Why no focus on the left hand?



I think we should avoid discouraging people who are trying to learn.

I’m just going to leave this here for anyone who needs it right now.



Paul Gilbert’s idea of “a very long time” certainly differs from mine. The first Racer X album was released when he was 19 years old.


mm I’ll just say that in my opinion sweeping is a good tool however, I personally don’t rely on it, unless that I use it for texture. The thing is that when you sweep the quality of the sound is too legato and sometimes it affects the sound you are going for, and sure a lot of people use it but it’s a little hard to place accents on fast runs ( I’m not saying it is impossible, but if your sweep consists of going down/up through the 6 strings it doesn’t come to naturally, unless you place a hammer-on or change directions, I think) so I can see a lot of more possibilities (’‘sound and texture’’) on 2WPS and crosspicking as far as 1nps licks go, and I think that’s the fascination for some of us that found out about crosspicking (before I got into ctc I never looked at my right hand, whatever came out, came, so it is really interesting to see how country guys, and metal guys approach certain things)

I wonder what the strong conservative classical musicians think of this (and i mean those who don’t really appreciate other genres) hahah I do agree that there has to be some kind of experimentation though, but if the forum is here, I don’t see that asking questions about the simplest thing is bad, especially when troy has made it clear that you do have to make the right movements otherwise it becomes really hard to do certain licks


I think crosspicking is super useful for metal, anything to do with arpeggios but with a slower/more rhythmical feel than sweeping, any kind of fast riffing across multiple strings.


I don’t want to discourage anyone. What I’d like to do is to inspire people to think for themselves. If someone’s been trying to figure something out for a year or two and can’t figure it out, then sure, ask some questions about it to various people and don’t just take one guy’s word for it; take several opinions, weigh them in your own mind and go with what makes the most sense to you. If somebody doesn’t think for himself and just asks how to do every little thing, even if he one day reaches his goal of playing what he wants to, the satisfaction derived is certainly going to be less than had he done more of it on his own, using his own mental effort in applying logic to find the best way to do something and of course having expended the physical effort of having put in all the practice time during which he tried the various ideas he came up with on his own.

That approach develops your mind as well as your physical abilities. It enhances your ability to logically come up with solutions to problems. One day you may find yourself in a quandary with nobody whom you can ask for a quick solution and then you’ll greatly appreciate having developed the ability to solve problems on your own.


You wonder what they think of my statement: Not everyone has the talent to become a musician? I can’t imagine they disagree. Do you think they’d reply: “Anybody can become a good classical musician as long as he’s willing to put forth the necessary effort”? That statement doesn’t hold true in other arts such as painting, it doesn’t hold true in sports, and it doesn’t hold true in intellectual endeavors such as earning a degree in electrical engineering or in physics.

People vary in their natural ability (talent) to learn at a rate which is sufficient to keep up with the workload they are given by their professors in college, to keep up with the other students in art school, or to keep up with the amount of improvement the other guys on their sports team are showing.

If, for example, one aspires to be a baseball player, and no matter how much work he puts into attempting to improve he continues season by season, to fall further and further behind his teammates in ability, eventually one year he’s not going to make the team. It would be doing a disservice to that kid for his father to tell him, “You can achieve anything you want. If you really want to be a pro or at least a semi-pro ballplayer when you grow up, then just work harder than you’re working. You’re already practicing twice as much as anybody else on the team and they just cut you from them. So don’t give up; practice three times more than they do! I’ll send you to a baseball camp where you’ll do nothing but play baseball al summer long. Whatever to takes to kale the team next year, I’ll help you do it.”

That kid is eventually going to find out that there will be other kids at baseball camp who not only practice just as much as he does, but they have more natural ability and that leads to their practice time yielding far more progress than his own practice time yields. You could apply a similar scenario to a kid who is struggling in high school honors English or honors Chemistry or Physics with the hopes of getting into an Ivy League University.

The end result is that no matter how much more time the kid spends practicing baseball than most of his teammates do, and no matter how much more time the kid with the dream of making it into an Ivy League school spends studies every night than his classmates do, eventually they’re both going to reach a point where no amount of extra work is going to make up for his lack of talent for his chosen field of endeavor. It’s going to be very demoralizing to the kid when he ultimately comes to the realization that he simply doesn’t have what it takes to achieve his goal.

