Picking Motion

Picking motion is the core of your technique, and you can do it in all sorts of surprising ways. In this section, we’ll learn how to recognize these motions and understand the differences between them.

We’ll take a look at fundamental concepts like alternate picking, and learn what a picking motion needs to accomplish to be a true alternate picking technique. We’ll also introduce groundbreaking Cracking the Code concepts like escape motion and pickslanting. We’ve tried to make this big-picture overview as simple and visual as possible, with lots of examples from the interviews we’ve conducted.

To follow along with our tutorials, it’s helpful to have some familarity with the concepts we cover here, but you don’t have to tackle them all at once. We’ve included the important terms right in the title of each page, to make it easy to look them up later on if you need a reference.

Escape Motion

Alternate Picking

The most basic concept in picking is moving back and forth


The Problem of String Switching

Picking across the strings is one of the most fundamental challenges in guitar


Escape Motion

Meet the four fundamental pickstrokes


USX Motion

In the motion of Yngwie, Benson, Johnson, and Django, upstrokes do the string switching


DSX Motion

Al DiMeola, Andy Wood, and Michael Angelo Batio's motion for downstroke string changes


DBX Motion

Powering the two-directional string changes of Morse, Miller, Grier, and Tuttle


Trapped Motion

The pickstroke of sweeping and swiping




Matching the pick's orientation to its motion


Downward Pickslanting

The pickslant of USX Motion


Upward Pickslanting

The pickslant of DSX Motion


Zero-Degree Pickslanting

The pickslant of double escape motion


Pickslanting And Sweeping

Enabling economy through pickslanting


Motion Mechanics

Motion Mechanics

Getting familiar with the most common joints in picking motion


Identifying Elbow Motion

Recognizing the simplest joint in picking technique


Identifying Forearm Motion

Getting to know the joint that rotates


Identifying Wrist Motion

The most common joint in picking technique takes many forms


Picking Style

Picking Style

With so many motion possibilities, players need a strategy for choosing them


Primary Motion

Which motions do players reach for first?


Single Escape Picking

A straightforward style capitalizing on the simplest alternate picking motions you can make


Single Escape Plus Swiping

Harnessing the power of swiping to expand single escape capabilities


Primary Plus Secondary Motion

Assisting the primary motion with an additional motion


Primary DBX

The picking style of double escape motion


DWPS Economy

USX motion and downstroke sweeping join forces