#1
I play in a kindof thrashy metalcore band. I've been practicing really hard to be able to downpick most of the rhythms. Is this worth the effort? Does downpicking really make a riff heavier and tighter?
#2
I would say certain types of riffs sound better with all downstrokes, but I wouldn't downstroke just for the sake of downstroking, especially if it's not completely within your comfort zone; if you're struggling to play something solely with downstrokes, then it's probably time to start alternate picking it.

I used to play in a band with a guy who insisted everything be downstrokes (it was a punk band, obviously). Needless to say, that got old pretty quickly and nobody even noticed that I alternated picked everything.
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#3
It makes your tone consistent... if you can't up-pick as well as down-picking.

If you're good at both, there's no benefit to tone at all.
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#4
Logically speaking, if you are playing powerchords a downstroke means that you hit the root note first, and an upstroke will mean that you hit the 5th first. This means that the will sound slightly different to eachother.
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#5
i don't find it worth the effort. i switch over to alternate picking when doing straight downpicking would even have a chance of being tiring.
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#6
No it's just a different sound. If you can downpick as well as alternate pick then your just a more versatile player.

If you can't alternate pick you pretty much just suck.
Last edited by theTYTAN at Dec 18, 2013,
#8
Quote by guitarmageddon0
I play in a kindof thrashy metalcore band. I've been practicing really hard to be able to downpick most of the rhythms. Is this worth the effort? Does downpicking really make a riff heavier and tighter?


Can you hear a difference when you play?
#9
Down picking does absolutely sound different than alternate picking when you're playing power chords. The strict-downpick attack will be more consistent, and on top of that, when you alternate pick, on the upstroke you're going to hitting the highest note of the chord before the lowest, which obviously does sound different. Its kind of a nitpicky difference but it does exist.
Past all that, its about the attitude. if youre playing thrash, youre supposed to be angry and aggressive, right? So pummel those strings with supreme down picking! Or not, whatever.. its up to you.
#10
Quote by TV-Casualty
Past all that, its about the attitude. if youre playing thrash, youre supposed to be angry and aggressive, right? So pummel those strings with supreme down picking! Or not, whatever.. its up to you.

Since a lot of Thrash riffs use 16th notes, it wouldn't actually be good to downpick all the time. Also, many of the fore-mentioned riffs get their distinctive "bite" from alternate picking. A good (and well-known) example is the bridge riff from Metallica's "One", which just wouldn't sound as good if it was strictly down-picked.
#11
There's times that I want the sound from the upper strings to be played first. Downpicking everything doesn't achieve this sound.

Also on distorted guitars, I don't notice any difference between my upstroke and downstroke after all these years. Cannot speak on any classical/clean sounds though.
#12
Quote by BananaBasket
Also on distorted guitars, I don't notice any difference between my upstroke and downstroke after all these years.

You should still notice some difference, in attack velocity, if nothing else. Yes, it's very minute, but it should be there.
#13
They sound different to me, granted on an unplugged guitar. Running through the "spider lick" from Master of Puppets (did I just make that up?), alternate picking sounds a bit more fluid. I get a clipped, staccato sound from just downpicking.

I like using this riff as for test because it is just single notes, so the "hitting the root before the fifth" argument goes away.

On the topic of Metallica, something as fast as Whiplash or Battery is to fast for downpicking to be realistic. You can (and will have to) strum up on those 16th notes, though 8th notes at those tempos are completely reasonable to downpick.
#14
if there's a significant tonal difference between alt picking and downstroking, esp with distortion, it's because you haven't practiced your upstrokes enough/correctly to match the intensity

downstroking everything needlessly will do nothing but give you carpal tunnel
#15
Quote by bangoodcharlote
They sound different to me, granted on an unplugged guitar. Running through the "spider lick" from Master of Puppets (did I just make that up?)...
Nope!
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#16
Be able to do both and use downstroke rhythm when a tune calls for it. Punk rock is almost all downstroke, metal varies, classic rock uses both, jazz is never just downstroke.
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#17
Quote by guitarmageddon0
I play in a kindof thrashy metalcore band. I've been practicing really hard to be able to downpick most of the rhythms. Is this worth the effort? Does downpicking really make a riff heavier and tighter?
To a large degree yes... being able to execute faster rhythm patterns utilising all downstrokes opens up a lot of alternate picking structures (switching strings) that would otherwise be beyond your conceivable capabilities due to the fact that you just weren't up to speed... and it will come off sounding a little blurred, strained and lacklustre... if it's metal you want... there are no short cuts! (imho).

EG:

what should be this:
A|-------1-------1-------1-------1-|
E|-0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---|
   D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D

when your picking hand is not up to speed, it can create all sort of unwanted up strokes:

ends up being this:
A|-------1--------1-------1--------1-|
E|-0-0-0---0-00-0---0-0-0---0-00-0---|
   D D D D D DU D D D D D D D DU D D
#18
Well its not like you're never going to use upstrokes again just because you can down pick really fast