#1
Hi all, so I made a video to send to a band mate with one our new songs' intro/verse thing, and I noticed that I do an obscene amount of downpicking. I could probably use way less tension if I alternate picked, but I think I default to downpicking because I like the attack-y sound it has.

Here's the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db9x-oPLyQQ&feature=youtu.be

So, my question:

Can downpicking like this lead to injury? Is it bad to keep doing this or is it simply preference?

I can alternate pick quick runs fine (seen after the main riff where I just mess around for no reason), so would I be better off just learning to alternate pick where I want to downpick when it comes to quick riffs like in the video?

Thanks a lot!
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Last edited by Scopic at Dec 22, 2011,
#2
as fast and as tense as you're playing it could cause problems, work on alternate picking and relax you should be able to play the same thing just as precisely loose, and are les prone to injury
#5
As already said downpicking wont lead to injury per se, but it will lead to misconceptions and inconsistent picking if you think that downpicking (a single note) is more attackish/sick/strong/Etc..

in an ideal world of perfect technique, your downstrokes and upstrokes should sound the same.
If you downpick way more than you uppick, your upstrokes will suffer (which are usually weaker for almost every guitarist) and your alternate picking will suffer. (on the long run)
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#6
Quote by Slashiepie
As already said downpicking wont lead to injury per se, but it will lead to misconceptions and inconsistent picking if you think that downpicking (a single note) is more attackish/sick/strong/Etc..

in an ideal world of perfect technique, your downstrokes and upstrokes should sound the same.
If you downpick way more than you uppick, your upstrokes will suffer (which are usually weaker for almost every guitarist) and your alternate picking will suffer. (on the long run)


While I mostly agree with that point, downpicking and alternate picking still have a different sound. It's not because of the individual pickstrokes; my downpicks and up-picks sound exactly the same on single notes yet my alt picking and downpicking sound different. It's because if you're downpicking and palm muting at the same time, the action of raising your hand ready for the next downpick has a nice little stop effect on the sound whereas if you alt pick the note will ring out for longer. Sure you could mute the note after each alt pick stroke to get a similar effect but this would a) require really fast muting and b) not sound quite the same.
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#7
Quote by llBlackenedll
While I mostly agree with that point, downpicking and alternate picking still have a different sound. It's not because of the individual pickstrokes; my downpicks and up-picks sound exactly the same on single notes yet my alt picking and downpicking sound different. It's because if you're downpicking and palm muting at the same time, the action of raising your hand ready for the next downpick has a nice little stop effect on the sound whereas if you alt pick the note will ring out for longer. Sure you could mute the note after each alt pick stroke to get a similar effect but this would a) require really fast muting and b) not sound quite the same.


mmm tasty point, will experiment a.s.a.p

I mute all my upper strings with the right hand (finger joints) and everything else with the thumb so it might be different for me.
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#8
From what I can see, you're holding your pick "wrong".

Looks like you're holding it like this, wich is wrong



You should "flex" your index further, like in this picture:



At first, it will feel acward, weird and you won't play as fast. But do it and within a month, you'll be faster, more precisse and more efficient.
#9
Hmm. Well I will definitely work on my alternate picking, I know that it's possible to get the same sound as Paul Gilbert does it on a daily basis. Also, if it matters, when playing my hand doesn't feel as tense as it looks. It feels natural for me, but that could be because I've been doing it for so long.

Also, I will look into how I hold the pick. Can it really make that much of a difference? I mean, players such as Friedman and EVH hold their picks way wackier than I do and they seem to get along just fine. I will definitely try it out, though.

Thanks for the great replies!
PRS SE Custom 22
Peavey Vypyr 30


"When you look into the eyes of a man grown old,
wonder about the secrets gone untold.

When you look into the eyes of a young child,
marvel at the innocence running wild."
#10
@t1mman

why exactly is holding pick like that wrong and the other one is right?

The right position seems quite uncomfortable to me, because pick always slides in and i end up brushing strings with my fingers instead of properly hitting them with pick.
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#11
I normally find that playing pedal riffs like you're doing hear always sounds better down picked, leads to tighter palm muting.
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#12
If you can isolate your downpicking to more power chord-esque sequences ala thrash metal and certain rhythms then go for it. It sounds that way because you play the bass note first before the higher notes versus the higher notes first but playing that fast will make it a very slight and even a miniscule thing. If your using your arm rather than your wrist to downpick then you'll probably get a workout more than anything but the same thing cannot be said if you use the wrist. Even then if in doubt, alternate pick.
#13
Quote by t1mman
From what I can see, you're holding your pick "wrong".

Looks like you're holding it like this, wich is wrong

You should "flex" your index further, like in this picture:

At first, it will feel acward, weird and you won't play as fast. But do it and within a month, you'll be faster, more precisse and more efficient.


