#1
I am new to guitar.
I read that learning alternate picking is very important/usefull.
My question is when I try to learn a new riff or song by reading the tab, should I try and find the most efficient way to pick or that is not necessary?
The problem is that when I play a riff with alternate picking trying to be efficient I notice that the up strokes sound a bit different.
If I play it with only down strokes it sounds a bit smoother.
Should I use whatever technique sounds right or will the sound I get when I alt pick improve the more I practice?
#3
Try to play the riff as it was originally played - check for a video on youtube where you might see it, or listen very carefully. With practice you might make the up and down strokes sound the same but that is missing the point.
#4
Quote by CI67
I am new to guitar.
I read that learning alternate picking is very important/usefull.
My question is when I try to learn a new riff or song by reading the tab, should I try and find the most efficient way to pick or that is not necessary?
The problem is that when I play a riff with alternate picking trying to be efficient I notice that the up strokes sound a bit different.
If I play it with only down strokes it sounds a bit smoother.
Should I use whatever technique sounds right or will the sound I get when I alt pick improve the more I practice?


I definitely try to find the easiest way to pick when I learn something new. It's about deciding whether to pick up or down at the first note. For example, if you're playing one note per string ascending (toward the floor), then you don't have to worry about direction. But let's say you play something like Slipknot's 'Sulfur' (what I'm learning right now) with a bunch of speed picking and quick changes.
btw if you're new do not attempt this piece.

e|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
b|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
g|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
d|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
a|----------------------------------------------------5h6p5----5-----------3/5-------------------
e|-5h6p5-0-0-0-0-0-0-1h3p1-0-0-0-0-0-0----------6----6-5-3-5------------------------

In this tab, I would count all the picked notes before "5h6p5", which is 14. 14 is an even number, so your end stroke will be opposite your first stroke (ie you pick up, your last stroke will be downward). You need to pick up to get to 5th fret A string, so you should start the riff on a down-pick. When you get to 5h6p5, you should pick up again since the rest is legato, then go to six, back to 5, etc.

TL;DR take picking direction into account.

I think your upstroke is naturally going to have less attack, just because of the way the hand is positioned when one plays guitar. You can just do it more often and it'll come to have more power, but generally, downstrokes have more attack (example: James Hetfield). Yes, you should totally be using alt picking wherever it makes it easier.

It sounds like you're new, so don't worry too much about it honestly. It, like almost everything, will subtly improve with consistent practise.
Last edited by toateridax2010 at May 6, 2016,
#6
You should learn whatever technique is needed to play the music. Generally, alt picking is the standard right hand technique, and you'll find it more applicable than economy picking, unless you're really specializing in modern hard rock or fusion.

Practice alt picking with a metronome, using strict down/up. You won't always play that way, but you need a default technique or else you'll just fumble every time you reach an ambiguous passage.

Practice scales and arpeggios in that manner, with quarter notes, 8ths, triplets, and 16ths. That will get you in shape so you can learn real music faster and not have to tackle as much technique when you want to focus on repertoire.

As far as picking goes, 15 minutes a day should be plenty. Work on it briefly, then move on to other techniques or music.