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> An economy picker learning to alternate pick, Just to keep track of my progress...
RIP Dime
post Dec 14 2006, 12:53 PM
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I recently realized that the entire time I've played guitar I've been economy picking, witch lead me to easy speed, but I was very sloppy and couldn't play descending licks for $hit. So I've been trying to alternate pick and man it is tough, economy picking is second nature to me already so picking in a different way is like learning a new language blink.gif I have to put my metronome at 60bpm and say out loud "up down up down", but most of the time it's more like "up down up (tries to change strings) DAMN!".

Well this thread is just to keep track of my progress, because I'm having a really hard time of it, and I don't want to learn the wrong way, so if you see something that may lead to a bad habit let me know!! biggrin.gif

Day one: Well, I'm starting out with simple triplet runs played very slowly, having a bit of a hard time when switching strings. When I go upwards(toward the hi e) my hand automatically does a down stroke, and when I go down it automatically plays an upstroke; so I have to change my muscle memory, I'm glad that's not hard(sarcasm).
Another wierd thing I noticed is that when I focus on alt picking, the most comfortable position for my right hand is to rest my pinky on the bridge pickup, this is wierd because I usually have my right hand on the bridge or down and around(like Marty Friedman, just not as upside down). So I don't know what's up with that.
And I absolutley cannot alternate pick when doing something complicated, anything with an uneven amount of notes per string completely confuses me, I can only do 2, 3, and 4 note per string licks now. Anything that is uneven confuses me Example: 1 note on G, 3 notes on B, and 4 notes on e. If I did that I'd have to play it extremly slowly and say the mantra "up down up down".
Well I'll just practice even stuff for now, and add a post when I see some improvement or changes.

Wish me luck!


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Kristofer Dahl
post Dec 14 2006, 01:41 PM
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Good luck! biggrin.gif

This threas was a good idea - I also hope you can keep us updated with some audio ulpoads, when you notice some progress!

Kris


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RIP Dime
post Dec 14 2006, 03:01 PM
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Hopefully I can get some recording stuff soon!! When I do I'll definitely post some clips.


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RIP Dime
post Dec 15 2006, 09:37 AM
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Dec 14: OK, after a day of practice, it's getting a little easier, but I still have to focus on "up down up down..."
I made an exercise out of triplets in the harmonic minor scales, it's good because it helps me in asecding, and descending alternate picking going vertically, and horizontally.
Something else I noticed while trying to pay attention to my right hand is that I hold my pick with my middle finger! blink.gif
Finished finals today so I can get more practice in.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Dec 15 2006, 01:05 PM
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Here is an email I got from a non member who has been following the thread, I am posting the whole email:

QUOTE
Hi Kris!

I was browsing the GMC forum and I saw RIP Dime's economy picking question. I had the exact same problem, so I wrote down how I overcame the problem. I'm not a member (yet), so I decided to write him an email. But my emails have been acting very strange latly (and computers hate me...) so I'm not sure if my email arrived. I've send you emails before and those arrived so I'm sending my 'article' to you instead. Maybe you can somehow forward it to RIP?

Hey there, I saw your post about economy picking on the guitar masterclass forum. I'm not a member (yet tongue.gif ) but I've had the same problem.

I had been playing accoustic guitar for 1,5 years and electric for a few months. When I first learned about down-up picking I taught myself to economy pick. I didn't even know this wasn't considered alternate picking! I just figured it was the best way to go because it came natural to me and I saved movement. But (!!!) when I bought Kris' DVD Speed, Tone And Theory I heard him say 'ALWAYS UP DOWN UP DOWN!!!'. That's when I realised there were different kind of picking techniques.. I didn't trust him at first, because most of my friends used economy picking and there are quite a few articles on the web that say economy picking is the best and fastest picking technique out there. I started doing more research on this and it seemed a majority of people used alternate picking, including most pros. A few people also claimed that knowing both was the way to go. Most of my friends who went from pure down stroke to an up down movement got into the habit of economy picking, just like me. The only people I knew in real life who used pure alternating had been taught by a teacher. They had to work on it a lot more than the rest of us, because the motion of going over a string and doing an upstroke (in 3 note per string ascending patterns) felt akward, especially after an all downstroke habit. So I've come to the conclusion that economy picking is more natural (and in terms of distance, also more econominal).

