Yngwie 6s - fretting hand question

So, slightly different focus here… Near as I can tell I’m a primary downstroke escape player with a bit of a rotational two-way mechanic, and as such I’m probably 2wps-ing my merry way through this. And god knows this isn’t especially clean, redlight-itis is a thing. :slight_smile:

But, the gist of my question here, is the fretting hand side of this lick is for me harder than the picking hand side:

Full speed since what I’m talking about should be abundantly clear at tempo. F major, repeating this pattern before sliding into the F on the B string, 18th fret:

|-------------------17-13-15-17-15-13-| ect. 

I’m really struggling with the move from the B to the E string. Specifically, you can see me barring it as I move back up to the E string 17th fret, maintaining the bar as I play the first F on the 13th fret, and only shifting my pointer finger to a non-barred fretting position in time for the second F.

This works, but the obvious problems are 1) it allows the 13th fret Bb to continue to ring out, making this line muddier than it might otherwise be, 2) it makes me a little more prone to pulling the E string off the side of the neck, and 3) it makes this much trickier to shift up and down the neck.

Theoretically, I should be removing my finger altogether from the b string as I go up to the A on the 17th fret of the E, but my fretting hand absolutely doesn’t want to do that. Is this normal, or do virtually all of you play this with distinct, non-barred fretting? If so, what’s my best corrective option here, starting slowly and gradually increasing the tempo and trying to re-train my pointer finger?

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One additional note (I’m home today having my hot water heater replaced, so I’m using the time to practice) - I’m finding that if I DON’T anchor my thumb on the back of the neck at all, it’s easier to not bar, but of course I can’t do that at speed.

Maybe I’m squeezing the neck too hard or something.

Thanks for posting! Watching this with the sound off, the left hand looks fine. The picking looks a little random. For example, the first repetition appears to go:


d, pulloff, d, u, d, pulloff


u, d, u, d, u, d, u

…where you’re starting on an upstroke on the B, so you have what looks like an extra pickstroke on that string to get back to downstroke for the repeat. I also see a form change which we usually typically associate with “2wps” to get back to the top string. Second repetition looks maybe more as you’d expect in terms of pickstrokes but I’m still seeing the form change from the B to the E, though not from the E to the B. So something squirrely is going on.

So in other words I think this is a motion issue. You have to make up your mind which motion you want here, whether that’s a DSX motion with “2wps”-style form changes at the string changes, or a USX motion that just does what it does with no drama. Whatever it is, it needs to be conscious.

For what it’s worth, every clip you’ve posted of your technique looks the same. This is not a knock. You actually have so much raw ability that what I get is there’s not an urgent need to fight the fires of the occasional glitches like this that do arise. But if you’re looking for a side project, it wouldn’t be crazy to try to learn a new motion to break out of a rut. I would suggest a USX type motion, with slightly flexed wrist, where you’re grazing the fingers and not sitting hard on the bridge. That form, let’s call it “Gypsy light”, is not super different from what you already do and it may make lines like this more straightforward. That was the first way I learned these kinds of phrases, and they are a no brainer with that approach:

No matter which way you decide, one thing I’d recommend is better video. If you really want to see where you’re messing up, 120fps is an absolute must for filming any playing. It’s all guesswork otherwise, and repeating stuff without knowing won’t give you the feedback to get it right. Find plenty of light (indirect light from a window is great), set your phone to 120, and put it up close enough to really see what’s going on in one or both hands. Doesn’t have to be a Magnet, a tripod with a phone holder is fine for this if you get close enough.

Again, your technique is great but if you want to dig a little deeper, I think this is all easily sorted with clearer video feedback and perhaps a stab at adding a new mechanical approach to the arsenal. Again, thanks for posting.

Hey Troy - thanks for weighing in. So, the fretting hand side of this looks ok? I’m posting mostly for feedback on that, as it seems like how I’m handling this (with a temporary bar) is pretty limiting, especially when it becomes time to start moving this around.

I am 100% sure the picking here is NOT “correct” - my suspicion has always been that I’m basically TWPS my way through licks like this that normally would be played with escaped upstrokes, and I wasn’t worried about that so much (nor was I on video quality, since fretting hand is about as “macro” a movement as I can think of) as I was just getting some decent footage of what my fretting hand was doing.

That said, it probably makes sense to nail that down, so when I get a chance (it may be a few days) I’ll try to get some good footage of what my picking hand was doing here, with my “default” approach, and then take a crack at a more appropriate escaped upstroke approach. I’ll give the mechanic you suggested a look, too - cycling season is winding down so it’s a great time to get serious about guitar technique again. Thanks for your feedback!

Your observations are probably as good as mine on this front! But just as a test, if you shut the sound off, the fingerings look basically correct and in time. I do see the barre but I can’t tell if that’s really anything to worry about.

But if the picking is also off in some way, and the phrase sounds unsynchronized here and there, then I can’t really say whether that’s purely a picking issues, or a fretting and picking issue. Which is why I think video is a good start.

