You only get one instructional


What I’m looking for are your recommendations for a shred instructional

My interest is two way pick slanting
And ai have a basic understanding now.

My problem is that I need a good instructional to work through.

I’m really not familiar with the choices.

Im looking for something covering alt picking 3nps scales and common sequences.

Ive tried to compile a list and harvest the info but it never really works out.

I also understand that the player may never mention 2wps because they weren’t aware of it.

I will apply it myself as best as I can from what I’e learned here

Anyway with all that in mind what should I get?

Hate to tag ya @Troy but I feel you have owned most of them and could narrow down my hunt.
I wont hate ya if it doesn’t pan out. Lol


I like Speed Kills. it’s probably the best one I’ve seen.


Well, this is a strange question! There are precisely zero classic instructional videos of any kind that address, explain, or teach these concepts because nobody knew they existed. The first to do so are right here:


Years ago Ney Mello had released an instructional DVD that laid the groundwork for Troy’s stuff:

It’s not as technical or in-depth but if you put a gun to my head and said I couldn’t pick the Antigravity seminar I’d choose that. He has the stamp of approval from Al Di Meola so I wouldn’t overlook it.

I like Rock Discipline and Intense Rock but I don’t think from a mechanics standpoint John or Paul really ever cut it.


You should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for… right here…


This site is so vast I get overwhelmed.
Im looking to apply the things I learned here to someone elses vocabulary. If that makes sense


Huh. I bought this years ago and thought it was uninteresting; maybe I have to revisit it.

I agree about neither Gilbert nor Petrucci being very good mechanically in their videos. But then again, naturals don’t analyze this stuff; they just do it.

I really liked “Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar.” It is not for what we do, but it is a thorough breakdown of classical guitar technique. For people like me who want to be told exactly what to do, how to do it, and when, this is the kind of text for you.


I apologize for not being articulate.

I understand two pick slanting.
I now want to apply it to a classic instructional.

Specifically 3nps sequences and licks etc.


I get that you’re probably just referring to things that a typical viewer of ours might have watched before they watched our stuff. But the phrase “laid the groundwork” has the general connotation of work that I personally might have built upon by watching, studying, etc. And just to be clear for others who may be reading, that is not the case.

The “downward pickslanting” moment we dramatized in the original Cracking the Code series happened in 1991 around Thanksgiving or so. The first version of what would become the Cracking the Code series was an independent study I wrote the following year in 1992 on my old Mac SE before getting on a plane for study abroad. I didn’t get course credit for until I got back in '93. I still have the dot matrix printouts of the original manuscript.

About ten years later, around '02 or so, I bought a copy of Speed Kills and realized there were other motions beyond those used in downward pickslanting. The “Forum Flash” chapters in Antigravity recount that story in more detail. Around that time I started buying up all the other old VHS stuff I could find, as well as hunting around the internet to see if anyone had done any similar work on string switching. I couldn’t find anything.

After that I spent a couple years putting together the first version of the camera and writing software, emailing players, and doing the first interviews. Then I quit my day job in 2010 and we were off and running.

The fact that we can have an instructional business no doubt owes to the work of industry pioneers like Doug Marks at Metal Method and Roger Hutchinson of REH, both of whom are super nice dudes that I’ve spoken to. I’d have to count Arlen Roth of Hot Licks, although I don’t know him, along with Mel Bay and probably many others I can’t name. Many thanks to all these cats.

But the actual mechanics stuff, honestly, there was really nothing when I started doing this work. The earliest closest thing I can think of is Eric Johnson’s (in)famous “bounce technique” explanation on both his instructional videos, Total Electric Guitar and Fine Art of Guitar. He actually referenced the escape trajectory of pickstrokes in those descriptions, even if the description was commingled with edge picking and stringhopping to the extent that nobody who watched it really knew what he was talking about.

I was unaware of these instructionals at the time and hadn’t watched them until we started filming Cascade in 2014-2015 or so. I will say that it’s tantalizing to imagine what would have happened had Eric’s explanation been a little clearer. We could have had pickslanting in 1990 and it would have been called the “bounce” technique! And I’d still be sitting at a desk somewhere.

Sorry for the self promotion!


After picking up the guitar again 3yrs ago, Troys material and this site have been the single greatest thing that happened to my playing.

I’m still amazed that this even exists.