So I decided to learn pure alternate picking.
At first it was very tough. I constantly screwed up, lost my temper, cursed the gods, etc. But the only way to learn it is through slow and accurate practise, and slow can mean 40 BPM quarter notes, but better yet no tempo. You should be fully aware of your whole body and asking questions: Are my fretting fingers doing what I want? Am I tensing up my shoulders? Is my picking hand making the right movement? A few licks that helped me out were these:

---------7-
-0-0-0----
d u d u


Or variations. This will help you with moving over a string and doing an upstroke. When this is starting to feel comfortable (and your hand is doing exactly what you're telling it) you can reverse it:

a|---------7-
e|-0-0-0----
u d u d


And when that's working out for you try this one:

---------7-8---------7-8
-0-0-0------0-0-0----- etc
d u d u d u d u d u

This will help you mix both movements you need to do when alternate picking.

Remember, do it slowly enough so that you can make sure you're not doing anything wrong.

---------7-8---------7-8
---------------------------
-0-0-0------0-0-0----- etc
d u d u d u d u d u

This lick will help you with string skipping and alternating.

The main problem I encountered with these exercises were:

Overdoing the picking movement. I was so focussed on keeping the d-u-d rythm my hand began to overdo the picking motion! I was practicly doing chord strokes or even bigger movements. I was also clenching the pick in my hand and tensing up. Relax, remember you want to make small movements (there's only like 0.5 cm between the string and a string is only 10 mm thick or so, so you don't need big movements to move between them and get sound out of them).

The next problem was left-right hand coordination. After practising this for a while I wanted to move on to actual songs. So I tried to tackle my all time favourite song, Master of Puppets!

I played it slower than I used to, but when I got to the spider lick:


|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-----2-----3-----4-----3-----2-2-----2-----3------5\4---5\4---5\4---|
|-0-1---0-1---0-1---0-1---0-1-----0-1---0-1---0-0--3\2-0-3\2-0-3\2---|



I messed up. I had the right hand motion down, but when a tricky left hand lick (trickier than 00078 wink.gif ) came up I messed up. So again I played this lick with no tempo, small movements, no tension, no overly huge picking motions and the right alternated movement. Then I started at a very slow beat. The beat should be slow enough for you to do basicly anything while still doing the right motion. You don't want to play it to a beat and still having to worry and think a lot about it. A slow beat will make you feel comfortable and it'll make you feel you can do it. Then just increase the speed, making sure you're not having problems sticking to the beat and alternate motions (and not tensing up ofcourse wink.gif )

After that, when you're feeling even more comfortable with alternate picking, just go over some songs you know, play them a bit slower than usual.

Alternate picking will still feel a bit weird for some time (weeks..months, it depends) but if you have control over your hand and you can make it alternate it won't matter.

How long this will take, depends on how well you concentrate and how much you practise. If you really push yourself you'll definitly notice an improvement in a few days. But remember, you can do it! I did it and I'm about a hard learner..and pretty bad at guitar at the same time.

A little more about economy picking:
I said I came to the conclusion economy picking is more natural (and more econominal in terms of distance) But (another big but here wink.gif ) as some people already stated in the thread, it's hard to get a good rythm with economy. Maybe practise can help with this, but it'll never sound as crisp and strong as pure alternating strokes. The biggest reason people learn economy picking is speed. I'm covering less distance, so I should be able to go faster. Until a while ago I still thought this was true, but I began doubting (thanks to another post in this thread wink.gif ) While playing the guitar, the biggest factor that can limit our playing is tension (guitar principles covers this). If you're wrist is making a constant up-down-up-down movement, it can relax. While doing economy picking it's harder. I said economy picking comes natural, but that doesn't mean it's easier on the wrist. Finally, even if you still might be faster with economy picking, with training you can get faster with alternate picking, which is your foundation technique. When people switch to economy picking because they think alternating is too slow, they'll use a shortcut to get faster, but they're foundation technique isn't as fast as it could be.

Well..I hope this helped. Just remember, you can learn to do anything! It might be hard and take a while, but if you focus purely on what you want your hands to be doing and drill it in slowly, it'll work out in the end. Muscle memory can be altered to do a better movement smile.gif Just don't get impatient and skip the slow part. This is your foundation, you need it.

