I am just a beginner so I am a bit confused about changing between alternate picking and just doing down strokes. I mostly play with alternate picking to practice that to be able to play and pick faster. But often I see other metal players like Kirk Hammett who only do down strokes sometimes in different songs. Why do they do this? When should you use only down strokes instead of alternate picking? What are the pros and cons of just using down strokes? I am confused.
Last edited by Zerpent93 at Oct 20, 2014,
There is no time you should use one or the other. It's a creative choice that the artist takes. Down picking in that Metallica style you're thinking of generally gives a more aggressive sound than alternate picking. If you have a trained ear you can quite easily tell the difference between down picking and alternate picking a riff.
The only con of down picking in the way you're thinking of is that there is a general kind of speed cap you hit which is slower than that of alternate picking.
As vayne92 said, it's all about the sound you are after. If the riff isn't too fast, you could try playing it both ways. Play it the way that sounds/feels better.
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Ya Vayne92 kinda summed it all up. Its all about how creative you want your stuff to be. When i write songs/riffs i usually just strat off with up/down strokes then i kinda just mess around with different strum patters to see what sounds better.