#1
Hello people. I'm trying to improve my speed and I read around that alt. picking is better than economy picking, which I've adquired naturally, which I guess is normal since it's easier (I really never cared until now).

I guess that after 2 years of economy picking, switching to alt. will be a hassle, but anyway, I dont get how is it supposed to be faster since it includes more movement? Discuss, and any advice on training methods will be appreciated too.


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#2
It isn't theoretically faster at all but also in practice, neither of them is actually faster at all if your technique is good and well practiced.

Really they serve different purposes: they have different tones and lend themselves to different ideas and applications.
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#3
You should know both. End of discussion. People will argue all day about which is better but the truth is, you need to use them both. Plus, there are some things that you just can't economy pick. That being said, if you can play something using eco picking, I think it's unnecessary to re learn it using alt picking
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#4
Quote by QuantumMechanix
You should know both. End of discussion. People will argue all day about which is better but the truth is, you need to use them both. Plus, there are some things that you just can't economy pick. That being said, if you can play something using eco picking, I think it's unnecessary to re learn it using alt picking



That's what I thought. Anyway, to start practicing it, how should I do it? I can control it when I practice super slow but at higher speeds I eco pick without noticing, if that makes sense


Quote by a_hub10
I keep my Schecter in dropped D all the time, and i didn't buy an attachment of any kind.

Quote by CraftyTrickster
You should just tell the seller: ¡Boludo!
#5
Quote by haceteunosmates
That's what I thought. Anyway, to start practicing it, how should I do it? I can control it when I practice super slow but at higher speeds I eco pick without noticing, if that makes sense

I know what you mean. It's just all muscle memory. I'm the opposite way - I naturally alternate pick just about everything and have a har time eco picking. Just keep practicing it slow and make sure you keep that Up-Down-Up-Down motion. But for songs you can already play well using eco picking, I don't see why not to use it. Alternate picking would be more useful for single string runs and situations where you really can't eco pick
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#6
i took dimebagsadvice,try and get your up pick as strong as your down,he loves james hetfield downpicking but he can do the same with alt picking.
#7
I don't want to derail this thread, but what exactly are alternate picking and economy picking?

I've been playing a long time, yet have been entirely self taught and play by ear. It's likely that I use both of those techniques, but I just need to educate myself, lol.
#8
Different techniques do different things.

Jeff Loomis has stated that he will go down a scale alternate picking, go up a scale economy picking, and throw some legato in at different times. It's not that it's faster, it just has different benefits from other picking techniques.
#9
Quote by KailM
I don't want to derail this thread, but what exactly are alternate picking and economy picking?

I've been playing a long time, yet have been entirely self taught and play by ear. It's likely that I use both of those techniques, but I just need to educate myself, lol.

Alternate picking is when you pick down up down up etc. no matter what

economy picking is when you alternate pick, but when changing strings going in the direction you're moving. Think of it as alternate picking with mini sweeps mixed in. Some people think it's more efficient
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#10
Quote by QuantumMechanix
You should know both. End of discussion. People will argue all day about which is better but the truth is, you need to use them both. Plus, there are some things that you just can't economy pick. That being said, if you can play something using eco picking, I think it's unnecessary to re learn it using alt picking


No you don't. Either one can be used.
#11
Ok, looking at it from a objective point of view, here are the main pros and cons of each, take what you will from it.

Alternate picking:
Pros
-Consistent articulation, often wanted for tight scale runs
-Theoretically, there's only 2 patterns you ever need to do which is either up, down, up or down, up, down etc. so once you get that down, you can pretty much play any song and every single song will have the same picking pattern (albeit on different strings, but many patterns will begin to overlap). To clarify, regardless of the scale I play, a 1/3/5/7/9+ and 2/4/6/8+ note per string run is ALWAYS going to have the same picking pattern, so this pattern gets practiced repeatedly even if different notes are played.

Cons
-Not very economic in the sense that there is a lot of unneeded movement due to keeping the constant up down up pattern.
-Can often sound almost mechanical/robotic due to consistent articulation.
-Utilizes a lot of "outside picking," which can feel very uncomfortable for economy picking players to pick up on. "Outside picking" is where 2 adjacent strings must be attacked by the pick from the outside of the guitar.


Economy picking:
Pros:
-Very good for conserving energy and keeping unneeded movement down to a minimum (this is the MAIN reason).
-Can sound quite "organic" in the way that the articulation continues to change in accordance to shape being played on the fretboard.

