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Alternate Picking - My Approach

by Jose Mena

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  • Hello GMCers

    In this new alternate picking lesson, I wanted to give you some insight in how I developed my alternate picking.

    Alternate picking requires precise movements and precise timing, both hands have to be synchronized so that the notes being played come out as clean as possible. The hardest part of alternate picking is moving over to another string while the pick position is in the opposite direction.

    For example let's say your last note was an upstroke on the second string and the next note is a downstroke on the first string, as you had just finished hitting the second string with an upstroke your pick is very far away from the first string, your pick must travel twice as much and you must avoid hitting that second string again.

    This lesson gives you an insight on how I managed to overcome this problem, by slightly moving my wrist to that I could jump over the strings I did not want to hit.

    Things can get confusing when explaining something with words, so if confused watch the spoken video for a clearer explanation.

    There is of course no right or wrong, many players don't approach alternate picking the same way I do, and after trial and error I found that this technique gave me the most precise and agressive sound I could want. Most times people think I am playing lightning fast but as shown in this lesson the metronome is only at 120 bpm.

    As explained in the video this technique will slow you down, and it will seem that it will slow you down a great deal however hopefully it will do the same thing it did for me, help you achieve a more defined, accurate and agressive sound than before.

    Before you start learning this lesson, take a look at your alternate picking technique and figure out what you are doing and if this is right for you, sometimes you will improve your technique overnight simply by looking a little closer and analyzing what are the problem areas.

    Enjoy the lesson and good luck!

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