Alternate picking for the casual player Lesson Plan

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Alternate picking for the casual player
Posted by Iluha

Alternate Picking is one of the hardest, if not the hardest technique to develop simply because it requires alot of time and patience, two things that alot of people, including me, lack! so I thought I'd share this plan with all the people out there who are like me and want to improve alternate picking, but lack the time and patience to sit down for hours of picking exercises, instead plan will show you a more intresting path that will hopefully give you the idea on how to keep things intresting when practicing this extremly tedious technique!

Lesson Order:

1) Pavel's Alternate Picking 1 Starting Bpm=60 Target Bpm=120
2) Pavel's Alternate Picking 2 Starting Bpm=60 Target Bpm=130
3) Muris's Alternate Picking Bpm Varies(Read below)
4) Pavel's Alternate Picking 1 Starting Bpm=80 Target Bpm=130
5) Pavel's Alternate Picking 2 Starting Bpm=100 Target Bpm=136
6) Muris's Alternate Picking Bpm Varies(Read below)
7) Pavel's Alternate Picking 1 Starting Bpm=100 Target Bpm=136

So are you getting the idea of this plan? It's a very simple concept, you take a lesson, learn it to a certain bpm, than switch to the next lesson, learn it to a bit higher bpm, and so on until you reach the point that you want to go back to previous lessons and increase you'r bpm there!

This specific plan is for the beginners-intermidiate, the ones who are just starting to learn alternate picking, check out Pavel's Alternate Picking 1 lesson, now take only the first 2 bars and focus you'r practicing on them, start off at 60 bpm, and if needed even slower, and focus mostly on you'r picking hand, making sure you alternate pick constantly, once you get alternate pick without thinking too much about it(should take a few times) you will be able to make a big leap in you'r bpm, I know you'r probably thinking it looks like a long way from 60 to 120, but trust me it isn't and you should be able to reach the 120 mark in a few days(for some it will take less, for some more). Once you achieve that, switch to Pavel's Alternate Picking 2, again practicing only the first 2 or 3 bars, start at 60 bpm again, because it's a diffrent pattern and you need to adjust to alternate picking again(don't worry it will get easier later on), and do the same procedure you did with the first lesson, only that this time push yourself to the 130 bpm mark! After youv'e done that, I bet you feel tired and ready to switch to something new and exciting, so now check out Muris's Alternate Picking lesson, "Wow, what do I do?, it's diffrent!" I hear you think to yourself, but worry not, pick a small section of the lesson(2 or 3 bars), and do as you did in the first two lesson, lower the tempo to a very comfortable speed(I lowerd it to 40 on some parts) and work you'r way up to a reachable goal, or until you get tired of the exercise and feel it's time to move on!

And so we finished our first cycle of lessons, now it's time to go back to those lessons to find that it's easier to improve now! YAY! that's because we still continued gaining experience in alternate picking and at the same time kept changing what we were playing to keep things intresting! so now go back to the first lesson, start off at a moderate tempo(for this example it's 80) to remind yourself of the pattern, and push you'r bpm limit further than 120 up to 130, and if that was easy for you, than push it even further! now go on to the second lesson and do the same thing, start at a moderate tempo to remind yourself of the pattern and work past you'r previous bpm limit to new heights! the reason I wrote 136 and not a bigger number, because to me it becomes really hard working up bpm's after the 130 mark, so I work on smaller steps to not lose intrest.
And finally you are back at the third most intresting lesson, now here you got three options, you can either continue working on the same part you already started with, or you can switch to a diffrent part and learn an entire new pattern, or(my recomendation) work on both the old and new patterns together, as now is just about the time you'll be able to work on two diffrent alternate picking without feeling it's too long and boring(Talking from personal experience).

So as you can see it's preety much a wash, dry, repeat procedure, just as long as you keep changing what you'r practicing from time to time, and when you feel you need more stuff to work on you should add more exercises(Work towards working on 4 exerices at once to begin with), and it should keep you'r restless spirit entertained.

Some lesson suggestions you could borrow patterns from:
1)Muris's Thirds Alternate Picking
2)Pavel's Alternate Picking 4
3)Walliman's Alternate Picking Chops
4)Gaberiel Leopardi's Shred Solo

Also check out RIPdime's wonderful guide at the first post, he provded alot of links to lessons so you go a whole pattern/lick/exercises library just there!

If you have any questions about this feel free to PM me! ~Iluha