Economy Picking FAQ

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Question: "I play outside string shifts at about half the speed of inside shifts and I noticed that I tend to naturally economy pick but I dont possess the speed I want. Should I just slow way down and really focus on these outside shifts or keep my natural style and determine how to get more speed out of it?"


"I'm by no means expert, but had the same problem of using economy picking instead of outside picking but I decided with the advice of some students and instructors here at GMC to drop that habbit, alternate picking is just more fluent and even for most of the things we play and economy is easier for slow and middle speeds but alternate because of the predictabillity is much better when you start going faster and faster, my advice to you is to use mainly alternate and practice your outside string shifts slowly, believe its hard but I think in 2 weeks in which you make yourself only play alternate you'll see its much more natural"

"Try more to master alternate picking better. But no need to quit on economy, both ways are good and useful depending on situation."

"All combinations should be exercised equally for optimal results, but of course it is up to you how you will build your picking technique range. If you feel that you should focus more in outside shifts, then do it - it can only do you good."

"If economy is slowing you down try alternate picking for a change. Either way I think you should practice all techniques and have a choice when you play certain runs."

Question: "I have never before thought about the way I pick, and thought that what I did was alternative. A few days ago I sat down and looked at what I did. Of course it was Economy picking. But I don't see why you would want to play Alternative picking, as Economy let's you move faster between the strings. So is there a reason to why you would want to play Alternative, and what is good about it? "


"So, the thing is, alternate and economy are quite different, they sound different, they give you different results, they offer you different ideas once you master them nicely etc. And no, you cannot play everything with economy, try 2nps patterns like pentatonic runs and you'll realize. Same thing goes for alternate, when you cannot play it with alternate then most likely economy is the way to go. Practice both, they are both useful though alternate has few advantages more."

"I am personaly a fan of alternate picking but sometimes I use economy for a better approach in horizontal scale patterns and arpeggios. There is a big differnce between the two. If I demonstrate you some fast 16th triplets licks you would realize that there is probably no human being that could posibly execute that with economy picking. The same applies the other way around. Learn both and use them when appropriate."

"Both techniques have different applications and are equally useful. We can go on about it and mention players that rarely (if ever) use alternate (Holdsworth, Gambale) or talk about guys that rarely use economy (Gilbert for example!). Bottom line is why not practice both?"

"I went through the same thing when I started playing. I had been playing about 6 months and I used economy picking. I thought there is no way that this is not the best way to play its just seemed so much easier. Then I decided I wanted to shred. So I started to watch and play Paul Gilbert Riffs. Pretty soon I started to get stuck. When I say stuck I mean I would lose my rhythm and crash right in the middle of a run. To make a long story short the only way I could advance was to learn how to use strict alternate picking. I still use economy picking but mainly when I play blues or something that has a lot of Legato. "