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.


I would look at it the other way around: Crosspicking is amazingly general, and it requires no planning whatsoever, an incredible virtue. However, it does have one weakness, in that it is slower (for most people, I assume) than 2WPS.

So, I will crosspick while learning a new piece of music, etc., and only when it is obvious that I will need to play something faster than my ability with crosspicking, I’ll 2WPS.


Dunno if it’s of any interest, but via the magnet I noticed that I use fully trapped pickstrokes a lot. I used to think that I was a primary uwps player, but in reality I do a lot of the neutral/fully trapped trajectory with occasional escapes, and with a slight preference for downstroke escapes.


If it exists, it’s of interest! So the practical question is does this matter? Does it result in better ability to do some things, worse ability to do some things, or both? And what do you teach?


How about this as a possibility…

Every motion you make has an energy cost. Wrist motions (flexion, extension, deviation, rotation), elbow motion, shoulder motions, etc. The cost of each one would be different depending on how far you move or how fast you have to go.

If you look at it this way, having to rotate between DWPS and UWPS with 2WPS might cost more energy than using a Crosspicking escape mechanic. If you have to constantly rotate, say in the case of a one-note-per-string picking pattern, the cost of having to rotate after every pickstroke becomes too high. In that situation, using Crosspicking actually becomes more efficient.

I also see a parallel with continuous motions. One example would be with strumming patterns; most guitarists strum by constantly moving up and down, but only striking the strings when needed in time. This appears to be a big waste of energy, but having to stop and start the movements in most cases is actually less efficient than just keeping the moving going all the time.

Does any of this make sense or am I just rambling?


P.S. I also agree with the experience of 2WPS having a greater potential for high-speed playing, but only if you are playing multiple notes on each string OR if you are using Sweeping Motions between strings instead of Alternate Picking. For the 1NPS stuff (arpeggios), especially Alternate Picking, I find Crosspicking, for me, comes out on top.


TWPS and crosspicking both require the same kind of double escape strokes. These aren’t really different movements and there is overlap between them.

Double escape picking on one string (crosspicking) is like TWPS that changes slant after every note.


Wait a minute! The whole way that I switch between UWPS and DWPS is via a single “fully trapped” pick stroke. What is the usual way that people do this, fully escaped?!


I do 2WPS transitions with a single double-trapped stroke, and if I am in the minority, I should learn what is more popular, just to be sure that I try it…


That’s an important part of Frank Gambale style sweep and economy picking. Almost included that in my previous post but i didn’t know how to describe it.

Even then you still have to escape the plane of the strings at some point.


I agree.

I’d add that my personal sensation of it is that the pickslant never really happens. I get the concept of TWPS as it is discussed on this forum but for me it’s not practical from a practice perspective. In other words I can’t figure out how to work specifically on TWPS, it’s just something that happens … and in my case I feel that there’s no slant at all!

The way I see it (of feel it) is that crosspicking is like picking in-between strings, whereas when the number of notes picked on a single string increases it’s the same motion, but on the string itself. In a nutshell there’s just one motion which is moving the pick up-down (or down-up), and you have a situation where strings are on both far parts of the path and the other where the strings sits in the middle of the path. So there’s no pick slanting as such, with regards to the string (or no conscious effort to do a pickslant) but more of a pick oscillation.

Well …It’s not completetly that but that’s the best way I can think of it.


Keep in mind that we haven’t been too clear on what we meant by the term “TWPS” and there are lots of possible interpretations.

In the Gambale / Oz Noy style of playing, you have whole phrases which function exclusively with one pickslant for half the phrase, then transition for the second half of the phrase with the opposite pickslant. Whether you consider this one phrase or two phrases stuck together is sort of semantic because ultimately what you have are two distinct orientations and string switching approaches containing both alternate and sweep in each orientation that someone needs to learn to play their vocabulary.

Contrast this with the “down, up, rotate” approach we teach for scale playing where it’s more pure alternate with intra-string motion tweaks, which is probably more what you’re discussing here.

And finally, realize that there are Gambale and Noy phrases which approach this too, where the phrases are shorter and the shift in orientations happens quickly as it does in the scale model.

All just pieces of a bigger picture.

Either way we have to teach all of this since these are all common approaches. So we need a simple way of describing the motions and demonstrating them such that someone with no specific interest in “Mechanics” can play them.


Actually no. To me your previous example of a phrase that sort of switch sides is more legible. That’s why I said that (to me) TWPS as a ‘pickslant’ concept is not very practical, because it all depends on the playing situation. It’s more like you (your pick) lean towards a string when you need to, as opposed to a more structured strategy like DWPS Gipsy jazz, or sweeping multiple strings, or DDU patterns …

Again, it’s more my own feeling about this. Merely sharing impressions. Do not take it at face value.