Cons:
-Can sound quite sloppy if played without consideration.
-Different pick pattern each time depending on what you're playing so sometimes you need to consider exactly how you're going to tackle a passage before playing it (for the people who are going to say, "oh I just do whatever comes naturally the first time I play." You may not actually be economy picking, especially if it is a fast phrase since this technique requires the picking pattern to follow the direction of the notes on adjacent strings).

As you can see there are pros and cons to both and there are great players who advocate both techniques. In an ideal world you want to be able to do both and use each technique in the appropriate contexts where their cons are minimized and pros optimized.

As for your question on which is faster, neither is faster, its a question of how much practice is invested in either technique.
#12
Quote by SonOfPest
No you don't. Either one can be used.

Try economy picking this:

|-1-2-3-2-3-4-3-4-5-4-5-6---|
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#13
Economy picking is just an add-on to alt picking so, essentially, you're doing it already. I wouldn't change a thing that you're doing.
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#14
Quote by QuantumMechanix
Try economy picking this:

|-1-2-3-2-3-4-3-4-5-4-5-6---|


The most economic thing to do (in terms of movement) there is alternate picking?
So in that instance, alternate picking is eco picking.
#15
QuantumMechanix, TrueBlues, if you guys carry this on, I'm reporting both of you. Warning you right now.
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#16
re: aspire.rabbit

Your pros/cons concerning articulation in each style are more issues with a lack of mastery in either technique than characteristics of the techniques themselves. Good technique leads to a fluid sound in both styles and articulation should be a matter of phrasing rather than which direction your picking hand is moving in at the time. It's entirely a question of consistency vs economy of motion/ease of playing if your picking hand is well trained.
Last edited by Nightfyre at Mar 30, 2011,
#17
Economy picking isn't any different to alternate picking except for ONE pickstroke - people greatly exaggerate the difference imho. With that being the case, it stands to reason that economy picking is only really faster if you can get your notes to "line up" with the ideal pickstrokes - ie, if you're sweeping.

Generally I would recommend starting with alternate picking and moving to economy picking but if you're consistent and are getting a sound you like after two years of economy picking, I'd say stick with it.

If you want to improve your speed the basic principles are to stay as relaxed as possible and make small, precise movements. Seeing as you're economy picking, scale fingerings are super, super important for developing speed and fluidity. Check this out for a really clear demonstration -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-e0e8haczo&feature=related
#18
As I've said before, I've been playing since the 70s and I had never heard of "economy" picking until recently.
When I started working on flatpicking technique, mostly in bluegrass and country stuff, alternate picking was just what you did. That was the standard. That was how you played fast single-string runs.
Now no one ever got all bent out of shape if you had to deviate from a strict up-and-down pattern to address a certain passage... You just did what you needed to do to play the figure.
Much as Freepower is saying above.
It's the essential method used to play tremolo lines on mandolin and similar instruments, and it's not physically possible to achieve much more speed than that.
#19
Sorry for late reply, my internet broke down.

So basically, I need to know both. But which should I use with shredding? Eco sounds more natural to me. I mean, it's faster.


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Quote by CraftyTrickster
You should just tell the seller: ¡Boludo!
#21
If you want to learn to shred then alternate picking will come in handy big time. But if you've been playing for two years using ecomony picking, wouldn't that involve alternate picking anyway?
#22
Quote by Nightfyre
re: aspire.rabbit

Your pros/cons concerning articulation in each style are more issues with a lack of mastery in either technique than characteristics of the techniques themselves. Good technique leads to a fluid sound in both styles and articulation should be a matter of phrasing rather than which direction your picking hand is moving in at the time. It's entirely a question of consistency vs economy of motion/ease of playing if your picking hand is well trained.


I'm basing this off guitarists that I've seen and heard, and "mastery" of a technique is an idealized concept, I don't believe it actually exists (or else many would cease to practice after they've "mastered" something). All you can do is get it to is a level acceptable to you. Theoretically if you played economy picking with perfect strength on both down and up picks, the articulation would be the exact same as alternate picking. But the reality is that for most people, their down picks will have more force in them than an up pick, regardless of how hard they try to control it, especially when speed comes into play (which is sort of what this thread is about, playing quickly).

Off the top of my head, the best example I can think of is perhaps Petrucci vs. Loomis. Both are amazing guitarists, I don't think anyone on these forums has a right to say otherwise, but if you listen closely you can hear the differences in articulation in many of their runs. While both are playing cleanly you'll notice Petrucci's runs sound almost like a metronome due to his picking articulation (that ticking sound you hear when his pick hits the string). Where as if Jeff were to do a similar run, it would sound somewhat "fluid" (for want of a better word) due to slight changes in articulation.

