picking (sloppy play)
  1. The “intimidation lick” (learning for finger dexterity) played at two different speeds (very sloppy):

Bonus: pentatonic lick a user uploaded a couple of days ago

Thanks in advance for your help. I apologise for the low-quality videos but it should be okay to get a general idea of my picking motion.

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I’ll take a better look soon, but my first quick impression is that you have a setup similar to Gary Moore - do you think the same? :slight_smile:

To be frank, I’m very new to paying so much attention to my right hand!

Looking at that I reckon it all comes down to trying to mute unwanted string noise. My set-up may possibly come from that more than any conscious effort.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Ok, second impression is similar to the first: I suspect your main picking motion is DSX (downstroke escape). This would allow you to change strings after downstrokes with great ease - and I believe it was Gary Moore’s main picking motion as well.

You can test this easily by playing something like this (3 notes on lowest string, 6 notes on each subsequent string):

-------------------- etc.

Do the string changes feel effortless? Do you feel like you can speed up this lick without changing any motions in your right hand?

More generally, here is a good read for all things related to motion :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot for your insight tommo.

After having a good read through the picking motion material and trying that specific line I feel you might be onto something. That’s probably my main setup.

In saying that, the intimidation lick, though sloppy and in much need of work, is a good example because string changes happen mostly after upstrokes and I don’t feel trapped at all. If DSX is my main setup, I should struggle more with this kind of lick.

I’ll pay more attention to my picking hand in the future. In any case, my escape motion seems to be quite shallow, that’s why I’m not aware of it and need checking closely.


Assuming that indeed you are a primary DSX player, there could be two ways to get around this kind of lick:

  1. you learned a “secondary motion” that is only activated during upstroke string changes:
  1. you “swipe” through a muted string while maintaining DSX:
  1. in fact there is a third option :slight_smile: Your motion may be DBX to start with!

The only way to know for sure is to film your picking hand in slow motion with a magnet-like perspective (see below) - but more importantly our primary rule is “if it sounds/feels good, it’s good!” I’d only worry about what does not work :wink:

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You’re an absolute rock star Tommo.

Plenty of reading material to go through before I can figure out more about my own technique!

I’ll keep working on this and will probably include a better video in the future (better angle+slow motion).


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