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Old 03-27-2013, 10:09 AM   #1
Telonius_ed
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How different should alt and down picking feel?

Hey, have recently been doing a lot of work trying to sort out my horrible alt picking technique, having to start again from basics. I've managed to stop myselft using a 'stiff arm' and have got some mobility in my wrist and fingers now (thank you Pebberbrown for your videos) and have significantly less tension in my arm and hand overall. One thing I am not sure on still, and cant find any information on, is how different strict down picking and strict alternate picking should FEEL.

Its a little tricky to explain so please bare with me. My qestion is essentially, is the alternate picking technique just the same as down picking, where when passing over the string on the way back up I hit it with an upstroke instead of passing over the top? Or is it a different 'feel'?

Another way of looking at my question is; is down picking the exact same motion as alt picking, just with the upstrokes missing the string entirely, or is down picking its own seperate technique?

The best example I could find to illustrate this is intro riff for 'Kill the King' by Megadeth. If you are playing this riff are you using the same technique the whole way through, just raising the pick enough to miss the upstroke when needed, are are the eith and sixteenth note sections played with a different wrist/finger motion?

When I have been trying that riff i sometimes fing that the two sections are wildly different in their feel, and other practice sessions they feel very similar. Any feedback appreciated.

Cheers. ed

Cheers for any feedback,
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:53 AM   #2
bondmorkret
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Good question! And I'm sure different people will give you different answers. When I alternate pick, I try to make it feel the same as doing just downstrokes, but catching the string on the upstroke. So no major change in technique. But this relies on your downstrokes technique being pretty solid!
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:58 AM   #3
vayne92
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I didn't really read this post too in depth but i find down picking feels significantly more aggressive which is probably why i like it so much.
Basically any riff that is possible to be down picked i'll almost always down pick it instead. At least with heavy metal / rock and that. Obviously i'm not gonna be doing some crazy down picking if i'm playing blues for instance.
My own personal little rule i've almost set in stone for myself these days is if you can down pick it, then down pick it.

Basically that's the immediate thing that comes to mind when i compare the two. Down picking to me is more aggressive.

EDIT: I also use thick 2mm picks because i also prefer that added aggression :P

I also think down picking is real satisfying. Executing a really fast and brutal riff with down picking to me just feels so good.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
innovine
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when i pick my way through some chords or a lead line i cant even tell which way i am picking as it all feeds the same. Although i probably play the same parts in mostly the same way, i can interchange up and downs fairly randomly. so no different technque at all really.
unlike the guy above, i find upstrokes to be more aggressive, at least during a lead. I think because the pick hits the string at obtuse angle, causing it to catch more. Downstrokes use an acute angle and are mor like brushing than plucking. compare slapping someones face with the front or back of your hand
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:06 PM   #5
vayne92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by innovine
unlike the guy above, i find upstrokes to be more aggressive, at least during a lead. I think because the pick hits the string at obtuse angle, causing it to catch more. Downstrokes use an acute angle and are mor like brushing than plucking. compare slapping someones face with the front or back of your hand


I was talking about down picking with riffs eg master of puppets etc opposed to the alternate picking riffs. We're not comparing upstrokes and downstrokes, we're comparing alternate picking and downpicking. Down up or down down. If the thread was about comparing downstrokes and upstrokes my response would've been completely different.

I for soloing a lot of the time prefer upstrokes but that's somewhat off topic.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:40 PM   #6
innovine
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My bad, i misunderstood. For palm muted chugs its down all the way.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:02 PM   #7
Geldin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telonius_ed
Another way of looking at my question is; is down picking the exact same motion as alt picking, just with the upstrokes missing the string entirely, or is down picking its own seperate technique?

No and yes. Down picking does feel different than alternate picking, but it shouldn't be a more tense feeling technique. They should feel like distinct techniques, but neither should be tense.
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