But yes I agree I've overexaggerated for argument's sake, at the end of the day if you're good with either it won't make much difference to most listeners.
#23
Economy picking [minus sweeping, I guess], involves alternate picking.

I do both, BUT I never outside pick. I find it a waste of time. When I'm doing pentatonics, or anything that requires multiples of 2 notes per string, I'll be alternate picking. If it's odd, economy.

I acutually start out with alternate when I do scale runs, then I go over to economy. Outside picking to me feels awkward and pointless to do when I can achieve what I want with less energy; the goal of guitar is less energy to get the desired sound. When I used less force on my fingers (now virtually none) my speed proportionally increased with the lack of pressure put on the strings.

I can do economy anywhere.
I can do alternate with inside picking anywhere
I choose not to bother with alternate picking that involves keeping an outside pick.


With the above I can still do everything I want and more, I can accent the notes I want and a situation hasn't come up where I've had to ever outside pick.
Does that mean I shun it?
No of course not, I have tried it and I can go 110 bpm 16th note with outside alternate picking if need be [whilst being awkward as hell], but economy I can fly at 180+ bpm without much thought.
: )
#24
I'll concede that I was rather free with the use of the word "mastery". Proficiency would have been a better choice but unfortunately didn't come to mind at the time. It's also a subjective term but I'm unsure of how to improve on that

I don't deny there may be a subtle aural difference between up and downstrokes, but technique should be such that you can accent any note as you please and that the overall feel of a lick would not change if picking motions were reversed (within reason - I'm not demanding this be true if an economy picker suddenly outside picked everything!). These are all 100% subjective though and we're definitely digging into and exaggerating minutiae
#25
Haha yeah, but a healthy debate and discussion is what makes progress Hopefully these viewpoints will get other forum users brains running and really question how technique can be approached.
#26
Quote by Prog_Metal_Head
If you want to learn to shred then alternate picking will come in handy big time. But if you've been playing for two years using ecomony picking, wouldn't that involve alternate picking anyway?



I think I'm not following. How could I eco pick without up and down strokes anyway? It'd be hell to just up or down pick everything on a same string

I also dont get how (when changing from a string to another) alt picking is going to get me faster than eco. It'd require an outside pick which requires more time to hit the string because I have to go past it and hit it, say, with an up stroke

I dont know. I just really want to play fast you know. My axe has the neck warped and my action is like crazy high (1cm). I'm getting a new RG1570 next week and I'm hoping I'll improve at least something. I dedicate almost 1 hour every day to speed and technique even on the crappy guitar. And I thought that eco would get me nowhere. I have never measured myself. Maybe I should..


Quote by a_hub10
I keep my Schecter in dropped D all the time, and i didn't buy an attachment of any kind.

Quote by CraftyTrickster
You should just tell the seller: ¡Boludo!
#27
I also dont get how (when changing from a string to another) alt picking is going to get me faster than eco. It'd require an outside pick which requires more time to hit the string because I have to go past it and hit it, say, with an up stroke


Yeah, but you often have to inside pick, no?

Or else you're just sweeping.

If you can arrange the notes so you're sweeping almost all of them, then yeah, it's faster than alternate. That's the point.
#28
Quote by Freepower
Yeah, but you often have to inside pick, no?

Or else you're just sweeping.

If you can arrange the notes so you're sweeping almost all of them, then yeah, it's faster than alternate. That's the point.


Depends. I do alternate on certain solos, but when I'm just playing scale runs I'm almost sure I only use eco.

I once read somewhere, if it sounds good then it's good, if it sounds like crap, then it probably is :/


Quote by a_hub10
I keep my Schecter in dropped D all the time, and i didn't buy an attachment of any kind.

Quote by CraftyTrickster
You should just tell the seller: ¡Boludo!
#29
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
QuantumMechanix, TrueBlues, if you guys carry this on, I'm reporting both of you. Warning you right now.

Really dude? I said one thing to him. No one here is arguing. Chill. I'm just saying the are situations when the most economical way to pick is to alternate pick. So, you should really learn to alternate pick because it can be used in ANY situation.
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#31
I strictly economy picked for my first 2 years and I don't think it was TOO helpful. Sure, I can do many tricks with it nowadays but alternate picking is just much more useful to me. Outside picking is a bitch now for me.

Maybe someone will say I'm terribly wrong but master alternate picking before economy picking, it's just more useful in my opinion.
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#32
**** alternate picking..

Go economy all the way. If you need to practice a fast run/lick, just go slower at first like any other hard/fast licks...

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