#1
Hey everyone, I am looking for resources that explain the mechanics of alternate picking in detail. I watched a lot of videos, but none of them had the information I am looking for. I am especially interested in the following aspects:

- what muscles are involved in the technique?
- how does the pick move up an down?
- what is the position of the pick before and after each stroke?
- what are the main differences between picking on one string and string changes?

I came across two pretty decent looking resources that I haven´t bought/ watched whatever:

The Wizard of Shred´s Alternate Picking programm
Next Level Guitar´s Shred rock guitar Set

(not allowed to post links here, if you google it, you should be able to find it. Has anyony tried these?)

I actually plan to make a book/ PDF/ video lesson on alternate picking myself because I think I finally figured out what my mistakes were, but there´d be no point in making such a lesson if there already is a good lesson.

Looking forward to your responses!
#2
1.The muscles involved change from player to player. Most commonly people pick from their wrist, but there are people that pick from the elbow or use their thumb and index finger in a small motion to pick.

2.How the pick moves depends on the angle. People to pick with the pick very flat to the string (Like me) push it through the string, pressing it down and releasing it if you look at it in slow-motion. People who angle their pick generally more "cut through" the string.

3.Hopefully the pick is in the same position all the time, the only difference being if it's an up or downstroke. You want your technique to have as little change as possible when playing. It's better to find ONE way that works well then doing two ways that works well at the same time.

4.The only real difference should be the distance the pick has to go. As said previously, you want to the same thing all the time while picking, not switching it up. (Unless you're economy picking)

I don't know if that was of any use to you, but that's my view on the matter.
Best Regards
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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#3
What Sickz mentioned, that some people use their thumb and index finger in a small motion, is called "sarod" picking IIRC. I think Pebber Brown discusses it in some of his videos.

I could also give a try regarding your questions:
- What specific kind of muscles that are included aren't really that important here; if it's important though, then you can simply google "wrist movements" and see a list of the muscles included in a certain movement.
Using the wrist: The wrist radial or ulnar "deviators" or whatever they are called. http://www.eatonhand.com/mus/mus124.htm
It could also be the forearm rotators(depends).

If you use so called "elbow picking" then you have the biceps and triceps.

Etc.

If you were thinking about how to execute the movement, then there is no set answer. The only thing that needs to be followed when alternate picking is just that. There are numerous techniques that can be developed to execute this motion, aside from sarod like I mentioned, here are some others: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkeyHyIgqvY&list=UUbo9n5Y8ojo5Q_4RnqPthvA&index=29&feature=plcp
(not me)

- You always alternate between a down and an upstroke.

- I depends on if you started with an up- or down-stroke. If down, then it will be above the string, and vice versa if upstroke.

- No difference except from the obvious. To determine whether you should stay on or jump to another string depends largely on how the passage is executed on the fretboard.
#4
Quote by PunchSlap
What Sickz mentioned, that some people use their thumb and index finger in a small motion, is called "sarod" picking IIRC. I think Pebber Brown discusses it in some of his videos.


Pebber's "sarod" picking is actually using the wrist in a rotatory motion, as opposed to what he normally does which is very much a translatory motion.
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#5
People always comlicate things but all you have to do his listen to the tone of the string and your angles and stuff will adjust themselves.
#6
Thank you all for your responses. Maybe I wasn´t clear enough with my question, but I wanted to have some recommendations on media (books, videos...) that explain the alternate picking technique in detail, from start to finish. Is it only me who finds it strange that there isn´t any such book?

I appreciate the answers and will add some of my thoughts:

Sickz:

1. I know I am being very picky about this, but this kind of explanations is not detailed enough for me, and I will tell you why.

I am a wrist picker and I try to eliminate the movement of the fingers as much as I can.
"Pick from the wrist" - That´s what your hear very often. The problem Here is that there are three different movements your wrist has to do in order to properly pick. There´s the up and down movement that uses the muscles you´d use when you knock on a door, there´s the rotation movement and then there is the side to side movement (pretend you are waving at someone).

The problem now is that even if you pick from the wrist, you might not be doing it in a correct way. I used to suck at picking for the last two years, even though I was picking from the wrist all the time. You have to combine the three movements in a very specific way in order to be able to pick fast. Luckily, it seems that I found the right way to do it after a long search.

