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> Question On Alternate Picking
post Jul 2 2008, 12:19 PM
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Hi all,

Ive been on the GMC site for the last year and been making steady progress.

Ive recently noticed a potential issue with my alternate picking that i wanted to just get some advice on.

Its best explained by discussing what ive been doing recently (albeit without noticing) on 3 notes per string scales.

So I start on the 6th string (E string) and pick "down - up - down" and then move to the 5th string (the A sting) often with a "down - up - down" again. This seems to be happening naturally because im moving "down" from the 6th string to the 5th string and so the movement of going down just carries on across the string.

Question is whether this is wrong or not. I think it may be affecting my speed potential at the higher speeds but im not sure as it may just be a skill level issue rather than a fundamental flaw ?

Do I need to spend the time to get it so that when moving down to the 5th string in this instance that I pick "up" first.

Hopefully this makes sense. Appreciate anyones advice on this and am prepared to work this problem out if thats the best advice.


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post Jul 2 2008, 12:25 PM
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There has been a big discussion on that point here:

What you do is economy picking, and it's something else then alternate picking. I that it's both ok, but maybe alternate is just a bit better. Best is probably if you can choose for yourself wether you want to got alternate or economy picking.

edit: also this might be helpful.

This post has been edited by kaznie_NL: Jul 2 2008, 12:27 PM

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post Jul 2 2008, 12:30 PM
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What your doing is called economy picking and it is a proper technique and there are lessons on it. When i practiced things slow i would end up doing this but when i played them faster i used alternate. I forced myself out of economy because there are less situations you can use economy than alternate, but if you want to learn both, go ahead, as economy is technically faster, though i'd learn alternate first.

If you want to start using alternate then play 3 nps very slowly and force your right hand to do an upstroke on the 5th string. Also you might find doing 4 nps exercises would get you into the habit of alternate picking and make you end up doing it with 3nps. Not sure about the 2nd bit if adivce but the 1st one should definitely solve your problem.

Hope this helps. smile.gif
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post Jul 2 2008, 12:38 PM
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Get to da Chopper!
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I was doing this alot too. When i found out i was not truly alternate picking i worked and worked to correct myself. It took so long for me to find out i was wrong though, guess thats the advantage of having a teacher.

now that you've identified the problem- work until you've fixed it, but it won't be easy wink.gif
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 2 2008, 12:58 PM
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Doing the same motion while crossing string is called economy picking, you can check it on our wikipedia too.
Don't worry, both technique need to be practiced, alternate picking is somewhat easier to control, but eventually both techniques need refinement as they open new playing possibilities with your right hand. If you want to start practicing alternate, just do it with a metronome on slower tempos and you;ll be OK, very soon you'll get the hang of it. If you want to shred, alternate is the way to go, but for a better control over the right hand both techniques should be practiced simultaneously.

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post Jul 2 2008, 02:20 PM
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Great stuff guys... i hadnt heard of economy picking before so thanks for letting me know smile.gif

Im not particularly interested in being able to shred (at least not right now) as im more into being able to play solid rock lead rather than metal lead.

What im getting from reading the 5 comments so far is that both techniques are applicable and I should be able to do both which is good news. I was afraid that I was going to have to try and get out of the habit completely and move to full alternate picking. Instead I will add full alternate picking at slower speeds to a metronome as part of my daily practice schedule to see if i can get that up to speed and my right hand used to it.



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