Always interested in seeing footage so post it if you film it!

Ok, so unexpectedly I did have a bit of time after work.

Re: the bar, I guess the root of the issue is it makes licks like this somewhat challenging:

Here you seem to be shifting position with the leading (usually pinkie) finger, so when you go from the 12th to the 10th position halfway through the first bar, if your default approach is to bar the transition from the B to the E, then that jump from the 12th fret B to the 10th fret E gets awfully messy. And, a lick like this (IMO) doesn’t get all that interesting until you DO start moving it around, either string to string or up and down the neck.

Anyway, video - filmed with my real camera, 60fps (fast as I can get it) and the lighting unfortunately isn’t ideal, the room I’m in is overhead lit. Hopefully it’s enough to draw some conclusions from though. I play three runs here, the 6s pattern with my “not really thinking about it” mechanic (which I think is predominately escaped downstrokes with a two-way rotation to facilitate the string changes), an attempt at a downwards slant/escaped upstroke, and then finally a more conventional escaped downstroke Gilbert-style run, since if I really am usually escaping on upstrokes this should flow pretty smoothly.

Initial thoughts:

  • It seems to take me a repitition or two to really get into the groove on this. Also there’s a slight coordination issue on the DWPS section where I seem to drift out of lock for a few moments. Not my cleanest playing, but it’ll do for diagnostics.
  • My “in the moment” perception on the DWPS stuff is that it’s somehow wrong because it feels and sounds like I’m really burying the pick and getting this huge exaggerated pick attack. Listening back to the recording, though, I actually like that percussiveness.
  • I think I have a tendency to “rush” notes on a single string, and then lag a little bit as I’m changing strings. I also thing my single-string coordination isn’t the greatest - practicing these lines along a single string to a click would probably help.
  • Good god does vibrato sound awful slowed down!

Thanks for doing this! Much clearer look at what’s going on. The USX attempt looks the smoothest from a motion and string switching perspective. i.e. The motion is moving back and forth smoothly and also getting over the string without hitting it. Pick attack / note quality is the most off due to hand sync but that can be fixed.

The DSX attempt, the last one, there’s some swiping noise on some of the string changes where I think the pick may not be escaping, or is maybe misaligned in some way where it is hitting. I can’t tell what arm position you’re using for that one, whether it’s supinated a la Andy Wood / McLaughlin, or pronated a la Grier / Oz Noy. But that alters the motion your wrist needs to make. So that’s something you can experiment with.

In general, no need to condemn yourself to “repeating pattern” purgatory to experiment with these motions, and I think there’s value to be had in playing musical lines more similar to whatever the goal phrases are likely to be - just because they include more mechanical variety that can give your hands more to work with. You might still do a few minutes of these types of exercisey things now and again, but I think they work best in conjunction with a more balanced diet of other stuff and not as the main course.

Thanks for filming!

Thanks Troy! The irony here is I’ve spent little to no timer at all working on a USX (if I follow the updated terminology right, upstroke escape, the approach Yngwie actually uses on this run) mechanic and all I’m really doing here is adding in some wrist angle (you can see more of the underside of my wrist here than in the other two clips) to change the trajectory of the pick. I agree though, it sounds like I’m having the least amount of trouble clearing the strings here than I am elsewere. I definitely fell out of sync on this take - the first one I did was cleaner, but my picking hand was out of focus, go figure. :slight_smile:

The “default” picking clip and the DSX clip should be essentially the same motion, here - I think I tend towards escaped upstrokes on my own, so the former was me muscling my way through a USX lick with more of a two-way aproach, while the last clip was a Gilbert-style pattern that should work more naturally without any added help. The fact that this one is escaping less cleanly than the other is I guess not surprising - if you’re 80% there on something it’s probably harder to deconstruct what’s going wrong than if oyu have to do a full-scale reworking of an approach. I’ll spend some time watching some more of Andy Woods’ clips here, but I suspect it may be as simple as just flattening my wrist angle out a little further.

If it helps, the wrist angle and degree of suppination should be virtually identical between the “default” and “upwards slant” clips, and the first iPhone clip I posted earlier which was primarily to get feedback on the fretting hand side of this. Happy to shoot some more video if it would be helpful, though, say to see it from another angle!

Thanks as always for your detailed commentary here, Troy - there are plenty of guys out there who can play circles around me where maybe you could still suss out somethign interesting from an in-depth look at their technique, so I appreciate your taking the time to help me figure out what I’m doing that’s working and that isn’t!

One thing I’ve found out about left-right hand issues: there’s no clear “one hand approach”. I’m always struggling with my fretting hand for various reasons. But I’ve found out that after some practice time right and left hand become more syncronized. So, even when I have a problem with left hand, and even when it’s obvious for me, working on just left hand doesn’t work. It seems like after practice left hand goes closer to right, and right hand goes closer to left one. So rhythm unevennes doesn’t disappear totally, it became less, and hands became syncronized,so they both play unevenly, but they play simultaniously. Which is what we really want to achieve.

