Understanding Escape Motion
Escape motion is a type of picking motion that moves away from the body of the guitar during part of its travel. This allows the pick to break free from in between the strings and escape, avoiding the surrounding strings, and making clean string changes possible.
The discovery of the fact that the world’s most celebrated players were subconsciously tailoring their musical vocabulary to their escape motion is one of Cracking the Code’s early breakthroughs that made clean picking possible for players who never thought they’d have Malmsteen, McLaughlin, or Johnson levels of sparkling clarity.
The specific terminology we created to describe this phenomenon — including the phrase “escape motion” itself — didn’t exist yet. Our classic interviews with picking pioneers like Steve Morse, Albert Lee, and Michael Angelo Batio were the first systematic attempts to observe and categorize the different escape motions that expert players make. For more background, you can read about that history here.
The good news is that most joint motions used in picking technique already possess some type of escape. For many players, this amounts to a freebie that can be unlocked simply by becoming more aware of the type of escape motion you already use, and pairing it with the right phrases.
In this section we’ll take a look at which kinds of escape motion are available, and how they are used for basic string-switching tasks.