#1
Many of guitar players over the internet have been promoting economy or "directional" picking over alternate picking, stating that its easier, faster and more economic version of alternate pickking. Despite that, i have never seen any guitarist (mb i just didn't look deep enough) that can pick as clean as some top class alternate pickers like Petrucci, Batio, Andy James and others using economy picking. Even if im pretty good at alternate picking already, I always like to try new things.My question is, would it be possible to master economy picking and sound as clean and good as guitarists above who use alternate. Tnx
#2
Of course it is possible to sound as clean using economy picking -- with enough practice. And not necessarily more practice than alt. picking either. It's just a slightly different approach. The ultimate sound will be a little different though. Not better, not worse, just different.

I'm actually on the opposite end of the spectrum from you -- economy picking always came more natural to me, but I'd like to explore strict alternate picking just to see what it can do for me (if anything). You can always learn techniques and later choose not to use them. But you can't use techniques you haven't learned.
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#3
I've been at it now for almost 2 years, my experience is that it kind of takes over, i find myself eco picking things I should be alt picking.

Frank is one of the best at eco, this vid from him 30 years ago, pioneer of eco. all you need to know in the first 5 mins

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn0J3qox6_w
Last edited by Tempoe at Aug 18, 2015,
#4
Strictly from a physics standpoint, I think the maximum theoretical speed is higher with economy picking, so in that sense I think you don't have to worry about there being more virtuoso alternate pickers.

Unless I'm mistaken, Yngwie Malmsteen uses economy picking.

When I first started out, I leaned towards economy picking because I was just winging my picking. I later shifted towards strict alternate picking because "winging it" just doesn't cut it anymore after a certain point. My "economy" picking was weak, sloppy and uneven.

Yes, it is inefficient sometimes, but there are some things that alternate picking can do that economy picking cannot. Lines with heavy string skipping or those with note combinations that simply cannot be sweeped efficiently are those that you want to play with alternate picking. Training alternate picking will make sure these don't pose a problem. On the other hand, whatever you can play with alternate picking, with reasonable amounts of practice, you can also play with economy picking.

Overall, I think alternate picking is a good place to start with. Once you've gotten that down, you can experiment with economy picking. It's kind of like an endgame because it's not as simple as sweeping whatever can be sweeped. It takes a different kind of control that alternate picking has.

If you like it, you can stick with it. Whatever you end up with, you can rest assured you're not gimping yourself unnecessarily. Both techniques are legitimate approaches to picking.
Last edited by triface at Aug 19, 2015,
#5
You should be able to do both but honestly it's a lot more useful to get good alternate picking and then branch out into economy picking, since you need to alternate pick anything on one string and anything with inside string changes (e.g. picking up on the b string means you need to pick down to play the e string even if you were using economy up till that point).

You can get economy picking very clean and you are able to play simple things faster with economy sometimes but in general the speeds you can get out of both are very similar and depend on what you're playing.
#6
I'm postulating here, but wouldn't alternate picking give you a better sense of rhythm as your hand is moving down up down up? You can get a groove going in your right hand that way.

I'm a fingers player atm but thinking about getting into using a pick (expanding my guitar vocabulary).
#7
Quote by gweddle.nz
I'm postulating here, but wouldn't alternate picking give you a better sense of rhythm as your hand is moving down up down up? You can get a groove going in your right hand that way.

I'm a fingers player atm but thinking about getting into using a pick (expanding my guitar vocabulary).

That's actually one of the reasons cited by alternate picking proponents. I feel it's something that applies more to some than others.
#8
Quote by triface
That's actually one of the reasons cited by alternate picking proponents. I feel it's something that applies more to some than others.


I'm not sure how true that theory actually is. It makes sense for chords/rhythm playing where people strum at the exact same speed and purposely "miss" some strums to play different patterns. That's not how most people alternate pick though. They only pick as fast as they need to, so unless you are repeatedly playing notes of the exact same duration I'm not sure I buy that. For me rhythm comes much more from just "feeling" the song, tapping my foot, nodding my head, etc.

As for alternate picking versus economy. I think it's good to start out with alternate picking, even if only because most people suck at up-picking when they start out and need to practice it. It doesn't have to be a strict rule that you can never break though. I don't think your choice of alternate picking versus economy picking is what is ultimately going to slow you down. There are people who can play better and faster than I'll ever be able to play with either technique.
#9
Quote by bptrav
I'm not sure how true that theory actually is. It makes sense for chords/rhythm playing where people strum at the exact same speed and purposely "miss" some strums to play different patterns. That's not how most people alternate pick though. They only pick as fast as they need to, so unless you are repeatedly playing notes of the exact same duration I'm not sure I buy that. For me rhythm comes much more from just "feeling" the song, tapping my foot, nodding my head, etc.

As for alternate picking versus economy. I think it's good to start out with alternate picking, even if only because most people suck at up-picking when they start out and need to practice it. It doesn't have to be a strict rule that you can never break though. I don't think your choice of alternate picking versus economy picking is what is ultimately going to slow you down. There are people who can play better and faster than I'll ever be able to play with either technique.

Which was the reason why I qualified my post with the last sentence. :p

I use alternate picking because it gives me more control. I don't have the discipline to not wing it on economy picking.
#10
It's pretty simple. Alternate picking gives you access to certain sounds and tones, economy/sweep picking to another set. It's only because speed and how fast you can pick at what BPM becomes the main reason for playing that people make this into an either/or thing when its not. And that's not really smart IMO.