The Power Of The Upstroke

Pick slanting what ?

Pick slanting is the orientation of the pick, think of the pick like a paintbrush, when painting down stroked the brush is angled one way and upstroke the whole angle changes. This is the same with picking.

 Natural tendencies

I found I had a natural tendency to lean towards upward pick slanting so looked into this concept a lot and found something very interesting which I’ll share.

Starters up

Starting a lick on an upstroke can often change the whole way the line flows especially in repeated patterns.

The beat

Starting on the beat on an upstroke is trick especially if you’re a strong downward pick slanter and will take some practice.

To make music

Like a lot of things it’s not really essential to do it this to make music but more like another thing to add to your bag of tricks and could make some lines easier to play.

Economy Pickers

Many strict economy pickers start lines with upstrokes, here are a couple of these types of lines.


Neo Classical

Some electric guitar players who lean on the classical sounding lead lines also employ starting lines on upstrokes, here is a couple of these types of lines.

Line 1

Line 2


Fusion players will start lines on an upstroke when starting lines before the beat to and create accenting, here’s a couple of lines and an exercise for this.


Exercise to help starting on upstroke off beat


Some blues licks if you strat of a different note of a cycle will need to be started on an upstroke


I would encourage you to take a little time to examine some of the licks you know and see if they flow better starting on upstrokes, the audio for the above licks can be found here




Do check this out


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