#1
I am having trouble figuring out whether or not songs are down picked or alternate picked. I have just started getting into the metalcore genre with bands like All That Remains, As I Lay Dying, The Devil Wears Prada, etc.

I used to play mostly thrash metal (older metallica) where most stuff was downpicked. With this new style, a lot of it is extremely fast and I can't really tell if it's downpicked or not.

Two specific songs I am working on are "Two Weeks" by All That Remains and "Through Struggle" by As I Lay Dying. To me, they sound better downpicked, but in a lot of the youtube guitar covers I have watched, the person will be alternate picking. If someone could give me some help on these songs, and this genre in general that would be awesome.

Thanks.
#2
I definitely suggest getting better at alt picking if you plan on playing basically anything aside from Metallica.
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#3
I dunno about any of those bands, but downpicking seems to be the best way for 00's metalcore like Trivum and BFMV - songs such as "Like Light to the Flies" are pretty fast but downpicking is how they do it. Alternate picking sometimes simply isn't as efficient with regards to picking direction
#4
I find down-picking normally sounds better in this style as it gives it a more aggressive sound. So with most of this kind of stuff i try to down pick to get that sound, especially with the 'pedal' riffs like the intro to Two Weeks. But then, people just play it how ever feels most best for them and alternate picking can make it easier most of the time which would probably be why you see a lot of youtube covers using it.
#5
yeah, the speeds are too big to downpick and harder riffs are just impossible to downpick.
Last edited by Reages at Mar 9, 2012,
#6
Quote by Reages
yeah, the speeds are too big to downpick and harder riffs are just impossible to downpick.


disagree. I'm usually a die-hard alternate picker but it often isn't practical for these style riffs, downpicking will be immediately more difficult for alternate pickers but it's far more practical
#7
i play a lot of metal core and they are mostly down picking. the way i see it, if it can be down picked, then you should down pick. except for leads. they should be alternate picked.
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#8
Quote by SilverSpurs616
disagree. I'm usually a die-hard alternate picker but it often isn't practical for these style riffs, downpicking will be immediately more difficult for alternate pickers but it's far more practical


some riffs are just impossible to play that way, for example, have fun with this one downpicked:
http://www.playthisriff.com/public/YOUR_EVERY_DAY_DISASTER_Flash.cfm

or this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hadqb2WlIfM

only the simple stuff is downpicked, so after playing awhile you just drop downpicking entirely
Last edited by Reages at Mar 9, 2012,
#9
Quote by Reages
some riffs are just impossible to play that way, for example, have fun with this one downpicked:
http://www.playthisriff.com/public/YOUR_EVERY_DAY_DISASTER_Flash.cfm

or this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hadqb2WlIfM

only the simple stuff is downpicked, so after playing awhile you just drop downpicking entirely


i disagree. sure those riffs are hard to play down picked but definitely possible. i practice down picking a lot and i could probably play those down picked. its just whats more comfortable for you.
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#10
The way I play metal riffs, I usually use alternate picking for sixteenth notes and faster and down picking for eight notes and slower.
#11
Quote by SilverSpurs616
disagree. I'm usually a die-hard alternate picker but it often isn't practical for these style riffs, downpicking will be immediately more difficult for alternate pickers but it's far more practical


I'm sorry but what the hell are you talking about? Metalcore mostly consists of a palm muted pedal notes with random notes in between. Downpicking you have to pick through the string, bring your pick back over the string, and repeat. Alternate picking you pick through the string, and pick upwards back up through the string. There is no waste of motion; you don't need to bring the pick back over the string in order to pick again, like with down picking. It is far more efficient regardless of the type of riff you're playing.

The ONLY reason bands like BFMV and Trivium downpick is because it has a much more aggressive sound to it. Each note is consistent and has that heavy quality to it, unlike with alternate picking. It has absolutely nothing to do with efficiency.
#12
Down picking doesn't necessarily have a aggressive sound. Most people just have weak up strokes. If you've got strong enough up-strokes, you can get an equally aggressive sound out of alternate picking. The only reason I down pick my eight notes is out of personal idiosyncrasy, not because my down picking sounds stronger.

On pedal riffs like you see in As I Lay Dying and Devil Wears Prada, it works out nicely to down pick the chugged lower notes and up stroke the upper notes. If it's too fast, alternate pick it.
#13
Quote by Reages
some riffs are just impossible to play that way, for example, have fun with this one downpicked:
http://www.playthisriff.com/public/YOUR_EVERY_DAY_DISASTER_Flash.cfm

or this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hadqb2WlIfM

only the simple stuff is downpicked, so after playing awhile you just drop downpicking entirely


LOL, your funny. That songs at 190 bpm, 8th notes, that's definitely doable to downpick.

Master of puppets is at 210 bpm (I believe), and the intro is all 8th notes and all downpicked. I know because I'm trying to work up to that one myself...


In regards to the OPs question, I agree that most metalcore is most likely downpicked (I say this just from what I observe from what little metalcore I've heard, so my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt).