There's nothing wrong with the first way of holding the pick you showed. There's no "wrong" way unless it's completely stupid. The former of the pictures I find is great for fluid, accurate playing without tension. You can grip the pick very lightly and let your wrist go really loose. It's also a great way of IDENTIFYING tension as if you grip the pick too hard or pick with too much tension while holding the pick like this, it just won't work. The other pics you showed are obviously fine too (though the person seems to be anchoring).
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Last edited by llBlackenedll at Dec 23, 2011,
#14
Quote by t1mman
From what I can see, you're holding your pick "wrong".

Looks like you're holding it like this, wich is wrong

[imgAt first, it will feel acward, weird and you won't play as fast. But do it and within a month, you'll be faster, more precisse and more efficient.


Disagree (really curious where you people pick up so many myths)

+1 for Blackened´s post.

haha i also noticed the anchoring immediately.
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#15
Why I say this is because I went trough this change.

I've been playing with the tip of the index for years, I was pretty fast with at chords alternate picking, "a la" punk style, but I lacked a lot on precision and on down picking. You also have to crisp and tense your muscle to go realy fast.

Then I saw a tutorial for sweeping and it showed me the other (right, in my mind) way of holding it with flexed index underneath. The first month I had a hard time, was not as fast as before but the improvement in precision was right away. Within a month I was able to play Master Of Puppets the way it was intended (Downstrokes) and I was faster in alternate picking.

The first way (tip of finger) is still pretty good for accoustic chords and stuff like that, but if you even try techniques like chicken picking or sweeping you'll realy have a hard time.

BTW: I don't realy mind if you don't agree, I'm not a teacher or anything, but speaking from experience, it was what kept me back for a while. IMHO, you should try it for a month and see if it helped or not
#16
Quote by t1mman
Why I say this is because I went trough this change.

I've been playing with the tip of the index for years, I was pretty fast with at chords alternate picking, "a la" punk style, but I lacked a lot on precision and on down picking. You also have to crisp and tense your muscle to go realy fast.

Then I saw a tutorial for sweeping and it showed me the other (right, in my mind) way of holding it with flexed index underneath. The first month I had a hard time, was not as fast as before but the improvement in precision was right away. Within a month I was able to play Master Of Puppets the way it was intended (Downstrokes) and I was faster in alternate picking.

The first way (tip of finger) is still pretty good for accoustic chords and stuff like that, but if you even try techniques like chicken picking or sweeping you'll realy have a hard time.

BTW: I don't realy mind if you don't agree, I'm not a teacher or anything, but speaking from experience, it was what kept me back for a while. IMHO, you should try it for a month and see if it helped or not


I think i know what you mean now, some people straighten the index in quite an exagerated way, but the first picture is definetly not an example of that.

Now i dont know if it could be taken to the same level as a curved index, probably yes, but after trying it i must say it doesnt feel that comfortable, stable and relaxed (to me).
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Dec 23, 2011,
#17
at fisrt, it most likely will feel "unnatural" but you'll most likely feel the gain in precision right away. speed, as always, will come from training.

It took me a while to get "used" to it, but as of now, I am way faster in downpicking, alternate, sweeping, tremolo, chicken, etc. etc...

I think I'll try to find the video that got me to play like this, it might help some in here!
#18
All I can say to the video is if your picking hand has tension, it'll cause strain and eventually injury. If you know your picking hand isn't tense during the video, then there is nothing wrong with what you're doing. Some people prefer to use more down strokes than upstrokes, and vice versa.

You can down stroke with the same attack-y sound that you call it, without any of the tension that comes from doing it. Ideally, your upstrokes and down strokes should have the same amount of technique and practice, but we don't live in an ideal world. Remove the tension from down picking, and there will be nothing to worry about.

BTW: Wicked intro/verse thing! I'm digging it!
#19
Quote by t1mman
You should "flex" your index further, like in this picture:



At first, it will feel acward, weird and you won't play as fast. But do it and within a month, you'll be faster, more precisse and more efficient.


This is the way that I hold my pick however I find that at times that it just seems to slip out of my hand, how do I stop this without increasing the tension in my hand? I believe the problem is that my index finger is moving in toward my palm... or the pick is sliding the opposite way.
Last edited by Nitnatsnok at Dec 26, 2011,
#20
Quote by Nitnatsnok
This is the way that I hold my pick however I find that at times that it just seems to slip out of my hand, how do I stop this without increasing the tension in my hand? I believe the problem is that my index finger is moving in toward my palm... or the pick is sliding the opposite way.

If it's the pick sliding, then you might want to try a different type. I used to use the Dunlop Delrin ones and found that they slid out of my fingers really easily. Switched to the "gator grips" ones which are powder coated and are really easy to hold and no more slippy pick problems.

On a related topic, anybody have any exercises for downpicking? Mine is really lacking and I figure this is a good a topic as any to ask because it will help out TS too
#21
not a pick discussion I know, but I use 1mm nylons and they have a dotted texture on them, I haven had a slip yet, and also I use my middle index and thumb to hold my pick and don't seem to have much trouble picking, most of my issue there is in my fretting hand actually, getting better though