It would have been far better if his father had told him early on “If you want to keep playing baseball with your friends just for the fun of it, great, but don’t even think about trying to make a career out of it. If you were the best baseball player you knew, the best for your age in our county or at least our town, I’d tell you that you might have a shot at playing professional baseball one day. It’s just such a competitive field, there are just so many kids who want to do that when they grow up that unless you were the best player you knew, you just don’t have a shot at making it. Even if you were the best player you knew that might not be enough, That’s how competitive a field it is.” The conversation the father of the kid who is studying as hard as he can and barely getting C’s in his high school honor courses curriculum yet still hoping to make it into Harvard or Stanford, would be a conversation that would hopefully go about the same way…

It may sound cruel to the kid at the time to hear the truth from his father but trust me, in the long run, that talk the father should have with his son will avoid heartbreak of a far greater magnitude than whatever disappointment the kid may be feeling now. Not only does the father having an honest talk with his son avoid a tremendous amount of heartbreak later on, it also gives the son time to find something he both likes and has talent for while he’s still young enough to put in the years of practice or studying depending upon what his new field of endeavor is so that he can do it while he’s still young enough to do it.


This discussion went wrong. Lets keep it constructive and on topic.


You’re free to think I’m wrong; that’s your opinion. I’m also entitled to my opinion and I believe I’m right.

As for keeping it on topic, I responded to a post that was replying to an earlier post of mine. Perhaps because I used comparisons you think I went off topic, but I was merely using them as analogies to more thoroughly get across my point.

As for keeping it constructive, you need look no further than my post in reply to @induction where I wrote: “That approach develops your mind as well as your physical abilities. It enhances your ability to logically come up with solutions to problems. One day you may find yourself in a quandary with nobody whom you can ask for a quick solution and then you’ll greatly appreciate having developed the ability to solve problems on your own.”

You wrote: “This discussion went wrong. Lets keep it constructive and on topic.” Did somebody appoint you as moderator or administrator of this forum?

My opinion of this discussion is it is far from having gone wrong, it became very interesting with some very pertinent comments on the subject of “playing technique” (the name of this sub-forum) and the relationship of how one’s thinking relates to the development of one’s technique and yes, that includes “focus on the left hand.” It applies to all techniques, as all techniques are a result of not just the practice but also of the thinking one has or has not done.

Should there be a new forum rule that a discussion can’t evolve past only answering questions posed in the opening post in a very direct manner? I seriously hope not! How boring would that be? Discussions start with a statement or a question and evolve from there. Some evolve and expand in their scope more than others. It’s in the nature of discussions for that to happen. To try to prevent that from happening would not only be highly unnatural, it would also be excessively controlling.

I love this forum and the freedom we are allowed in our discussions to state our own opinions. Being a strong supporter of The First Amendment, there is a special place in my heart for freedom of speech. I also have great appreciation for what an excellent group of people Troy and his team have on this forum. I have never encountered an internet forum with people who are so polite to each other and so willing to offer their own advice to others. I love helping others with difficult playing technique related problems an appreciate greatly that they return the favor. This forum is truly one of a kind!


Well, two comments come immediately to mind.

  1. The main reason you don’t see much one-note-per-string playing in rock music is that for the most part it’s been considered impossible to do at speed, except for Steve Morse, who was always held out as some picking iconoclast freak of nature. The number of people other than Steve Morse I’ve seen credibly pull off the Tumeni Notes on an electric guitar, cleanly and at tempo, is Troy Grady. Just because it isn’t currently being done, doesn’t mean that it COULDN’T be done - fast arpeggios were outside of the guitar cannon anyway in the 70s unless they could be pedalled off an open string, before Eddie started tapping them and Yngwie started sweeping them.

  2. Who says cross picking can only be used for one-note-a-string playing? It’s just a method of changing strings, it works just as well on a single string as it does as a way to alternate pick arpeggios.

I don’t really understand what you’re trying to argue here. Earlier in this thread you were arguing that CtC shouldn’t focus on left hand technique. Now you’re arguing that there’'s no more research to be done on alternate picking, which by extrapolation on a thread about why CtC isn’t looking at the left hand, seems to imply you think maybe they should focus on left hand technique, since the right is done?

Idunno, man. As a guy who’s all for semantical debates, you’re coming across like someone who wants to argue just to argue. :rofl: As far as I’m concerned, Troy’s free to do whatever research he wants to.


I’m not arguing anything… I’m stating my opinion, just as everybody else here is entitled to state their opinions too. Why you’re singling me out for doing so, I don’t know. It would be difficult to discuss guitar playing or much of anything else for that matter, if for some reason stating one’s opinion were forbidden wouldn’t it?

. I don’t think cross picking in the sense of being a unique method of picking unto itself is necessary for the vast majority of heavy metal or hard rock guitarists. using a succession of TWPS pick strokes works fine if for some reason the player doesn’t want to use sweeping for it.

If you want to play arpeggios fast, sweeping is the best way to play them. Besides sweeping, the other technique (out the techniques covered by CTC) that’s most helpful to a heavy metal or hard rock guitarist is two way pick slanting. You can pick just about anything if you’ve mastered TWPS and sweeping.

