I’m new to Cracking the Code and I’m starting with the Pick Slanting primer. I’ve been playing for 36 years but I"m now focused on taking a technique leap. I have bad habits to break so I am aware that things are going to feel weird and uncomfortable. I have been approaching this by just going through each video and working on whatever comes first. In this case it’s the Yngwie Module. I play improvisational jam type of music and I have a background in jazz so I’ve not been focused on patterns and I do not play metal or Yngwie type stuff at all. I am trying to create melodies and lines in a variety of styles from jazz to blues to country, bluegrass etc. I find that I am much faster with UWPS than I am with DWPS but I’m not used to thinking about things in the number of notes per string in order to keep the same slant throughout at all but I definitely see the benefits of doing so. My mind is starting to shift in that direction and I"ve had noticeable improvement in speed and cleanliness already. My question is whether I should continue to follow the approach I have been…Going from module to module in order it’s presented…or if I should perhaps focus on UWPS since I"m already faster and it feels more natural or if perhaps I should look at Crosspicking and start there since it may be more applicable to the type of music I play. THoughts?
2-Way Pick Slanting / 2WPS [Antigravity] is really applicable in all style genres and many common technical approaches like Petrucci, Michael Romeo, Vinnie Moore, Vai. This is most efficient in string skipping (in scale + arpeggio playing), cross-picking, and very articulated speed scales. Many players in Rock, Metal, Jazz, and Country use this technique.
DPS Economy. Yngwie has a very unique approach to only DPS (Down Pick Slant) [Volcano], so does Eric Johnson [Cascade]. The Django / Gypsy approach is DPS economy based as well. IMO this is a very fluid feeling technique, it creates a control in speed and dynamic legato that is very satisfying.
2-Way Economy is for the super smooth speed Legato of Gambale or Marshall Harrison. No seminar for this style yet, but check the interviews. I like this approach and find it very natural, but others might think this is the most difficult - probably because the virtuosity of these players makes it seem impossible.
Hybrid is either for country or jazz players, or cutting edge rock and metal players. Andy Wood, and Johnny Hiland (@Troy interview please!) are beast in Hybrid. Marshall Harrison also is the master of Swybryd (Sweep Hybrid) or 2-Way Economy Picking + Hybrid. The country style uses more popping and plucking (chicken pickin’), where the Marshall approach is mostly legato. This is the most unique and challenging style IMO.
I feel it’s best to practice all these techniques, so you have everything you need in your bag of tricks. You don’t even have to start in the “correct order” of CTC seminars.
No one can tell you what works best for you. Follow your fingers.
I think one of the most common takeaways I’ve seen around here is that if you’re doing something that works, then keep doing that.
I don’t play neoclassical metal either, but for me I think the most interesting thing about the Yngwie approach is how he uses a hybrid approach to solve picking problems:
- he has a lot of “signature” lines that can be played freely around the neck with a single fixed pickslant because they’re patterns that only change strings after upstrokes.
- for situations where he has to change strings after a downstroke, and when he’s going from a thicker to a thinner string, he sweeps.
- for situations where he has to change strings after a downstroke, and when he’s going from a thinner to a thicker string, he uses a pulloff instead of a picked note.
With those three optimizations, he can basically play anything. It doesn’t HAVE to be Yngwie licks, it can be anything - I tend to use an upward slant with escaped downstrokes too, but when I was trying to work through the yngwie stuff, I ended up modifying a lot of the lines to major diatonic rather than harmonic minor, just because it felt more like “me”.
But, you can do the same thing as a guy with an upward slant who escapes on downstrokes rather than upstrokes:
- Built up a repertoire of licks that you can move around easily that rely on escaped downstrokes for all string changes.
- Learn to sweep when going from an upstroke to a thicker string
- use ghost pulloffs to go from a upstroke to a thinner string.
It’s just Yngwie in reverse. The important point, I think, isn’t the particular phrases or even the particular solutions, just that they all fit together into a “complete” package.
Hi — thanks for signing up!
Don’t pursue a “slant”. Start with picking motions, because the motions “are” the slant. Just as an example, if you’re a wrist player, the motion you use for “dwps” is actually very often a different motion than the motion you use for “uwps”. So you’re not trying to learn to slant the pick one way or another - that by itself won’t actually do anything. You’re learning to make the wrist move in a particular direction. Other picking motions like forearm and elbow work the same way.
The goal is to make sure you have at least one motion you can use that allows you to pick fluidly on a single string. We cover those basic motions here:
The idea is to demo all of them by trying to do them fast. Choose whichever one works best right now. That will determine what types of lines you then decide to play, not the other way around.
Once you’ve got that happening, then you want some hand synchronization, so you’ve learned to lock up what the right hand in and left are doing, even in one spot, one string, without moving anywhere. In the Primer we talk about the Yngwie six-note pattern, but as a jazz player, one-finger-per-fret chromatic is fine as well. The goal is to get the hands locked up.
Then move on to more musical pursuits. Again, the first step is to make sure that you have at least one picking motion that’s working smoothly and rapidly, then add hand synchronization, and go from there.
I do hybrid picking oftem and improvement in that area is definitely on the list. straight DWPS just doesn’t feel as fluid as say 2 way or UWPS. I still have issues with the UWPS in that I keep finding my thumb side pressing down so hard on the lower strings that they hit the pickups and create noise. I’ll work on that.
Thanks Troy. I’ll rewatch the Picking Motion and go through them again but it sounds like I should probably pursue the UWPS since it feels the motion is faster and cleaner right now. Thanks everyone for the detailed and well thought out advice. Very helpful.
@Troy that’s interesting. So, my goal has always been to be able to play those beautiful EJ lines. When I found CTC, as a result, I immediately latched on to “i need to be dwps”. And actually I find the technique sort of natural for me. But I can’t say I’ve really tried all the picking motions you describe in the primer, other than to say I tried them. Separately, I will point out that you mention something almost in passing at the end of the picking primer that totally changed my picking for the better – extending the thumb way beyond the pick. When I tried it I was like holy crap! That in itself has been worth the subscription.
Have you watched the pick grip section of the Pickslanting Primer? We have an entire chapter on thumb overlap. There is, so far as I can tell, no specific reason why more overlap is better than less. If there is, it probably has to do with other aspects of your form and isn’t simply about overlap, per se. That’s what I would guess. As you can see in that chapter, David Grier actually uses negative overlap, and he plays pretty good!
Yes, it’s that chapter I was referring to! Sorry, I bing-watched that day and so I only remembered it as being a brief mention. When I tried the pronounced overlap, my picking just felt more comfortable. It might just be a release of tension in the hand muscles for me.