#1
Hey guys, I'm new here so first off I suppose I'd like to introduce myself. Hey.

Anyway, to avoid over-explaining myself, and since I tend to ramble on anyway, after 2 years of playing chords and only downstroking lead guitar parts, I've decided to take up alternate picking. There's an extent to where I understand it, but the fact is that nothing seems certain. It's made me think of my form as a whole, and I've begun to question everything I used to do naturally. And just so you know I looked at the sticky thread of guitar techniques, and while it helped me, I'm still left with these questions.

Questions such as: Where should my palm rest? Where should my middle, ring, and pinky fingers rest? Should I angle my pick at all when I alternate pick? Is it okay that the majority of my alternate picking motion comes from my wrist hinging up and down? How much of my pick should connect with the string, and how much pick should I leave showing when I hold it? How SHOULD I hold it?

Furthermore, alternate picking has brought upon problems with my overall playing. I'm trying to alternate pick everything now. Whether or not it's necessary, I don't know, but I figure it will help me develop this skill. The point is, a riff that I used to be able to play very well with all downstrokes is now a nightmare for some reason (and it should be a really easy riff in my opinion). Paperthin Hymn by Anberlin; the main riff right at the beginning. The part right before it starts repeating itself, it jumps from the 3rd fret low D in drop D to 5th fret G string. Lots of times I miss my upstrokes altogether on either of these strings, and it seems to be because I can't get my whole hand to move in order to make picking easier, but I have no clue how to fix it.

Anyways, thanks in advance for the help. I look forward to becoming a part of this community
#2
I have the same problem sometimes when trying to play only downstrokes. Actually, since I started eco picking, I have trouble sometimes alternate picking instead. Fortunately for me though, I don't hardly play anything that requires all downstrokes, or a particular form of picking.
#3
Pretty much everything you just asked comes down to style and preference, everyone does it differently. You just need to find what's right for you, which will come naturally from trying out different things.

I usually rest my palm on the bridge, just behind the lowest three strings. Having it so close makes it easy to palm mute.

When I'm playing riffs I hold the pick with my index finger and curl my other fingers up next to it. With chords, and sometimes riffs too, I hold it with my middle finger. This meas you only have two fingers underneath your hand, rather than three, so it's much easier to keep them out of the way.

I hold the pick at maybe a 15 degree angle from the string. This gives it less resistance and it doesn't slap against the string when you alternate pick.

And for how much of your pick should connect- with guitar a good general rule for technique is that you want to use the minimum amount of effort and force required. For riffs and solos you don't need much of the pick to make contact, but you may want more for chords. Again, this is all preference and there are always exceptions.

I remember when I learned to alternate pick I had the same problem. I could play the intro riff to Muse's Hysteria with only downpicks. When I leared to alternate pick, the riff became a mess, I could barely play it. It just comes with practice. Definately don't alternate pick everything though, the best guitarist is a versatile one. After mastering alternate picking, you have economy picking to look forward to. Use whatever picking style suits the peice. And anyway, I'm pretty sure James Hetfield downstrokes eveything.

Ultimately the best way to practice basically anything is to get a metronome and start out slow.
#4
ok not everything should be double picked. palm muted single note riffs often are better just using downstrokes.

as for leads well that will take some time and effort to develop a smooth double picking style. use as little of the tip of the pick as you can. play from the wrist (you said you are). use as little motion as you can for better control. you only have to go just past the string to sound the note and then on to the next note. anchoring you hand is an individual thing there really isn't a set way to do it and you may have to vary it anyways as you play. sometimes starting on an upstroke is better as well experiment.
#5
Thanks, I really appreciate the replies! I do hear a lot that most guitar techniques are up to player choice, but I still feel like it's possible that there are WRONG ways to do things, and I want to make sure I don't form habits that are actually wrong. For instance were I to try and downpick some fast avenged sevenfold stuff, I'd probably consider that "wrong" - I mean, like, bat country type speed. I'd probably be on the fast track to carpal tunnel.

But anyway, about using as little of the tip of the pick as you can; that's really getting me, because I've been trying to do that, but it sounds horrible when I do because I end up accidentally dropping pinch harmonics everywhere, and my pick misses. I guess that will just take lots of time and practice to acquire the accuracy to use less of the pick?
#6
Quote by Palerion
Thanks, I really appreciate the replies! I do hear a lot that most guitar techniques are up to player choice, but I still feel like it's possible that there are WRONG ways to do things, and I want to make sure I don't form habits that are actually wrong. For instance were I to try and downpick some fast avenged sevenfold stuff, I'd probably consider that "wrong" - I mean, like, bat country type speed. I'd probably be on the fast track to carpal tunnel.

But anyway, about using as little of the tip of the pick as you can; that's really getting me, because I've been trying to do that, but it sounds horrible when I do because I end up accidentally dropping pinch harmonics everywhere, and my pick misses. I guess that will just take lots of time and practice to acquire the accuracy to use less of the pick?


perhaps to little is being used. when i want to do pinch harmonics i pull up more on the pick to get that sound which also takes practice. you don't want any of the fleshy parts or your picking hand to touch the strings (unless muting) . this takes practice and will take some time to get down smoothly. when i first started to learn double picking was emphasized a great deal (late 70s) if you wanted to play fast this was the way to do it. because of that i pretty much double pick everything. now a days there is sweeping economy picking etc. not really good at those.
#7
Alternate picking is an up an down thing with me.
"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. This is my religion." -- Abraham Lincoln