Stamina School 2: Downpicking

by Ben Higgins

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  • Welcome to Stamina School 2.

    This time we're focusing our attention on down picking, or down strokes. Using only down strokes to play riffs is a popular technique in the world of heavy rock and metal, with bands like Metallica and Megadeth using it to great effect. It's quite a difficult technique to perform because it uses quite a lot of energy. Why is this ? Well, picking in only one direction is very limiting in terms of speed. It uses quite a lot of motion as opposed to alternate picking, which use the hands energy in a more efficient way by combine up & down strokes. However, with work and practice, many guitarists have used down picking to great effect because it has an aggressive tone due to the consistent nature of playing the same type of pick stroke. Of course, there is a natural limit to how fast a human can play downstrokes in a row.. but reaching your potential in down picking is a worthwile and useful exercise because it will enhance your rhythm playing and improve your overall stamina.

    Like the first instalment of Stamina School we focus on using our natural hand position to make this lesson concept effective. More info will follow in the videos. Enjoy !

    Part 1 - Explanation of natural hand position, why the concept works

    Part 2 - The exercise

    Part 3 - following on from the lesson, how to apply this to yourself.

    GEAR USED IN LESSON: Marshall JVM 410H. OD2 Channel (Red setting) Bass: 3 Mid: 3 Treb: 6 Gain: 3

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