Why Doesn't 2 Way Pickslanting Make Techniques Specifically Made For Cross Picking Unnecessary?


Yes, pretty much. But again, to be pedantic, because it seems that’s inevitable (!), I wouldn’t think of “two way pickslanting” as a term describing a motion. The pickstroke is the term that describes the pick’s motion relative to the strings - either the angular kind, aka single-escaped, or the curved kind, aka the fully escaped pickstroke. And beneath that you have the actual body movement itself that creates that pickstroke, be it forearm, or wrist, or whatever. Those two lower-level layers are more concerned specifically with motion.

What you’re describing from that point onward though, yes, totally. In a two-way pickslanting type of phrase, you’ll start out making the single-escaped pickstrokes, then reach a point where you’re going to need to throw in a curved pickstroke. You might then make single-escaped pickstrokes again for a while, and then throw in another curved pickstroke. This would be the case if you were to play, for example, a compound type phrase where the ascending part uses one pickslant and the descending part uses another. There would be one fully-escaped pickstroke at the switchover point. The entire compound phrase is something I would describe as a “two way pickslanting” phrase. Either half of it, I would describe as one-way pickslanting.

In the classic “primary pickslant” scenario which we see in scale playing, you start out with single-escaped pickstrokes, and then throw in two curved pickstrokes back to back during certain string changes. Same general formula as the hypothetical “ascending/descending” phrase we just outlined, in the sense that the line still contains a mix of pickstroke types. But in this case you’re clustering the fully escaped strokes together in units of two. And since there are lots of people who appear to play this way, giving this particular “style” of playing a name seems to have some usefulness in describing what we’re seeing.

That’s the concept - naming things so we can refer to them and know what we’re talking about. Hopefully we’re doing more good than harm here!


No that’s totally great!
Indded my imagination of crosspicking came out with your short tutorial video, where you traced the strokes and all of a sudden had a cross.
Probably that’s the best definition, and (in general) it’s not what you get when TWPS.

If I complicated things when trying to describe the different feelings (for me) between them sorry for that.
Finding a precise definition is probably the best aim to have.


Thanks Troy - that’s going to take some digesting, likely with a guitar in hand, to fully make sure I follow you, but I think that makes sense.

Last dumb question of the day from me - purely theoretically, is a single-escape pickstroke likely to allow faster picking than a full-escape pickstroke, along a single string? I honestly have a hard time doing a non-curving, more linear pickstroke since I’ve been playing with at least some curve to my pickstroke (I suspect) most of my entire “career” as a guitarist, but I could see it going both ways - either a single-escape stroke is a more direct motion involving less coordination with other movements, giving it a speed advantage, or on the other hand a pickstroke is a pickstroke and once you have the movements down to muscle memory, if it’s a smooth and flowing movement either should be as fast as the other. The only “evidence” I could think of would be guys like Martin Miller who seem to predominately use a “crosspicking” motion who also switch to more of a traditional “pickslant” linear movement for faster stuff.

Reason I’m asking, I guess, is that if a curved “crosspick” mechanic feels pretty natural to me and doesn’t coome with a speed disadvantage, the fact a linear movement feels unnatural to me isn’t really worth worrying abbout, and I should continue to focus on developing the curved stroke and just use it for everything. But, if a more linear single-escape movement does come with a slight speed advantage, then while I should absolutely continue working on improving my full-escape mechanic, it also makes sense to spend some time woodshedding on a single-escape mechanic as another tool for situations where it’s a little more optimized.

Thanks either way! \m/


Take it with a grain a salt from a newbie here who is not really advanced in the concepts used on this site. So don’t hesitate to correct me ( I’m sure you will …)

Anyway … the way I see it, there’s a difference between crosspicking and 2way pickslanting in that in a ‘pure’ CP scenario, the pick would hit the string with no angle, and then will get an angle with the curve trajectory in between strings. With 2WPS (and again : the way I understand it) the pick would hit the string at an angle and change direction in the curve with the neutral pick position (no angle) in-between strings. So it would be a similar pick movement/trajectory, but with a different momentum wrt to string being hit. I’m referring to ‘pure’ CP/PS scenario, as in reality players tend to mix things.


There’s theory, and there’s what we observe. In theory, all picking movements are curved, right? Your elbow makes a curve. Your forearm makes a curve. Your wrist makes a curve. You hold a pick, you move that pick, it traces an arc. They just operate in different planes - either parallel to the strings or perpendicular to them. Specifically, wrist and elbow operate parallel, but forearm is perpendicular - more or less.

There’s no reason to assume that any of these movements are necessarily faster than the others just because of the plane they operate in. Andy Wood’s wrist technique is fast, EVH’s tremolo technique is fast. Probably same speed there, give or take. We do have some reason to suspect that elbow might be faster than the others, aka “hyper picking”. But that’s for musculoskeletal reasons, not because of the orientation of the curve per se, or even that it has a curve. Because it’s still a curved movement.

So step back a minute and just realize that a “curved picking motion” may not be as different as you think when you start asking about how these movements are generated. Maybe people just think there are differences because they always use a certain movement to play certain lines. Meaning, maybe it’s the line that’s faster, not the movement. i.e. A single string lick certainly has fewer requirements mechanically than trying to play a “one note per string” arpeggio that moves across several inches of airspace.

Nobody knows! Can you play the line you like? Are they physically smooth? Do they sound good? If so, keep doing it. I mean, this is pretty fast. Fast enough for a wide variety of lines at a wide variety of tempos. Fast enough for EVH tremolo? Maybe, I don’t know, I haven’t worked on it!


No. The pick has an angled trajectory going into the string because otherwise it is not “fully escaped” on each side of the string. And crosspicking, by definition, is a connected sequence of fully escaped pickstrokes. The visual appearance of the pick itself, in terms of “does it look slanted”, has no bearing on this, or pickslanting itself for that matter. The angle of the motion path is what matters in all these scenarios.

At the level of the actual body movement, there are lots of ways to make a fully escaped pickstroke. Forearm rotational techniques like the one I linked above are essentially the same type of movement used in the most common kind of “two way pickslanting”, and will look pretty similar mechanically.

If you’re thinking of the wrist-only type of fully-escaped pickstrokes like in the little forward roll tutorial, that’s based on a supinated arm position, same setup that Mike Stern uses for his dwps technique. The “above the string” phase of the movement in that video looks similar to Mike’s technique, approaching the strings on an angle. The difference is that the pick also exits the strings on an angle, i.e. to create the full escape.

Again, movements, pickstrokes, and styles.


While the analyst in me hates uncertainty, @Troy, that DOES make sense. :rofl: Thanks for your detailed responses!


So @Troy, are you saying

  1. There are 3 picking trajectories
    a. Upward pick slant
    b. Downward pick slant
    c. curved pendulum

  2. You can use these trajectories in isolation or in combination
    a. Pure upward pick slanting
    b. Pure downward pick slanting
    c. Pure curved pendulum = cross picking
    d. Use all 3 = 2 Way pick slanting


That’s right! I suppose you could also have “fully trapped” pickstrokes as a (edit) third category of pickstroke type, along side fully escaped and single escaped. But it’s not one we concern ourselves with too much in alternate picking because most players don’t seem to use it. But indeed it’s there, as in Jorge Strunz’s technique.