Going to go out on a limb here and suggest it’s likely not even the right hand. It’s probably your use of an a 1-2-4 left hand pattern that is making learning this more difficult than it needs to be.

Try keeping the picking pattern the same and switch to frets 13-14-15 or 14-15-17 to see it it reduces sympathetic tension in your right hand.

Again, though, my question wasn’t about fretting hand coordination so much as the use of the bar and how that can be potentially limiting when moving this lick around the neck, and if the physical approach I have to fretting this is pretty common, or if most of you guys play it with a single fretted note rather than by barring the two strings for at least the first note of the sequence.

Noting, again (:rofl:) that this wasn’t a question about picking, I’d say that a couple months ago I might have agreed with you, but there was a VERY interesting thread about this started by @Tom_Gilroy after spending some time with Shawn Lane’s fretting hand technique, which I think is worth a read:

tl;dr version - your finger independence is weakest between your ring and your pinkie fingers, so an “optimal” fretting approach would be 1-2-3 to the greatest extent possible, but where not favoring 1-2-4 over 1-3-4. I’ve made a conscious effort to switch over in the last couple months, because there IS a strong physiological basis for this approach.

I see…
If I remember correctly Troy was using bar when playing fast pentatonic run (every 2 strings). So my guess that it should work.

Hi @Drew.

I think you’re playing the pattern very well already. It’s working well for you at that tempo and I don’t feel that you need to retrain your movements for this context.

I don’t think a finger roll with the index finger is necessarily wrong here when moving back and forth between two strings, in fact I think it’s probably optimal in this case.

As a digital cycle, the 6-note pattern is

(4 1 2 4 2 1)  

This pattern doesn’t satisfy the conditions of an EDC. We can see that we have the transitions

2 4 2


1 4 1 

occurring when we cycle the pattern. In both cases, it is difficult to lift and re-fret with the lower finger in the available time. What makes this pattern efficient when playing on a single string, is that we do not need to lift and re-fret with the lower finger at all. We simply lift the higher finger off to reveal a note already fretted by the lower finger. We cannot arbitrarily change strings during this fretting sequence and retain efficiency.

Since we need to lift from the 4th finger to reveal a note already fretted by the first finger at the beginning of each repetition of the cycle, rolling a bar with the first finger allows us to maintain an efficient pattern. A lift and re-fret with the first finger is the only alternative, which is not efficient as we’ve seen.

The issue then is moving the pattern across more than 2 strings. Rolling a barred 1st finger is likely to be uncomfortable and awkward in such cases.

It strikes me however, that there is an alternative way to apply this digital cycle to achieve a lick which naturally moves across the strings:


This is the same digital cycle, without the rolling bar. It might be helpful to see it as groups of 6 as follows:


We can see that we have the same cycle, just starting on the 2nd finger. This also shows that this variation is possible to pick efficiently also, as there is an even number of notes on each string.

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Great input, Tom, and great to see your name back around here, it’s been a little while. You kinda lit a proverbial fire under my ass with that thread and I’ve picked my practicing up quite a bit, so thanks for the inspiration!

Glad to help. I drop in regularly to read here but I don’t always have time to post much. My posts are usually quite lengthy.

Awesome! Actually, I haven’t been practicing much lately, my girlfriend and I moved into a new house and we’ve had a lot to do.

I feel like I’m past the point of making consistent progress with the guitar. For the last few years most of my progress has come very quickly after a new discovery or insight. I actually find it helpful to spend some time away from the guitar so that I come back to it fresh and with an eye to solving new problems and making new connections.

I’ve been spending most of my free time lately training Jiu-Jitsu. I enjoy it as an activity in itself, but I’m also enjoying practicing something and feeling like I’m constantly progressing and learning. My girlfriend has started training too, so she’s supportive of it also, which is a big plus.


As a guy who is definitely prone to writing books on forums, you are a bit worse than me, at that. :rofl:

By the way, @Troy, I wanted to say thanks for your comments above, you and @Tom_Gilroy both - between some of the excellent feedback and inspiration I’ve gotten around here, and in conjunction with Satriani’s surprisingly excellent memoir I’m currently in the middle of, it’s made me rethink my practice approach a bit. I’ve been prtty technique focused, specifically picking, for the last year or two, but I think I’m getting towards a point where while there’s still room to make my technique cleaner and more fluid, it’s probably fast and clean enough for the styles and music I try to play, and spending somewhat less time on raw technique and more time on things like my touch on the guitar and tone/intonation while playing, as well as phrasing and melodicism, is probably going to be the more beneficial use of my time.

I’ll say this - my technique, especially picking technique, is far from flawless, but it’s whole worlds better than it was maybe two years ago when I first signed up and joined this forum in preparation for a lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery on my picking hand arm, and while you never stop working and I’m still frustrated by some of the limits and inaccuracies in my playing, some perspective here is important and I’m much happier with my control than I was two years ago. This has been a very thought-provoking and inspiring community to be a part of.

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