I just received this one from Troy Stetina, and it’s excellent. It has a good selection of cyclic patterns and scale sequences that will dovetail nicely with what you’ve learned from CTC stuff. He also has a Metal Lead vol. I and II which they say are good, too.


What books/resources have you come up with so far? I believe we talked about the Joe Stump one in another thread. To be honest, I’ve taken to the Stetina quicker, but will be looking back into the Stump book again eventually.


Still working with the stump stuff but its not 3nps alt picking sequenced.
Its sweep picking apreggios.

Still very cool though


That’s one of the purposes of the interviews. So you can see real-world examples of these techniques in action. There are over 1000 such examples and counting.

Even you need even more stuff, it’ll be easier if you find someone who frequently sticks to a mechanical formula whether or not they realize it. John McLaughlin is a good example. He’s got an instructional video called “This Is The Way I Do It” which as a lot of scalar stuff on it. And John is of course someone we’ve looked at a couple times, once in the Pickslanting Primer and once in Antigravity.

The nice thing about John is that he almost religiously organizes his lines so that the final note on every string is a downstroke. Almost hilariously so — like you would think he knows he’s doing it because it seems like he goes out of his way to twist around some of his phrases to work this out. On that instructional, specifically, he goes through all the modes of the melodic minor scale and you will find lots and lots of examples where you can just lock into a downstroke-escape type motion and play the whole thing — or at least, many of the faster parts.

The DVD provides switchable camera angles so you can see what the picking hand is doing. This is a nice touch particularly considering John himself does not geek out on picking motions.

A good, cough, primer for this is to watch some of the McLaughlin stuff in the Pickslanting Primer so you’re famiilar with some of the patterns he uses, and why he uses them — because they recur all the time in his vocabulary.


Thank you.
Wasn’t complaining about the vastness of this site.

For the monumental task you guts were undertaking I know you labored over how to distribute the material and you did a great job.

I pick through the materials here daily and probably will for years to come.


Hahaha I knew as soon as I typed that you would call me on it. I know you didn’t build on that work, it’s a very, very obscure DVD. It’s also more economy picking focused, too. Kinda disparate.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. I still use the beginner exercise til this day.


lately I have been binge watching Claus Levins free vids and they are really preaching to me. Not so much about mechanics and pick strokes, though he does have some great revelations and ideas about picking depth and accents and such. He is one of the only guys who I have never bought any products from yet lol. Some of his courses are a bit pricey but I have benefited so much from his free vids lately I might just buy one of his cheaper courses as a nod of respect lol

What has really been speaking to me is his ideas on FOCUS and why most people never get beyond intermediate level. They never focus.

Im a great example. I ran across the CTC stuff 4 years ago. A light bulb definitely went on. Even though I had been playing for 26 years, I instantly got maybe 10-20% better. So why am I still not at Yngwies level??? Rick Graham was at top pro level after about 2 years. Claus himself says he had most of his skills after about 2 years. Anton Oparin at 8 years old???

Im not at top pro level yet because I still have some missing pieces. This is what Claus has been speaking of. Essentially I have never learned to FOCUS. I have mentioned in some of my posts on this forum (before seeing Claus mention it) that I always lacked focus and anything remotely approaching “discipline”

Well some of the Claus vids really drove the point home.

While some folks reject the word “discipline”, we might replace it with something like “insane dedication” or “passion” and we start to see how MAB and Yngwie and Paul got their skills. They locked in on certain things and brought those things up to pro level (or beyond). .Like MAB said, he did that one lick thousands of times.

This is also why those guys got where they did WITHOUT the CTC ideas being public knowledge yet. They used intense focus and dedication. MAB did his little lick thousands of times. Yngwie dug his own unique system out of thin air. Greg Howe said he’d spend 8 hours slowing down a turntable with his finger to try to learn 1 VanHalen lick

Well we have all this available knowledge now…so why arent we all at pro level by now?? If we never reach pro level at one or two simple things, how can we reach pro level overall??

This is why all the questions we have about “practice routines” keep coming up. This is also why I have never had one. Now I see that our logical minds will try to set up a practice routine that is really spread out and touching on a little of this and a little of that. 30 mins of alt picking, 30 mins of arps, 30 mins of legato. Then 30 mins of improv. I wrote out many routines like that thru the years but never got far with implementing them.

