Eric Johnson Picking Lesson: Rolling Threes ("Cascade")

Today we bring you the latest lesson video by Troy Grady, the guitarist who creates those intriguing and in-depth "Cracking the Code" lesson videos that appear on

"This is 'Cascade,' a chapter from our latest Masters in Mechanics seminar," Grady says. "It explores Eric Johnson’s use of sweeping in pentatonic playing.

"We like to think of Yngwie Malmsteen as the sweep innovator, and of course he is. But Eric is really equally so, even though he approaches it from a totally different perspective.

"Amazingly, these perspectives meet in the middle—the 'rolling threes' picking mechanic is essentially identical to Yngwie’s approach to three note-per-string scale playing, just applied to pentatonic sequences instead.

"The clip we’re examining is from Johnson's landmark 1988 Austin City Limits performance, a tour de force of impossibly precise pentatonic picking."

Enjoy! For more stories and videos by Grady, check out RELATED CONTENT just below the photo of Johnson.

Here's more info about Grady:

Troy Grady is the creator of Cracking the Code, a documentary series with a unique analytical approach to understanding guitar technique. Melding archival footage, in-depth interviews, painstakingly crafted animation and custom soundtrack, it’s a pop-science investigation of an age-old mystery: Why are some players seemingly super-powered?

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Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.