The point is, what sounds better? If it sounds good enough to alt pick it - then alt pick it. If it doesn't, downpick it. That's how I play at least...
#14
Quote by Geldin
Down picking doesn't necessarily have a aggressive sound. Most people just have weak up strokes. If you've got strong enough up-strokes, you can get an equally aggressive sound out of alternate picking. The only reason I down pick my eight notes is out of personal idiosyncrasy, not because my down picking sounds stronger.

On pedal riffs like you see in As I Lay Dying and Devil Wears Prada, it works out nicely to down pick the chugged lower notes and up stroke the upper notes. If it's too fast, alternate pick it.


While I agree you can have an aggressive sound with alt picking (I play a lot of old school thrash, slayer megadeth and exodus, where alt picking is pretty much the standard), down picking has a very distinctive sound compared to alt picking. The point isn't how "aggressive" it is, it has to do with the upstroke hitting the string on the opposite side (which gives it a little bit of a muted effect I guess), which generates a different sound compared to hitting the string on the same side every time. Not really sure the physics that go into it, but that's the gist of it...
#15
What is all this hangup on downpicking???

Yes, it has a heavier sound, because the lowest note is hit first. But that's it. I would not say it has a more "aggressive" sound.

The most aggressive stuff I play is alt (or tremelo) picked, without a doubt. I use downstrokes when I want to emphasize a certain beat with a thick, heavy chord. Or if it's a slower riff, then it can be all downpicked.

But try galloping with all downpicking (pretty much a staple of metalcore, thrash, death metal, you name it.) Ain't gonna happen...
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#17
In my opinion, alternate picking is the best to use. I think it's a more economical way of motion for your picking hand. Cause if you down pick on the low E, you have to pick it, then go back over it and then pick again. While with alternate, you downpick and on the way back you do a pick aswell.

During the time i was into Metalcore i alternate pick'd it, and i did practice getting a good upstroke aswell. That's just how i do it, since i find it easier/getting a better sound. Try both, see what works best for you.
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#18
Quote by Sonolin
LOL, your funny. That songs at 190 bpm, 8th notes, that's definitely doable to downpick.

Master of puppets is at 210 bpm (I believe), and the intro is all 8th notes and all downpicked. I know because I'm trying to work up to that one myself...


In regards to the OPs question, I agree that most metalcore is most likely downpicked (I say this just from what I observe from what little metalcore I've heard, so my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt).

The point is, what sounds better? If it sounds good enough to alt pick it - then alt pick it. If it doesn't, downpick it. That's how I play at least...


Well do it, rec and put on youtube how you play it downpicked (and tempo is 224 not 190, i have the whole song tabbed on ug). And why do you even write anything if you heard only a little metalcore?

Heres trivium and they alternate everything, even the chords:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zTJ7s2sr6o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em8krTUsVLE

Like Geldin said there is no difference in the sound, the only difference being weaker upstroke or not that good alternate picking technique overall, but you get over that with practice and the difference is negligible or non existent at all.
Last edited by Reages at Mar 10, 2012,
#19
Quote by Reages
Heres trivium and they alternate everything, even the chords:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zTJ7s2sr6o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em8krTUsVLE


You do have eyes, right? You can see what they're doing? If you can you must be either some kind of idiot or a massive troll...


And now for something a little less derpy and more even handed:

Generally, regardless of the efficiency, if you're intent on playing metalcore the same way as the original bands there are a few guidelines:

1 - Anything on the lower 2 or 3 strings, in 8ths, at less than or around 230bpm is downpicked, up to 240 if you're really good. This generally comes from two things: 1) adding chords in to a part like that will sound different if you alternate pick it; upstroking a powerchord places more emphasis on the upper strings since they get hit first and anything that doesn't emphasis the low end is pretty unwanted in a metal rhythm part. 2) it makes adding gallops much easier; if you have a downpicked rhythm part and want to add a gallop it's simple, adding a gallop in to a pure alternate picked rhythm part can really screw with what your hand is doing.

2 - Another way to approach the picking is to downpick all your pedal tones (so the lower, repeated notes in the riff) and upstroke or alternate everything else. This means you get the nice chunk from downpicking and can add gallops to your pedals easily but the strain is less on your picking.

3 - When it comes down to it, the choice between all the picking methods is your own based on what you want to do. Personally I don't have the time to practice as much as I used to so I don't have the time to get my alternate picking sound that consistent, I could already downpick pretty well when I ran out of time so that's what I stick with when I can. You may have the time or the will to practice enough to get to that stage and that's cool too. As long as you're comfortable with whatever you choose and you make the choice based on the facts about what's going on then no one has the right to tell you you're wrong because there really is no wrong in this case.
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#20
Yes, they are downpicking only the simple parts and everything more complex is alternated, just like i said?
#21
Quote by Reages
Yes, they are downpicking only the simple parts and everything more complex is alternated, just like i said?


I don't know if you're aware but "everything" doesn't mean "only the simple parts". I only say this because that's the word you used, you didn't say anything about the simple parts in that post.

Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhSSI1nvR7A Downpicking is a viable solution for picking anything as long as your picking hand can keep up the pace, I don't know why everyone is suddenly all "murrrr, downpicking is stupid, derpyherpderp..."
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#22
^
Because they didn't put the time into getting it up to speed or didn't put the time into getting their upstrokes strong enough to sound the same and get butthurt about it.