#1
I see riffs like this in a lot of metal music:

|-------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------2--------------2--------------2--------------2--|
|-------------2--------------2--------------2--------------2--|
|-0-0-0-0-0-0----0-0-0-0-0-0----0-0-0-0-0-0----0-0-0-0-0-0----|
Rhythm parts consisting of picking the open E string, usually palm-muted. My question is, do you guys alt pick things like that? Or do you just down-strum? Does it depend on the speed or do you always have a set method?

I'm also curious about riffs like this:

|-----------------|----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|----------------|-----------------|
|-9-----9-----9---|---9-----9--9-9-|-9-----9-----9---|
|-9-----9-----9---|---9-----9--9-9-|-9-----9-----9---|
|-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-|-7-7-7-7-7--7-7-|-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-|
|-----------------|----------------|-----------------|
Would you use alternate picking or just downstrokes? What's your reasoning--comfort, better technique...?

Thanks for any input, hope I'm being clear.
#2
I would use alternate picking with a dowstroke for the chords it takes the least effort and I use alternate picking for just about everything. test it yourself play with just downstrokes then use alternate you'll notice the difference in the amount of effort it takes to play the same speed. also make sure you pick with your wrist not your elbow
#3
whatever works best for you really personally i use alternate picking almost every time
#4
If you have the choice between the two, choose whichever you prefer the sound of.

That being said, a lot of metal riffs are too fast to be down picked realistically, so a lot of the time metal bands will down pick any sections roughly around and slower than 200-240bpm 8ths, and then anything faster they'll alternate pick.
#5
it's about preference. Some dudes will economy pick it, some will downstroke it exclusively, some will alt pick it. the general populace will agree that downpicking is the way to go in metal, especially when rhythmic offs like the second riff you posted are too twacked to alt pick and pose too much of a pain to economy pick. Once you reach a certain threshhold, however, downpicking becomes unfathomable and it's easier to just alt pick it with some economy picking thrown in on the weird stuff.
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#7
I would alternate pick that just because I'm lazy but it would sound a lot better to be down picked.
#8
A general rule I use when playing metal rhythms is to use down strokes for eight notes and alternate picking for sixteenths. Up until you get to around 240 bpm, it's feasible to use down strokes for all your eighth notes, not to mention that it sounds much punchier.

It is possible to get your up strokes to get the same punchiness as down strokes, but my preference is to use down strokes for my eighth notes simply for the feel of it.
#9
Use what ever picking method is used in the song you are learning. Alternate picking and down picking do not sound the same.
#10
Quote by RR24Metul
If it can be down picked, you better do it. Rule of thumb for metal



This x 1000

Any metal riff that can be downpicked i always downpick. It's just not metal otherwise bro
#11
Quote by vayne92
This x 1000

Any metal riff that can be downpicked i always downpick. It's just not metal otherwise bro


Wrong.

If i feel i can get a similar sound with alternate picking then i will alternate pick to save a lot of energy.

I could alternate pick 8th notes at 220 bpm for hours on end but could only downpick it for about a minute.
#12
Quote by mrbabo91
Wrong.

If i feel i can get a similar sound with alternate picking then i will alternate pick to save a lot of energy.

I could alternate pick 8th notes at 220 bpm for hours on end but could only downpick it for about a minute.


Obviously you get a similar sound because you're playing the same notes, but anyone with an ear trained very minimally can tell a difference between downpicking and alternate. I know if you showed me a video of a bunch of riffs, i could almost instantly tell which riffs are downpicked and which aren't.

Sure you might save energy alternate picking, because in most cases it's way easier. I know plenty of songs that would be way easier if i alternate picked them and would be much less strenuous on me, but i will still downpick.

In my opinion, if you're alternate picking a riff that's intended to be downpicked you're just lazy and taking shortcuts in your playing of the metal genre.

Downpicking is an absolutely ESSENTIAL technique for any enthusiastic metal player. I realize that's a bold statement but i and i'm sure many many others would agree that you must know how to downpick if you're an avid player of the metal genre.
Last edited by vayne92 at Feb 2, 2012,
#13
Quote by vayne92
Obviously you get a similar sound because you're playing the same notes, but anyone with an ear trained very minimally can tell a difference between downpicking and alternate. I know if you showed me a video of a bunch of riffs, i could almost instantly tell which riffs are downpicked and which aren't.

