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  1. #1
    Unchained Mister T.'s Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 04:39 PM
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    Default Question - Alternate Picking

    Hey -

    I've always been perplexed about 'proper' alternate picking.

    Using a G major scale for example starting on string 6 where G-A-B are picked, then C-D-E on string 5:

    My motion is always to strike G downward, A upward, and B downward v ^ v

    Then when I move to string 5 for G-A-B my motion remains the same v ^ v

    So I've always thought the most important thing was for the right hand to maintain the v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ motion.

    But isn't this rather inefficient because in order to maintain that motion, you literally have to move from string 6, then pass over string 5 just so you can hit the C note with an upstroke.

    Wouldn't it be better to instead do: v ^ v v ^ v ??

    What do you do?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 12:18 AM
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    Default

    I will sometimes change the order if it's more efficient to do it that way. Just feels weird otherwise. It depends on how fast the passage is as well. If it's too fast you might break the continuity if you change the picking order. I very rarely attempt to play lightning fast runs, and if so they are short and I can squeak them out. There probably won't be a panel of judges scoring your alternate picking technique when you're on stage. LOL Maybe search the heavy hitters like Vai for a mini-lesson on youtube which shows their picking technique. I know that Edward "I don't know any scales" Van Halen would say to do what feels right and sounds right. In the end, for rock guitar that's probably a good way to go.

    Another thing my guitar teacher tried to teach me back in the 70's was proper hand position on the neck. He said if your thumb hangs over the fretboard you're just being lazy and it will hold you back. Mind you, this is when I was being taught rock standards like "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and "Theme From The Godfather". There are times when you just HAVE to do it though to hit a note on the low E string on a complex chord. I do it and I'm proud of it! Still, when I do it I remember him telling me not to back in 1976.

  3. #3
    Top Of The World MasterP's Avatar
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    11.19.17 @ 08:20 AM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister T. View Post
    Hey -

    I've always been perplexed about 'proper' alternate picking.

    Using a G major scale for example starting on string 6 where G-A-B are picked, then C-D-E on string 5:

    My motion is always to strike G downward, A upward, and B downward v ^ v

    Then when I move to string 5 for G-A-B my motion remains the same v ^ v

    So I've always thought the most important thing was for the right hand to maintain the v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ motion.

    But isn't this rather inefficient because in order to maintain that motion, you literally have to move from string 6, then pass over string 5 just so you can hit the C note with an upstroke.

    Wouldn't it be better to instead do: v ^ v v ^ v ??

    What do you do?

    Thanks
    Yeah, I hear ya. I find that when I go from one string to another that I usually downpick on the new string. After a while it comes down to how best to phrase a line than anything else.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk Little Dreamer's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 10:58 PM
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    Default

    The advantage of strict alternate picking is that your right hand gets into a kind of "automatic rhythm" where you don't even need to think about it. For a great example of strict alternate picking, listen to Steve Morse, especially his solo stuff. He's the cleanest picker out there!
    Little Dreamer

  5. #5
    Eruption smme5150's Avatar
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    04.08.16 @ 04:20 PM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister T. View Post
    Hey -

    I've always been perplexed about 'proper' alternate picking.

    Using a G major scale for example starting on string 6 where G-A-B are picked, then C-D-E on string 5:

    My motion is always to strike G downward, A upward, and B downward v ^ v

    Then when I move to string 5 for G-A-B my motion remains the same v ^ v

    So I've always thought the most important thing was for the right hand to maintain the v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ motion.

    But isn't this rather inefficient because in order to maintain that motion, you literally have to move from string 6, then pass over string 5 just so you can hit the C note with an upstroke.

    Wouldn't it be better to instead do: v ^ v v ^ v ??

    What do you do?

    Thanks
    I do exactly what you described and it drives me nuts!!! I have picked like this for so many years that when I try to really work on strict alternate picking I literally get all screwed up! Like you, it makes no sense to me to cross over a string that you could have picked on the way down. I am not sure but I believe what we do, and what seems to come natural to us, is known as hybrid picking? I think I've read that Frank Gambale does this and he is wicked!

    I will break it all down and do strict alternate picking and then get all pissed off and go back to what's confortable. I will have to admit this really bothers me that I can't or won't do this. It's been a huge stumbling block for me.

    Anybody have any ideas or is this method somewhat acceptable?

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk Little Dreamer's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 10:58 PM
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    Default

    What you do is not hybrid picking, as this involves mixing fingers and pick. It's called sweep picking, which in essence means when you go to a higher string, you down pick, and when you go to a lower string, you'll pick "up."
    Little Dreamer

  7. #7
    Sinner's Swing! Bullwinkle's Avatar
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    06.07.15 @ 10:30 AM
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    Default

    I've also heard it called "economy picking."
    Best answer is to get good at playing it both ways. Each way sounds different.

    There's a session player named Brad Davis who has made a whole technique of using consecutive down strokes. Basically, a two-string lick with down on one string, down on the next string and back up on that same string. It's called "Double Down Up" for obvious reasons. You can get a sound that you can't get with straight alternate picking.







    Don't read this.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk Little Dreamer's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 10:58 PM
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    Default

    Word, economy picking is also a term used. Although it makes me think of flying Southwest, donno, not an appealing term!
    Little Dreamer

 

 

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