I've had about 4 years of experience in guitar, I'd describe my skill as a little above intermediate. I, like many of you, like to play\practice playing lead guitar and fast licks. I just discovered, however, I've been picking probably wrong for the last while. Here's what I do.

Say I'm doing a scale run (a three-note-per-string pattern in this example). I'll pick "down, up, down" and then move to the next string, but when I'm technically supposed to follow with an upstroke, I start the same "down, up, down" pattern.

I always try to do alternate picking, but in different times this habit presents itself. And it really is a habit.
What I'd like to know is: Is this a bad thing, that I need to work hard to change, or is it "economy picking", or something else that's an acceptable picking technique?

Thanks for feedback and suggestions!
down up down
down up down

for every string?

That is called economy picking

I go

down up down
up down up
down up down

it just came naturally like that.
It sounds like economy picking, which is totally fine. I tend to use it more often because its so efficient and involves less jumping around. All picking patterns give different sounds and accent different notes and some riffs just sound better with one or the other. Sometimes downpicking all of the notes is a good idea, it can give the riff a more aggressive tone (a lot of punk chord progressions and galloping riffs in metal use this).

It all depends on the situation and whatever is more comfortable for you and your style.
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I thought it might have been economy picking, but wasn't familiar with it. It generally works fine for me, the only drawback is it makes my hand cramp up slightly at faster speeds, where pure alternate picking seems to "flow" better.

It's strange though, because when playing two notes or four notes per string, I play completely alternate picking.
Last edited by Capm Canuck at Feb 2, 2009,

It has made sweep picking a little easier to work on since I already do that.

Thanks for the help.
Last edited by Capm Canuck at Feb 2, 2009,
It's not really a problem... But you should be able to alternate pick everything. Play it slow, and force yourself to go down up down up down up down up. Eventually it will come naturally.
Yeah there is nothing wrong with your picking, it's just how you feel comfortable. I personally cant use economy picking as i'm just not used to it, i have to strictly alternate pick everything.
Quote by Nilpferdkoenig
Economy picking wouldn't make much sense on even note numbers

in that case you just be doing alternate picking, however economical you tried to be
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