Sure you might save energy alternate picking, because in most cases it's way easier. I know plenty of songs that would be way easier if i alternate picked them and would be much less strenuous on me, but i will still downpick.

In my opinion, if you're alternate picking a riff that's intended to be downpicked you're just lazy and taking shortcuts in your playing of the metal genre.

Downpicking is an absolutely ESSENTIAL technique for any enthusiastic metal player. I realize that's a bold statement but i and i'm sure many many others would agree that you must know how to downpick if you're an avid player of the metal genre.


I could definitely alternate pick a riff and get the exact sound as all down picking. My up strokes are equal in strength and I have good control over my picking hand. The reason down picking sounds more punchy is because people's up strokes are weaker and they have less control over them. You ought to be able to get that sound from alternate picking. Otherwise, literally half of your strokes will be weaker and less fluent than they should be.

That said, I prefer the more aggressive mechanic of down picking for eighth notes. The sound is the same, but the psychology is different.
#14
Quote by Geldin
I could definitely alternate pick a riff and get the exact sound as all down picking. My up strokes are equal in strength and I have good control over my picking hand. The reason down picking sounds more punchy is because people's up strokes are weaker and they have less control over them. You ought to be able to get that sound from alternate picking. Otherwise, literally half of your strokes will be weaker and less fluent than they should be.

That said, I prefer the more aggressive mechanic of down picking for eighth notes. The sound is the same, but the psychology is different.


That's a valid point fine sir. Never seen anyone get the exact same sound from alternate as downpicking so that'd be interesting to hear if you could do it.

I bow down to your superior picking powers
#15
i prefer downpicking for power cords, cuz the order of notes sounds better lowest to highest, string wise
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#16
Why is there a difference of sound between all down strokes and alternating? Should there be? Or is it poor technique that is creating the difference? And by "sound," does that mean tone, volume, the ADSR envelope of the note played?

Just some thoughts to consider.
#17
The difference comes from people having weaker up strokes than down strokes and using a broader stroke when picking all down strokes. If you have equally strong up and down strokes and you use an equally wide stroke, you'll get the same sound.
#18
Quote by RR24Metul
If it can be down picked, you better do it. Rule of thumb for metal
Yup. That's how to play metal riffs, but sometimes it's ok to alternate them.
#19
Quote by Geldin
The difference comes from people having weaker up strokes than down strokes and using a broader stroke when picking all down strokes. If you have equally strong up and down strokes and you use an equally wide stroke, you'll get the same sound.


Exactly! Those saying to use only downstrokes probably aren't using the best right hand technique to make the argument.

Just curious to see if someone was on the same page as me.
#20
Post some clips of both alternate picking and down picking and I will tell you which is which and so will many others.
#21
Quote by Geldin
The difference comes from people having weaker up strokes than down strokes and using a broader stroke when picking all down strokes. If you have equally strong up and down strokes and you use an equally wide stroke, you'll get the same sound.
Nononono, not at all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeTMIJQIiuw
#22
Some of the riffs I play are impossible to perform with entirely downpicking, unless of course you're playing them at half-speed.

Downpicking does tend to have a chunkier sound, but that's because the lower string is struck first. Of course if you're only picking one string, the exact same sound is attainable.

When you're ready for the next level of speed -aka- faster thrash songs, black metal, and death metal, you'd better learn to alternate pick or you'll simply be too slow.
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#23
Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein to my knowledge does everything downpicked, all it takes is practice.
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#24
I think that downstrokes sound different in a metal context because of the way you can mute and unmute very cleanly - also, the consistent direction of attack on the strings.

I'm not saying that you can't bring your upstrokes up to a equal level in terms of pure attack and dynamics, but I think the muting will always sound slightly different.
#25
Quote by Freepower
I think that downstrokes sound different in a metal context because of the way you can mute and unmute very cleanly - also, the consistent direction of attack on the strings.

I'm not saying that you can't bring your upstrokes up to a equal level in terms of pure attack and dynamics, but I think the muting will always sound slightly different.
+1 well spoken.
#26
I would DEFINITELY use strict downpicking for both unless they are meant to be played extremely fast. It just sounds sooo much better.
#27
Actually its ur personal preference but it depends upon the Notes' value(sixteenths or eigths etc)....

So Naturally u cant pick sixteenth notes downstroke(at high tempos).Cant You?
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