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> Leave Alternate Picking Behind?, (warning long and wordy)
kyuss
post Jan 18 2012, 04:52 AM
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So about a year ago i started to notice that i can play really clean and crisp at very fast speeds and at slow speeds but could not play very well at mid tempos; and that i had a pretty bad sense of timing when it came to soloing because i've never really practiced to a metronome.

So after hearing every one of my guitar heros claim that the key to success is building speed on a metronome (accuracy first, build slow, efficiency, etc. etc. etc.) i decided to take some of my favorite phases (as well as several exercises) and practice them slow and build on a metronome, strictly alternate picked. I hit my wall at about 108 bpm with 32nd notes, and stayed there for about a month of frustration when i realized all this time i was playing fast and clean i was using economy picking- every higher string i went up to i would always down stroke and every lower string i jumped to i would always up stroke.

So i started to practice these exercise and phrases and building on them economy picking style and i hit my wall at 180bpm, and within two weeks i was at 208 bpm. And all the while i developing my sense of timing.

The practice felt so good and I saw so much improvement, and so far it seems that everything that's meant to be alternate picked i can economy pick 10x better. Im temped to just leave my alternate picking undeveloped, is this wise? Or will it just hurt me later?

Thanks Guys
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Azzaboi
post Jan 18 2012, 06:44 AM
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Take some time out to practice alternative, eco picking, as well as if your really into it, inside and outside picking, gallop picking, tremolo picking, hybrid picking, chicken picking, etc. Even if you end up not using them, they can still provide useful insight.

For example:
I love to eco pick for speed and flow, but for some I will use alternative picking as it sounds more a mechnical, tighter, and controlled. Alternative picking, even thou I don't use it as much, taught me to just use the tip of the pick and correct practice (the picking thumb should not be pointing the pick up or down, but can be rotated forward 45 degrees for better attack angle). Alternative picking will throw you off or slow you down if you are making a mistake with this, so can be of help.

I don't tremolo pick when playing (as it's not controlled and rather messy) but in practice have found this a technique to find your fastest picking/shredding speed before you can actually achieve it in a controlled manner. It's taught me to relax the hand and use minimum amount of distance for great speed. Distance = Time.

Various styles of picking also twist the brain into remembering multiple picking patterns and rhythm. While confusing at first, with some practice can be helpful. You might find a lick that much easier or quicker just by changing the picking style used.

I highly recommend following the guitarist rule: learn both and develop what is natural.

This post has been edited by Azzaboi: Jan 18 2012, 06:53 AM
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Ben Higgins
post Jan 18 2012, 11:14 AM
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I'm not sure what 32nd notes at 108bpm is..

What are your speeds in 16th notes ? Are we talking straight groups of 4 or triplets ?

From your post you're clearly practising licks which cross over strings. That's one element of picking. Regardless of whther you choose to use alternate or economy you will still need to develop what I call straight line speed.

Before you worry about what motion to use, what is your limit for picking on one string with no distractions ? I find that crossing strings can make us think we're fast than we are because it allows our hand to change position without us knwing for sure if the picking technique is staying exactly the same or not.

Find some licks that work on one string and make sure that you can accurately alternate pick without your technique changing. If you start off feeling relaxed but you tense up and the movements become larger to compensate, then you still need to develop the up/down motion of alternate picking. You will still need this even if you cross strings with economy.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jan 18 2012, 12:47 PM
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I think Aaron's advice is a very good one, as you'll never know when you shall encounter different technical obstacles in your musical journeys and to get there, use Ben's words of wisdom wink.gif

I for one rarely use economy picking, as I am mostly and alternate or hybrid picker, but hey, that doesn't mean that technique has to stay a 'foreign land' for me smile.gif


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Alex Feather
post Jan 18 2012, 05:27 PM
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QUOTE (kyuss @ Jan 18 2012, 03:52 AM) *
So about a year ago i started to notice that i can play really clean and crisp at very fast speeds and at slow speeds but could not play very well at mid tempos; and that i had a pretty bad sense of timing when it came to soloing because i've never really practiced to a metronome.

So after hearing every one of my guitar heros claim that the key to success is building speed on a metronome (accuracy first, build slow, efficiency, etc. etc. etc.) i decided to take some of my favorite phases (as well as several exercises) and practice them slow and build on a metronome, strictly alternate picked. I hit my wall at about 108 bpm with 32nd notes, and stayed there for about a month of frustration when i realized all this time i was playing fast and clean i was using economy picking- every higher string i went up to i would always down stroke and every lower string i jumped to i would always up stroke.

So i started to practice these exercise and phrases and building on them economy picking style and i hit my wall at 180bpm, and within two weeks i was at 208 bpm. And all the while i developing my sense of timing.

The practice felt so good and I saw so much improvement, and so far it seems that everything that's meant to be alternate picked i can economy pick 10x better. Im temped to just leave my alternate picking undeveloped, is this wise? Or will it just hurt me later?

Thanks Guys

The good idea is to know how to do both! It will make you better guitar player and will help you in a future! It will give you options cause you just never know what you will need!
It takes time and a lot of hours but sooner you know it you will be able to do both!


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kyuss
post Jan 19 2012, 04:23 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jan 18 2012, 03:14 AM) *
I'm not sure what 32nd notes at 108bpm is..

What are your speeds in 16th notes ? Are we talking straight groups of 4 or triplets ?

From your post you're clearly practising licks which cross over strings. That's one element of picking. Regardless of whther you choose to use alternate or economy you will still need to develop what I call straight line speed.

Before you worry about what motion to use, what is your limit for picking on one string with no distractions ? I find that crossing strings can make us think we're fast than we are because it allows our hand to change position without us knwing for sure if the picking technique is staying exactly the same or not.

Find some licks that work on one string and make sure that you can accurately alternate pick without your technique changing. If you start off feeling relaxed but you tense up and the movements become larger to compensate, then you still need to develop the up/down motion of alternate picking. You will still need this even if you cross strings with economy.



I can actually pick as fast on one string as i can across many strings when i economy pick when i switch strings, And i guess i wasn't specific on the actual picking motions i am doing, 99% of it is alternate picking but when i switch strings i always economy pick to get to a different string, then resume alt picking.

For Example

E------------------12-----------------
B--12--13--15---------15--13--12

d u d d u d u

i can alternate pick on a single string perfectly, but when i change strings i always have to travel the smallest distance (economy) to the next string.

So I guess my biggest flaw is switching strings strictly alt picking, at least now i know what the exact flaw is smile.gif thanks!
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