Rock

Maybe you’re a lifelong shredder. Maybe you play in a band. Maybe you’re a genre-hopping generalist. If you’re any sort of lead player with rock or rock-adjacent musical leanings, good news: the world is your oyster!

Everything in the previous section will get you started. And now, all sorts of techniques beckon. On this page, we’ll show you where to go next.

To reiterate: your number one goal to start is to get comfortable with a basic picking motion — any one that works! — on a single string. This is a core theme of the Pickslanting Primer, and the particular focus of the Intro to Picking Motion video.

You want to be able to do this comfortably, and reasonably fast. Don’t do it super slow and precise — you need to go for it, to see what it feels like at higher speeds.

Once you get something working, you can begin to incorporate left hand synchronization. Then, based on what you’ve determined as your starting point movement, and musical goals, you can move on to downward or upward pickslanting, and finally two-way pickslanting.

Pickslanting Primer

After going through everything outlined on the previous page, the next thing you’ll want to do is go through the Pickslanting Primer.

The Primer covers all the fundamental flavors of pickslanting — downward, upward, and two-way — which form the basis of most legendary rock players’ techniques. There’s no one standard technique here; many can work. So, as we described earlier, you’ll want to experiment to find what works best for you, and let your musical goals inform your technical ones.

Pickslanting Primer

 

Masters in Mechanics Seminars

For even more detail, our seminars expand on the concepts of pickslanting material with in-depth applications and a whole lot more examples.

Volcano and Cascade cover the downward pickslanting techniques of Yngwie Malmsteen and Eric Johnson, respectively:

Volcano

 

Cascade

 

And with Antigravity, we take a deep dive into two-way pickslanting technique, as exemplified by players like Michael Angelo Batio, John McLaughlin, and Vinnie Moore:

Antigravity

 

Nothing is Pure in This World

Something to keep in mind:

There are very few players who are really “purely” anything. The players we look at often have markedly different arm and hand setups, pick grips, and so on.

As an example, in the Antigravity seminar we look extensively at MAB’s use of swiping. It is clear that he prefers to swipe some string changes and two-way pickslant others, and it is clear that his primary up orientation affects this choice. Same thing with Al Di Meola. Without getting derailed into the weeds on mechanics, it is clearly easier for these players to play this way, so they do. That’s really it.

So, the issue here is practical. Are you having trouble playing a line? What is the line? Can you get that line with a little legato, maybe a fingering change, maybe not even picking every note? If so, go for it. The player that does that will end up with way more musical skill over the same period of time.

In other words, there is no “should” when it comes to technique. It is very clear from filming and interviewing all these great players that the physical mechanics and the creativity evolve together. Marty Friedman says straight up in our interview that never went the way of learning how to “pick everything” because he likes sounding different. Up to you!

Next Steps

If you’re still having trouble after practicing these techniques for a couple weeks, post a clip to the forum using the process described here, and we’ll take a look.

“What about economy picking?”, you ask? See the next page for more!

Or, if you’re ready to move on, head to the Dashboard and continue browsing the site.