#1
But am I creating a bad habit by only using downstrums when i play? I taught myself to play and i started last X-mas. Ive gotten pretty good at playing that way, and im just wondering if i should change what im doing before i get really in the habit...
Gear

Fender Squier Sunburst Guitar
Boomer .011 Strings
Drop D Tuning (normally)
SX: Amplifier, 20 Watt
Digitech RP255 Effects Pedal

Favorite Bands
Metallica, Slipknot, and Godsmack
#3
You should. Being able to do upstrokes and downstrokes equally well is important. You'll only get half the speed with downstrokes as you will get with alternate picking.
#4
Yes. Start alternate picking everything, immediately. Except of course for riffs that are one hundred percent supposed to be downstroked, like most of Hetfields.

EDIT: Also! When doing strumming patterns on chords, make sure your picking hand never stops moving! When some strokes are longer than other strokes, you do not stop moving your picking hand, you simply pass your hand over it. It's kinda like if you see some one playing Dance Dance Revolution, and they still bounce to a beat that doesn't have a step. I see to many people not get over this.
Last edited by Macabre_Turtle at Jan 7, 2010,
#5
Even for slower songs, at times it makes a difference whether you downstrum or up. As for speedier stuffs, yeah alternate picking is a good way to go. But hey Johnny Ramone made a career out of downstrokes :-)
Two bands I'm obsessed about : Coheed and Cambria.
#6
You can probably get by if all you want to play is music that is nothing but down strokes but when you start learning how to alternate pick and get more comfortable with upstrokes you'll have a lot more fun with your instrument.
#7
Quote by metalhead181
But am I creating a bad habit by only using downstrums when i play? I taught myself to play and i started last X-mas. Ive gotten pretty good at playing that way, and im just wondering if i should change what im doing before i get really in the habit...

yes. you are limiting your ability if thats all you do. any time you can only do something one way, it is a limitation. everyone starts off that way more or less. i actually started with using my thumb. i actually got pretty good at it and could even alternate pick with my thumb eventually. but then i switched to the pick because i wanted more power behind the notes. of course i could have developed more into fingerstyle but i didnt. oh well. you just need to take the time to make sure you can go back and fourth.

try playing scales with all donstrokes, then with all upstrokes, then with alternate. then later on you can work on more advanced picking but for now just focus on those. as for when to do what, its really about what feels right and seems logical in terms of movement.
#8
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Yes. Start alternate picking everything, immediately. Except of course for riffs that are one hundred percent supposed to be downstroked, like most of Hetfields.

EDIT: Also! When doing strumming patterns on chords, make sure your picking hand never stops moving! When some strokes are longer than other strokes, you do not stop moving your picking hand, you simply pass your hand over it. It's kinda like if you see some one playing Dance Dance Revolution, and they still bounce to a beat that doesn't have a step. I see to many people not get over this.


So James Hetfield only uses downstrokes? Oh my god how can he pick that fast? Thats incredible, especially on songs like Master Of Puppets and Battery.
Gear

Fender Squier Sunburst Guitar
Boomer .011 Strings
Drop D Tuning (normally)
SX: Amplifier, 20 Watt
Digitech RP255 Effects Pedal

Favorite Bands
Metallica, Slipknot, and Godsmack
#9
Quote by metalhead181
So James Hetfield only uses downstrokes? Oh my god how can he pick that fast? Thats incredible, especially on songs like Master Of Puppets and Battery.


Master of Puppets is indeed pulled off with downstrokes only at that speed, but songs like Damage Inc. and Dyers Eve are alternate picked. No one can downpick that fast.
#10
Wow, now i respect Hetfield even more...
Gear

Fender Squier Sunburst Guitar
Boomer .011 Strings
Drop D Tuning (normally)
SX: Amplifier, 20 Watt
Digitech RP255 Effects Pedal

Favorite Bands
Metallica, Slipknot, and Godsmack
#11
Quote by metalhead181
Wow, now i respect Hetfield even more...



It's not just the speed he downpicks that is impressive, it's the power and accuracy.

Speed comes from repetition and practice, and by playing accurately and without tension in your muscles.
#12
Wow i didnt know that thanks....
Gear

Fender Squier Sunburst Guitar
Boomer .011 Strings
Drop D Tuning (normally)
SX: Amplifier, 20 Watt
Digitech RP255 Effects Pedal

Favorite Bands
Metallica, Slipknot, and Godsmack
#14
you need to be able to do it, whether you use it or not that is up to you, but being able to alternate pick is one of the most important techniques a guitarist needs to know. So definitely learn how to do it.

That being said, not everything has to be alternate picked. I'm guilty of doing nothing but down strokes, until solos/leads or some galloping, sometimes. But then I can play everything that I down stroke, with alternate picking as well and vice versa. I can't do breakdowns when I'm playing hardcore music alternate picking for some reason though. So I do everything down stroked lol.
#15
I got into the same habit and it felt like it was going to be really hard to break. I knew it was limiting me, so I put some effort into alternate picking. Before I knew it, I was alternate picking things I used to do all on downstrokes and it was sounding better.

A good practice song is Def Tones Passenger. The main riff is simple and is alternate all the way.
#16
try playing plug in baby by muse by alternate picking. That's what helped me grasp it, 'cus playing it with all downstrokes is A LOT harder!