Using Economy Picking To Enhance Solos And Simple Sweeping

author: snappedstrings6 date: 02/07/2011 category: guitar techniques
rating: 9.2 / votes: 9 
So we all know that economy picking is one of many ways to help you keep your speed and accuracy during particularly quick passages. Today we're going to explore how to mix economy and sweep picking to maximize your techniques. The sweep picking used in this exercise is derived from this lesson: Sweep Picking Exercises, which uses my styles of simple sweeping, however, it branches quite off of the particulars. Economy Picking Economy picking is basically keeping your pick in continuous motion towards whatever direction you will keep going. When staying on the same string, keep the flow with appropriate alternate picking. The best way to progress this technique, I believe, is a three note-per string scale. For Example
*' means pick upward, otherwise pick down.
      *     *     *     *     *     *   * *   * *   * *   * *   *
e|----------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------5-7-8---8-7-5-------------------------|
G|--------------------4-5-7---------------7-5-4-------------------|
D|--------------4-5-7---------------------------7-5-4-------------|
A|--------3-5-7---------------------------------------7-5-3-------|
E|--3-5-7---------------------------------------------------7-5-3-|
My reasoning behind using the scales to begin learning this technique is that other exercises only work on the right hand from the beginning--picking the strings open and then moving on to a mindless technique exercise. The two reasons I would use a scale are that: 1: Scales give more practical use, and theory. 2: Economy picking is truthfully a balancing and coordination act if this isn't practiced straight from a beginning, the ability for the left and right hand to work together well is slightly hindered. Economy picking is usable practically everywhere for several reasons: it won't affect your tone if you keep consistent up and down picking and it takes little thought once it is practiced well. Economy Picking used with Hammer-ons and sweep picking A down, up effect I often use in improv solos to show off my ability to switch in between. This is kind of a cheating sweep picking technique, but it is very useful just the same. For the economy picking use, pick down a pentatonic scale:
       * *   *   *   *   *
e|---8-5----------------------|
B|-------8-5------------------|
G|-----------7-5--------------|
D|---------------7-5----------|
A|-------------------7-5------|
E|-----------------------8-5--|
Note the odd picking at the very top of the riff. This is to help your turn around once you are ready to loop the lick. The sweep picking is more or less a series of hammered-on eighth notes that fit in the blues scale and keep your fingers moving in very natural direction. With a basic knowledge of the blues scale, this should come quite easy.
e|---------------------------5-8-|
B|-----------------------5h8-----|
G|-----------------5h7h8---------|
D|-------------5h7---------------|
A|-------5h6h7-------------------|
E|---5h8-------------------------|
And honestly this riff sounds awesome when you can play it really fast. Adding this will make it even more impressive sounding. Pick the last note of the lick, again for help with turn around. Now, combining the two licks is a pretty basic feat. You start from the beginning of either lick and just, well go. How I would probably use this:
                                 * *   *   *   *   *
e|---------------------------5-8-5-----------------------|
B|-----------------------5h8-------8-5-------------------|
G|-----------------5h7h8---------------7-5---------------|
D|-------------5h7-------------------------7-5-----------|
A|-------5h6h7---------------------------------7-5-------|
E|---5h8-------------------------------------------8-5h8-|
The coolest thing about this simple lick is it's simple, versatile, and you can transition from it easily or use it to transition easily. Who doesn't love a simple rip in pentatonic and blues scales? -snappedstrings6 (audio requested, but I don't know how to add them, they'll be appearing on my later lessons)
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