Motion Mechanics

A motion mechanic is the joint or combination of joints you use to generate the picking motion itself.

Despite the seemingly endless variety of ways you can physically move a pick, the most common approaches actually fall into a few simple categories. We’ve already taken a good closeup look at them in our investigation of escape motion and pickslanting.

Different joints generate different types of escape motion. So for example, the elbow only does DSX motion when operating by itself, while the forearm mainly does USX. And even beyond that, these joints generate motion paths with unique shapes, which helps us understand which physical mechanic is being used even if we can’t clearly see how the arm or hand is moving.

The “big three” of picking motion mechanics are:

ELBOW MOTION: The elbow joint moves the hand and forearm as a unit, tracing a semicircle across the guitar body like a windshield wiper
FOREARM MOTION: The forearm is a fascinating joint that can actually spin the arm along its axis by rotating one of its bones around the other
WRIST MOTION: The most complex joint of the big three, the wrist is capable of multi-axis motion, and able to generate all escape types on its own

We’ll learn how to perform these motions later on in the tutorials. But for now, let’s take a look at some tips for simply learning to recognize these important motions by their appearance and function. This isn’t as simple as you might think!