Cracking The Code seminars take a leap forward with Metronomic Rock, a new instructional series hosted by the amazing Tommaso “Tommo” Tufarelli on the Cracking the Code team. Metronomic Rock is an homage to a time when hair was big, string skips were bigger, and guitar heroes subdivided the beat with metronomic precision! In this first installment of the series, Tommo pulls back the curtain on one of the most popular escape motions of all time: DSX Motion.
For a quick overview, watch the MR | DSX introductory chapter:
When players come to us for consultation on their mechanics, understanding their current capabilities is one of the most important early steps we take. We do this with a battery of physical tests of joint motion speed, and simple musical test phrases like the tremolo. Probably seven or eight times out of ten, when a player succeeds in generating rapid, efficient picking motion, there is one type of escape we see in their slow-motion footage: DSX Motion.
This is perhaps surprising since some of the most famous picking technicians of all time are USX players. Yngwie Malmsteen, Eric Johnson, Django Reinhardt, and George Benson, with their distinctive downward pickslants, have all sent generations of players to the woodshed to learn their influential styles. But these styles, while influential, may not necessarily be the ones most new players end up with.
The reason for the ubiquity of DSX motion is mechanical. The escape path you generate is based on the type of joint motion you use for fast playing. And the most common joint motions that new players discover when told to explore intuitively are all DSX motions. This includes the elbow, which can only generate DSX when operating by itself, and also the wrist, whose most common motion — the one used by Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin — is also a type of DSX picking motion. The majority of players we consult with in Technique Critique find their way to one of these two types of motions when first trying to pick fast.
Unlocking The Rock
What this means is that the world is absolutely filled with DSX players. These are players whose best joint motion, when going fast, generates the hallmark diagonal motion of DSX, where downstrokes do the string switching. For these players, a trove of clean, fast, picking power awaits simply by playing phrases that are designed to unlock it.
That’s where Metronomic Rock comes in. Across over 30 lesson chapters and more than 150 musical examples, Tommo outlines the core mechanical strategies common to great DSX players. Musically, the Metronomic Rock series takes its inspiration from the golden era of shred technique in the ’80s. As we originally revealed in our groundbreaking Antigravity Seminar, pioneering players like Michael Angelo Batio, Paul Gilbert, and Vinnie Moore, all use DSX mechanics as the foundation of their legendary techniques and favored phrases that align with this popular escape motion.
The musical examples in MR|DSX highlight these stylistic signatures, from three-note-per-string scale playing to string-skipping arpeggios. If you’re a fan of high-gain rock leads and high-amplitude hair styles, you’ll feel right at home with the two amazing demonstration songs Tommo has composed for the course.
MR|DSX covers an expansive list of mechanical and creative topics, including:
- An overview of DSX mechanics
- Downstroke- and upstroke-on-downbeat organization
- High-speed scale playing
- Optimizing shapes for rapid string switching
- Position-shifting strategies
- Two-string and string-skipping arpeggios
- Creating efficient pentatonic lines
- Legato and hybrid escape techniques
- Classic metronomic patterns and why they work
- Compositional tricks for generating novel phrases
The complete MR|DSX package includes:
- 39 lessons
- 157 musical examples with tablature
- Two complete songs demonstrating all techniques
- Tracks for each song, including isolated backing and lead parts
- Detailed tablature with all picking instructions notated
- Aquanet™, Spandex™, and band flyers/staple gun not included!
Is MR|DSX For Me?
Like Cracking the Code’s Volcano and Cascade seminars, MR|DSX is a 200-level Cracking the Code lesson requiring a basic operating proficiency in at least one escape motion — in this case, DSX motion.
If you’ve worked through the Pickslanting Primer, then you already know whether you’re a DSX player. If not, a relevant benchmark is the ability to perform a tremolo with a DSX escape path. Once you have that, MR|DSX is the lesson that takes that mechanical foundation and makes it musical:
If you’re new to Cracking the Code, and not sure what DSX motion is, here’s a free explainer on the subject. Just keep in mind that attempting to mimic these motions at slow speed is not a good way to learn them, and will not work with the lessons in MR|DSX. Instead, the only reliable test of escape motion is whether you can do it while picking quickly on simple phrases like a tremolo. For instructions on doing this, head over to the Pickslanting Primer to test your technique and discover your escape motion superpower!