Economy Picking Exercises

author: Sizzlor date: 08/03/2010 category: guitar techniques
rating: 6.6 / votes: 8 
n - Down pick v - Up pick In this lesson I would like to share with you some of the exercises I have created that have helped me develop my economy picking, not that I am great at it! Also I will show you 3 scale shapes which the lesson is based around. I am assuming you already know what economy picking is, if not check out ZeGuitarist's lesson which is a really great introduction to economy picking. This is the first scale shape, it may look familiar to a lot of guitarists since it is the Minor scale (or Aeolian Mode). Since the scale starts on E, this is the E Minor Scale or E Aeolian Mode. (If modes confuse you, just ignor it for now since that is not the focus of the lesson and you can easily get through the lesson without knowing about modes) What I have done here is broken up the larger scale into smaller fragments of one octave. The larger pattern is just an extended version of the two smaller fragments combined, creating a guitar friendly 3 note per string pattern. If you are familiar with this scale you will recognise this as the first position of the Minor scale.
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|----------------13-15-17-----|
|-----------------------------|-------12-14-16--------------|
|-------------------12-14-----|-14-16-----------------------|
|----------12-14-15-----------|-----------------------------|
|-12-14-15--------------------|-----------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------14-15-17----|
|-------------------------------------13-15-17-------------|
|----------------------------12-14-16----------------------|
|-------------------12-14-16-------------------------------|
|----------12-14-15----------------------------------------|
|-12-14-15-------------------------------------------------|
The next shape uses half of the notes of the previous one but extends to lower notes. This scale is the D Mixolydian Mode (again ignor it if it confuses you). Again if you're familiar with scale shapes you may notice this is the 7th position of the Minor scale as a 3 note per string pattern.
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|-------------------13-15-----|
|-----------------------------|----------12-14-16-----------|
|-------------------10-12-----|-12-14-16--------------------|
|----------10-12-14-----------|-----------------------------|
|-10-12-14--------------------|-----------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------12-14-15----|
|-------------------------------------12-13-15-------------|
|----------------------------11-12-14----------------------|
|-------------------10-12-14-------------------------------|
|----------10-12-14----------------------------------------|
|-10-12-14-------------------------------------------------|
And the final shape is the second position of the Minor scale (F# Locrian in the case of E Minor).
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|----------------15-17-19-----|
|-----------------------------|-------14-16-17--------------|
|-------------------14-16-----|-16-17-----------------------|
|----------14-15-17-----------|-----------------------------|
|-14-15-17--------------------|-----------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------15-17-19----|
|-------------------------------------15-17-19-------------|
|----------------------------14-16-17----------------------|
|-------------------14-16-17-------------------------------|
|----------14-15-17----------------------------------------|
|-14-15-17-------------------------------------------------|
If you are not familiar with these shapes, I would suggest getting used to them before trying to practice a larger pattern. Right, so let's move onto the actual economy picking exercises! This first exercise is the E Minor scale starting on the 12th fret which slides up to the next "position" so you are coming down the scale in a different pattern. Work slowly at getting the smooth transition between the strings on the down picks, also watch out for the switch to a previous string (this will test you alternate picking also). On the way back down work at getting a smooth transition between strings with the up picks. Notice the two patterns, ascending up the 1st position and descending through the second position.
||-----------------------------------------------------------------14-15-17-|
||o-------------------------------------------------------13-15-17----------|
||-----------------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16-------------------|
||--------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16----------------------------|
||o----------12-14-15-------------------------------------------------------|
||--12-14-15----------------------------------------------------------------|
    n  v  n  n  v  n  n  v  n  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  n  v  n  n  v  n

|-19-17-15-----------------------------------------------------------------||
|----------19-17-15-------------------------------------------------------o||
|-------------------17-16-14----------17-16-14-----------------------------||
|----------------------------17-16-14----------17-16-14--------------------||
|-------------------------------------------------------17-15-14----------o||
|----------------------------------------------------------------17-15-14--||
  v  n  v  v  n  v  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n
This exercises is almost identical, except instead of going to a higher position, you move down to a lower position. The picking pattern remains the same, but as I assume you are already familiar with economy picking you should be able to tell where you would use the technique.
||-----------------------------------------------------------------14-15-17-|
||o-------------------------------------------------------13-15-17----------|
||-----------------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16-------------------|
||--------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16----------------------------|
||o----------12-14-15-------------------------------------------------------|
||--12-14-15----------------------------------------------------------------|

|-15-14-12-----------------------------------------------------------------||
|----------15-13-12-------------------------------------------------------o||
|-------------------14-12-11----------14-12-11-----------------------------||
|----------------------------14-12-10----------14-12-10--------------------||
|-------------------------------------------------------14-12-10----------o||
|----------------------------------------------------------------14-12-10--||
The final exercise is similar, but instead of playing through the scales as groups of 4 strings, this exercises uses groups of 3 strings. Instead of coming down through the 2nd position, you can come down the 7th position for some variation or even alternate between patterns on each repetition of the exercise.
||--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
||o-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
||-----------------------------------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16-|
||--------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16----------12-14-16----------|
||o----------12-14-15----------12-14-15-------------------------------------|
||--12-14-15----------------------------------------------------------------|
    n  v  n  n  v  n  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n

|----------------------------14-15-17-19-17-15----------------------------|
|-13-15-17----------13-15-17-------------------19-17-15----------19-17-15-|
|----------12-14-16-------------------------------------17-16-14----------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  n  v  n  v  n  v  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n 

|--------------------------------------------------------------------------||
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------o||
|-17-16-14----------17-16-14-----------------------------------------------||
|----------17-16-14----------17-16-14----------17-16-14--------------------||
|-------------------------------------17-15-14----------17-15-14----------o||
|----------------------------------------------------------------17-15-14--||
  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  v  n  v
Thanks for checking out the lesson and I hope you can take something away from it!
More Sizzlor lessons:
+ Economy Picking Exercises. Part 2 Guitar Techniques 08/04/2010
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