IMO this is why many of us stay at intermediate level forever. We are way too scattered and we never MASTER anything. We get “good” at this or that. But “good” isnt mindblowing. I was “good” 20 years ago. Good isnt good enough.

So I would caution about looking for some other magical instructional vid. As others have pointed out, you have just about all the mechanical advice youll ever need under your fingertips on this site.

My advice, which I am also giving to myself…dont dabble in 50 things at once. Take something VERY simple and take a month or two and freaking MASTER IT!

Claus pointed out, correctly I think, that the famous “Paul Gilbert Lick” is way too hard for most people to tackle right away. I must say I agree. Jumping up to that next higher string and doing only one note and immediately jumping back is actually pretty advanced.

Claus says he never got very far with the Gilbert Lick and that he had to spend a lot of time picking triplets on one string (from an Al Dimeola inst vid I think) before he started making real progress.

So those free vids made many more light bulbs go off in my head. In many ways they are like listening to a Brian Tracy vid on goal setting.

This one either sounds like a lot of blah blah, or it really cuts to the bone. I give dude lots of leeway on his rambling because English is a second language for him. Key sentence: “You have to shift your focus from becoming good at playing guitar, to becoming good at practicing…becoming good at focusing”

The essence of it for me? Take the mechanical ideas Troy presents and spend 80% of your time on ONE of them. One simple repeatable lick. Master it.

I started on this one the other day. Its a one way uwps 16th note lick pretty much straight off of Gilberts Intense Rock.

D--------------5–8--5–7--8 etc

I worked it up across the strings up to the high E. Over the course of a few days I got it blazing pretty good. But now I think its STILL too complicated!!

I think I will back down to this, which is a slightly dumbed down version of the Gilbert lick:


and also this since I need some triplet work too:


heck, if those prove too hard, I may back all the way down to something like this!


I think that simpler approach could be a key for a lot of us rather than looking for some other magical vid or lick. Take a simple lick and totally max out on it for a few weeks or even a month. To do a simple lick at pro speed requires a lot of things to be done correctly. Once those things are achieved on a simple lick, it is a simpler matter to expand outward. Thats more realistic than trying to dabble with 50 things at once


I can’t say enough good things about Claus. I credit 95% of the skill I’ve gotten to his stuff. I would recommend his courses especially The Ultimate Alternate Picking Training System. Actually now that I think of it I might pick that over Antigravity because I’ve never had much in the way of a problem with the motions, but HOW to practice is what screwed everything up for me.

I picked one thing back in June 2017 - tremolo picking on one string - and took it as far as I could for a calendar year, slowly branching out over the course of the year. I think Claus is so right about it all. I mean let’s be real - is doing the Paul Gilbert lick at a high speed the sign of a “genius”? C’mon, no way. But it is the product of someone working their ass off and doing that lick over and over.

Claus is a mix of Tony Robbins and that dude who wrote the book The One Thing. He’s more psychologically motivating and if you don’t struggle with motions and instead focus, I’d recommend that over CtC, because CtC is far less mindset based.

Seriously though, taking one core skill and doing variations of training that one core skill is the way. Too many people - one day they are like “I’ll learn this song!” and the next “I have to jam to this backing track, it’s amazing.” Claus estimates 90% of people doing that routine won’t make it. Marshall Harrison has a system, Yngwie has a system, Paul Gilbert has a system. They took their core stuff - the stuff they are known as legends for - and ****ing drilled it into the ground.

“Indecision causes disintegration” - Bob Proctor


yeah, you got it.

Well I needed the CTC stuff for sure because I simply wasnt that mechanically aware of things. I remember getting Intense Rock like 25 years ago. I thought I was going to be sooo good in no time. Long story short I never could get the Gilbert Lick going all that fast and evidently I wasnt the type to patiently figure out why etc. I was (am) more of a “try it for a while then go on to something else”

So I am at that point where I have the mechanical knowledge now, but now I need to see if I have what it takes to laser focus in on a few simple patterns to build some shred power with lol.

I see Troy and Claus working towards the same goal but coming from different directions etc. Hence some difference in their apparent philosophies. Between the two of them I think we have the bases covered

Yeah, I have so many mental hangups, I need as much work there as I do mechanically.


Exactly. If anyone comes to me for guitar advice - where to start learning, best YouTube channels, etc. I basically say Cracking the Code for mechanics, Claus Levin for the mindset advice. Combining them = insane results. We’re pretty spoiled nowadays.