Wrist USX with thumb placed at the guitar?


Is it possible to achieve USX with wrist at the lower strings when you anchor the thumb and nothing else at the guitar body? (guitars such as ibanez rg). Just placing the thumb and turning the arm pronated to avoid the pinky heel muting the strings I’m playing at.

I find it more consitent when i place my pinky heel at the bridge but finding it more difficult to mute the strings once I’ve played it.

I think I understand what you’re asking, but I’ve heard Troy say about a million times that we shouldn’t offer advice until we see a video. Just because it’s possible to do something completely different than what we think we’re doing.

My understanding of the mechanics though is that USX is quite possible from a pronated posture. Shawn Lane did it and it requires a “Dart Thrower” motion.

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Alright! Thanks for the reply, I’ll look into it! :slight_smile:

I was mostly asking for a ‘‘theoretical understanding’’ so that’s why i didn’t post a video (if that makes sense :stuck_out_tongue: ). Below is one video that’s shows what i mean. 4 seconds in when he starts the shred run at the lower strings.

Looks like DSX elbow to me :grin:


Wow, great angle in the 2007 video, looks very Vinnie Moore-esque. Great elbow motion!

Yes. The awesome Bill Hall does this in our interview with him, this is how he plays pentatonic lines:

However I will say that this is not as common as the more typical pinky anchor approach for USX. The reason is pick attack. When you position the arm this way, you will very often see upward pickslanting, which will cause garage spikes on downstrokes. You either won’t be able to get through the string, or you will, but you will feel resistance.

Certain pick grips can solve the problem. Variation in individual finger anatomy may also play a part here in explaining why some people get garage spikes and others don’t. We don’t have all the answers on this. In Bill’s case you can see he does have a slight amount of DWPS but it’s slight. The pick is thin and he also uses grip flop to provide smoothness. It’s not the typical amount of DWPS you would see with a Gypsy player doing USX, for example.

Shawn Lane also played this way but he solved the pick attack problem with trailing edge grip. When you use trailing edge, you can rotate the pick in your grip to have any pickslant you want. Not everyone is comfortable with trailing edge, so once again, individual differences in anatomy may explain why this is less common than supinated (i.e. pinky anchor) USX.


Sorry, missed this!

Yes, Jason is a pronated player. But you can’t tell anything from these videos since it’s normal speed video and there is lots of room tone. There could be just about anything happening, even displacement, where the notes are not being picked the way you think they are, and you would never know it. And you wouldn’t hear it on studio recordings either.

I have posted clips where I play complicated patterns like descending fours which sound, sonically, exactly as they should, even though when you slow it down, you can see the picking does not line up with the “correct” (intentional quotes) strings. That’s the magic of displacement for you:

One thing that would be tough for any pronated player to do with garage spikes would be 2nps lines starting on a downstroke. That’s actually the best test. Bill can do it because he avoids garage spikes for the reasons we discussed. If you can find footage of Jason doing fast downstroke pentatonics, it might tell you something. However, he could just as easily change his arm position and become a supinated player for those types of lines. Or he might simply avoid those phrases, I’m not that familiar with his playing.

Short of that, or without actual slow motion Magnet footage of Jason’s playing, you will never really know what’s going on in his technique, so I wouldn’t spend any significant time worrying about it.


Thank you so much for the replies!

I haven’t found him playing any 2nps pentatonics but a chromatic 4nps pattern. It looks to me that he starts the pattern on a downstroke and is more supinated. It also looks like he does something differently every last note to make the upstroke go up in the air compared to the first 3 notes (primary/secondary motion, or maybe just a bigger movement idk). I’ve also noticed some thumb movement in the sense of ‘‘straightning out’’ the thumb at some lines that required USX, this is something at i’ve seen occasionally happens when he plays scale runs at lightnight speeds aswell. That’s my amature analysis :stuck_out_tongue:

This is the best camera angle i could find (starting at 0:41):

Now i went a bit off topic, i just find his technique (/ability to play complicated stuff) so damn impressive

That’s exactly right. That’s a very obvious case of helper motion, in this case forearm being used. Nice work!

I don’t think USX lines really fit his mechanics, so he’d ideally require a form change to an actual USX technique to play things like Eric Johnson lines and Yngwie lines, where you have fast continuous USX motion, and intricate combinations of that motion with downstroke sweeping.

Again, I wouldn’t worry too much about what he is doing. The best approach is always to start with whatever you can do currently that works the best and build on that.

Nice work in identifying what he’s doing.

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