3. What I was trying to get at with this questions is the following: Is the pick slightly above the string before and after each stroke (sorry for being unspecific). My suggestion is yes. If it isn´t above the string after each stroke, you are in the danger of dropping it too low and hitting the next string on the wrong side when you are changing strings.

ibzshredder:

I am sorry, but I have to be harsh here. I agree that the tone and the angle are important, but as I said above, if you don´t have a somewhat correct technique from the beginning, you´ll end up practicing hours and hours for nothing. Believe me, that is my story. If you had a correct picking technique from the start, I envy you. I am not complicating things, I am just gathering information in order to be able to explain them.

I asked a lot of fast pickers, and NONE of them could explain to me how their picking works. They just told me to "practice more". But that is a very dumb advice if one is doing it incorrectly to begin with. If you carred a stone in one hand and had struggle, and suddenly someone told you to use your other hand as well, it´d become much easier. That is as VERY good analogy when it comes to using the right muscles in a wrong way when picking.

Alternate Picking eluded me for the last two years, and now the information finally seems to fit together. That´s why I am picky about picking.

No offense intended!
#7
Quote by dairwolf
Thank you all for your responses. Maybe I wasn´t clear enough with my question, but I wanted to have some recommendations on media (books, videos...) that explain the alternate picking technique in detail, from start to finish. Is it only me who finds it strange that there isn´t any such book?

I appreciate the answers and will add some of my thoughts:

Sickz:

1. I know I am being very picky about this, but this kind of explanations is not detailed enough for me, and I will tell you why.

I am a wrist picker and I try to eliminate the movement of the fingers as much as I can.
"Pick from the wrist" - That´s what your hear very often. The problem Here is that there are three different movements your wrist has to do in order to properly pick. There´s the up and down movement that uses the muscles you´d use when you knock on a door, there´s the rotation movement and then there is the side to side movement (pretend you are waving at someone).

The problem now is that even if you pick from the wrist, you might not be doing it in a correct way. I used to suck at picking for the last two years, even though I was picking from the wrist all the time. You have to combine the three movements in a very specific way in order to be able to pick fast. Luckily, it seems that I found the right way to do it after a long search.

3. What I was trying to get at with this questions is the following: Is the pick slightly above the string before and after each stroke (sorry for being unspecific). My suggestion is yes. If it isn´t above the string after each stroke, you are in the danger of dropping it too low and hitting the next string on the wrong side when you are changing strings.

ibzshredder:

I am sorry, but I have to be harsh here. I agree that the tone and the angle are important, but as I said above, if you don´t have a somewhat correct technique from the beginning, you´ll end up practicing hours and hours for nothing. Believe me, that is my story. If you had a correct picking technique from the start, I envy you. I am not complicating things, I am just gathering information in order to be able to explain them.

I asked a lot of fast pickers, and NONE of them could explain to me how their picking works. They just told me to "practice more". But that is a very dumb advice if one is doing it incorrectly to begin with. If you carred a stone in one hand and had struggle, and suddenly someone told you to use your other hand as well, it´d become much easier. That is as VERY good analogy when it comes to using the right muscles in a wrong way when picking.

Alternate Picking eluded me for the last two years, and now the information finally seems to fit together. That´s why I am picky about picking.

No offense intended!



In terms of the three movements, watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkeyHyIgqvY

Freepower discusses picking in some detail from what I remember of last time I watched it here. For the record, the names are "oscillatory" (door knocking), "translatory" (waving) and "rotatory" (turning a door knob).

Really, to cut the point short, most people use all three in conjunction because isolating them is both hard and impractical. Most of the best pickers I know of use a mainly translatory motion (Paul Gilbert is a prime example) but there are people who work well with rotatory (Andy Timmons) and oscillatory (Michael Angelo Batio) but even those three who are the purest example of each motion I can think of are far from actually being just those planes of motion.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "above the string after each stroke", really to make sense of that we need to know which plane of motion you mean when you refer to "above". Generally though, from a pure mechanics point of view, any movement that is more than you absolutely need to strike the string is bad. In practical terms that's next to impossible but at least this way you know what you're aiming for.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.