There is more research to be done on alternate picking, namely Dannyjoe Carter’s technique. Since that seems very unlikely to happen however, then it seems to me they’re finished covering alternate picking.

You’re wrong in believing that I think CTC should cover left hand technique. Are they free to if they so choose? Of course! Do I think there’s a need for it though? No! It’s my understanding that CTC was formed to "crack the code"of fast efficient picking and I believed they’ve achieved their goal. Well done!

Instead of being so cynical about me for whatever reason you choose to be, if you looked at what I wrote with a more optimistic frame of mind you’d understand that I’m congratulating them! They’ve achieved what they set out to do.


However, the very fact Troy continues to reach out to and interview guitarists suggests that he, at least, thinks they haven’t set out what he hoped to accomplish. Just let Troy do his thing. :slight_smile:


A. There are plenty of folks here who are interested in other kinds of music than hard rock and heavy metal.
B. Why should we limit what we study to ‘necessary techniques’? Why impose an arbitrary limit on the techniques we study?

I personally find crosspicking much more intuitive than 2WPS. You seem to think that since I have the option to use 2WPS, CTC shouldn’t explore crosspicking. I disagree. Just because there are two ways to get a similar result doesn’t imply that one of them should be ignored.


It’s not arbitrary. I stopped when I had the techniques necessary to accomplish my goals. Why would I impose a limit on the number of techniques I study? Once I have all the techniques I need, studying techniques I don’t need takes time away from my songwriting.

Where did I post that?


Fine, but this thread isn’t about you. It’s about what gets explored by CTC. Your statements seem to imply that whatever works for you is what CTC should cover, and nothig else.

Here, for one.

And here:


yeah I didn’t articulate on that one. what I mean is that music is quite subjective and being a musician also is. Interesting perspective you have there but I just disagree maybe it’s because there are a lot of untalented people in the music business making millions, and very talented musicians touring 365 days in order to make money out of music, in the other hand there are very mechanical players that don’t sound musical so I don’t know this topic is so deep and your going for the most logical side, which is not always right as far as music goes, because I’m 100% sure that everybody has a quality that can be express musically and get a pretty good outcome, you just have to be passionate about it, find it and explode it. As far as getting mechanical efficient some people may have certain ease, and others might need more time, but at the end it just comes down to coordination between hands, think about it, no one moves their fingers faster than anybody, some just have better coordination. BTW my previous comment was mostly about not using sweeping unless it’s for texture so… any thoughts on that?


This thread’s about everyone participating in it. If none of us posted what we thought, the thread wouldn’t even exist would it? After all, who created the thread, the CTC company or an individual forum member? Everyone here states his opinion on things. It would be pretty hard to have discussions with people here or anywhere else if for some reason stating one’s opinion were forbidden.

For the record, I have NEVER stated “CTC shouldn’t cover…” You keep writing things starting with “you seem to imply.” or “you seem to think…” You’ve been wrong every time. Keep it up if you think the best use of your time is making assumptions about what I’m thinking, implying, etc. Just don’t expect me to keep replying to state “No that’s not what i’m thinking and no, I didn’t imply that or anything else” because it’s gotten quite tedious and frankly, I have plenty of things I’d rather do with my time.


I happen to like the sound of swept arpeggios just fine. if some prefer alternate picked arpeggios, that’s fine too, it gives the world more musical diversity than if everybody had the same taste in what techniques they like to employ. Would you agree?


yeah I agree, however, let’s say that during an improvisation you choose to use an arpeggio but in your head the lick is more staccato how would you sweep that? see my point there? I just think it’s awesome that CTC gives you the tools to make this dynamics happen, it is not about sweeping being good or bad, it’s about more possibilities


I usually work on my weakest skills. I like challenging myself when improvising, so i try to play things that are not common or easy for guitar players. And in these situations i find many cool sounds, but also many problems.Thats why i started this thread. Some folks may never come across these weird left hand finger problems, maybe thats why many here thinks that left hand technique is self explainatory, and doesnt need much study. I let my hand figure out a way and it usually works after some practice, but when improvising and playing new things i often fail. That is because with my right hand i now know exactly what works and what doesnt work, but with the left hand i am always guessing. Should i roll or should i use different fingers? And why in some cases the roll works better and in some cases the different fingers woks better? Should i play this pentatonic phrase with first three fingers or with all four? and why in some cases three fingers works better and in some cases all 4 works better? these are the things that bug me about left hand.


Not arguing one way or the other really, but my jazz teacher also told me to slide with the index finger when ascending and slide with the pinkie when descending. The reason was that those two motions tend to open the hand and maintain a large range of motion from index to pinkie, while doing the opposite two motions tended to contract the hand, lessening available reach. I’ve had mixed results. About 80-90% of the time it seems to work best but occasionally it feels better to break this rule.