Lastly, while you are trying these exercises it might be a good idea to look at your fretting hand fingers or any other part of your body. I haven't seen you play, but a lot of people have a floating pinky. If you want to get rid of it, just do the same thing you did with your picking hand. At no tempo, force it to stay down and do the movement you want. By looking at yourself while playing and asking questions you'll always find more stuff that could use some work or just make you wonder why you're doing them. I only just discovered I always tense up my ring finger while doing a pull of with my pinky, making it impossible for me to play a powerchord with a pull off to an open string, because my ring finger always mute the string. What I will do (when I get some time, exams are guitar's worst enemies..) force the ring to stop moving when I move my pinky, without tensing it up. Back to the basics..

That's it! Good luck, you can do it wink.gif One last note: make practise fun! Force yourself to enjoy it and do it regulary and think of where you'll be when you master the technique you're working on!

If you think this is helpful for others you can quote me on the forums.

Cheers,

Pieter/Kailoq

That's it. Sorry for bothering you with this, but I'd rather help RIP Dime now, than wait till I sign up (which could take a while..little time + 1.7GB free lessons (shred masterclass!) --> slow progress sad.gif ).

Lastly, I wanted to thank you again for your free lessons and for making some videos at GMC public, I love the Vai solo!

Take care,

Pieter/Kailoq


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RIP Dime
post Dec 16 2006, 02:37 AM
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I just checked my e-mail, and I got the same thing.
Thanks Pieter, that does help!


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RIP Dime
post Dec 18 2006, 11:54 AM
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Well it's been four days since I started to really alternate pick. And I've seen improvement!!!
Awesome!!! biggrin.gif
Picking two notes per string, and four notes per string was easy because every string cahnge started with a downstroke(or upstroke) everytime. It was the 3 note per string that was difficult and today I was albe to play 2 Michael Angelo Batio licks at 3 notes per beat at 130BPM!! (Hey it's better than nothing tongue.gif ) And I was able to play this thing I made up, that helps my alt picking.(I have a powertab of it if anyone wants to tell me how to post it smile.gif )
Next I'll start practicing more complicated riffs, with different numbers of notes per string.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Dec 18 2006, 11:56 AM
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QUOTE
It was the 3 note per string that was difficult


I know I still have problems with that! sad.gif

Kris


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RIP Dime
post Dec 18 2006, 12:15 PM
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Here's the tab of the exercise/lick/riff thing that works well for me, and it may be useful to you too! biggrin.gif
Attached File(s)
Attached File  Jeff_Thing_in_A_Minor.ptb ( 1.61K ) Number of downloads: 111
 


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RIP Dime
post Dec 24 2006, 06:32 AM
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Well I've seen much improvement, and alt picking is starting to become a habit. But my concentration, and motivation have been fading away, so I'm gonna take a break for a couple days w/no strict practicing. And because Christmas is close, I'm just gonna have fun spending time with my friends, girlfriend, and family. Also because I've been practicing so hard I have been neglecting friends, family......showering huh.gif . So ya, I think I need a break for a while.


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Kevin98497
post Dec 25 2006, 05:17 PM
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doesnt alternate picking come naturally anyway? i find it hard to eco pick (if im thinkii what u thinkin)...and find it even harder to sweep laugh.gif so i dnt get how u can naturally do eco pickin
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RIP Dime
post Dec 26 2006, 06:10 AM
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It depends on the person, everyone plays guitar differently, and what comes natural to people is different for every individual.


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barryocallaghan
post Dec 28 2006, 04:08 AM
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Hey Guys,

Just wondering does anyone have any thoughts on how to know which direction to start picking in??. Kris you may be able to help with this one. I nearly have the alternate picking down, though whens is it best to start with an up-stroke and when is it best to start with a down -stroke?.

Any insight would be most welcome!.

Cheers,
Barry.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Dec 28 2006, 11:36 AM
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QUOTE (barryocallaghan @ Dec 28 2006, 06:08 AM) *
Hey Guys,

Just wondering does anyone have any thoughts on how to know which direction to start picking in??. Kris you may be able to help with this one. I nearly have the alternate picking down, though whens is it best to start with an up-stroke and when is it best to start with a down -stroke?.

Any insight would be most welcome!.

Cheers,
Barry.


To prepare yourself for all sorts of situations I would say start with 50 % down and 50% up! smile.gif


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