#1
I'm working on pentatonic runs. I typically strictly alternate pick. Lately I've been trying to incorporate some economy picking and my brain and fingers are getting confused.

Am i making it harder for myself if i choose to just strictly alternate pick everything?
#3
It will actually get you more familiar with economy picking. If you have a strong understanding of alternate picking it will seriously help you. Right now I'm learning The Test That Stumped Them All by Dream Theater. Let's just call it economy picking: The song. The main riff is already no problem for me at moderate speeds. At this point you're building speed back up like alternate picking.
Last edited by sourcegamer101 at Jul 5, 2016,
#4
Learn alternate and economy. But don't forget that picking every note can lead to very regimented sounding playing, and can lose light and shade. Swing picking is a good style also (mixed with legato). I wrote an article on swing picking some time back ... https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/soloing/chromaticism_and_swing_picking.html ... may help you. But suggest you nail the other techniques first.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 6, 2016,
#5
As an exercise, focusing on only alternate picking is fine. Eventually you will get very good at it and can then branch out into economy picking, hybrid picking, all-downstroke picking, fingerstyle, and everything else. To only use alt picking forever would be like only playing in the key of Am. Every song. Forever.

Some players do that but I can't recommend putting yourself in such a small musical box.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#6
That has to be the worst analogy of all time. If you can get your alternate picking as fast as you like it, any other picking style will come naturally.

Quote by Cajundaddy
As an exercise, focusing on only alternate picking is fine. Eventually you will get very good at it and can then branch out into economy picking, hybrid picking, all-downstroke picking, fingerstyle, and everything else. To only use alt picking forever would be like only playing in the key of Am. Every song. Forever.

Some players do that but I can't recommend putting yourself in such a small musical box.
#7
Marko5150

Your small box is showing.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#8
Marko5150
Ummm No. Alternate picking and Down Stroke Picking are two separate entities from my point of view. Being able to play both is a must in my opinion but learning one before the other won't help the other come more easily. They are two separate techniques. For example....... lol..... for shits and giggles..... Master of Puppets. A down stoke picking song. Try Alternate picking that song and then down stroke picking. It ain't the same man and neither style will help you learn the other more easily. Learning both techniques will help immensely and I highly recommend it. Doesn't matter which one comes first. I started with down stroking cause I thought it was inferior to alternate picking. Learned later down the road I was very wrong and alternate picking was a very necessary technique. Gotta agree with Cajundaddy on this one. Don't limit yourself.
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#9
If it´s a "pair" note per string sequence (2 notes per string, 4, etc), alternate. Otherwise (3 notes per string, 5, etc), economy picking.
#10
RyanMW2010
Personally, I alternate pick everything unless I am sweeping. The only arpeggio shapes I sweep are triads. Otherwise, my 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chord arpeggio shapes require a "hammer on" half way through (the 7to the1 usually) so I alternate pick the entire arpeggio. It's a work out for sure.
#11
Quote by Mr. Cachi
If it´s a "pair" note per string sequence (2 notes per string, 4, etc), alternate. Otherwise (3 notes per string, 5, etc), economy picking.

This is definitely too hard-and-fast a rule for my taste, I mean, look at this sequence:


e|-5-3-----8-5----------
b|-----5-3-----8-5-8b10-
g|----------------------
d|----------------------
a|----------------------
e|----------------------


I would contend that if we're looking at pure efficiency of motion then economy picking is better by repeating the smallest possible sweeps.

Then there's ideas like this, based on an idea lovingly ripped off from Dream Theater's Erotomania:


e|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------3-5-7-5-3----
b|-------------------------------------------------------------3-5-7-5-3---------------------5~-
g|-----------------------------------------4-5-7-5-4---------------------7-5-4-5-7--------------
d|---------------------4-5-7-5-4---------------------7-5-4-5-7----------------------------------
a|-3-5-7-5-3---------------------7-5-3-5-7------------------------------------------------------
e|-----------7-5-3-5-7--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Which really lends itself more to pure alternate picking.

These are just two examples that I thought of off the top of my head, I know there are many more that I definitely shouldn't put in a post. Everything is contextual my friend.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Jul 19, 2016,
#12
RyanMW2010

The upperhand economy picking has over alternate picking is that economy picking reduces the movement your picking hand will have to do to get from A to B.

The way I remember it is: if you play an EVEN number of notes on a string, you will have to alternate pick to change string // if you play an ODD number, you will have to sweep to get to the next string, because you may as well carry on with that downward movement instead of going back UP to alternate pick, saving a lot of time.

If you were to play:

D | - - - - - - - - - 3
A | - - 1 - 1 - 1 - -
E | - - - - - - - - - -

...starting on a downstroke, you could pick both the last 1 and 3 in one single movement, as opposed to two.

If you wanted to play:

D | - - - - - - - - - -
A | - - 1 - 1 - 1 - -
E | - - - - - - - - - 3

...and you still started on a downstroke to play this sequence, after hitting that last 1, your pick will be raised in the air after picking it, allowing you to cleanly come back into the 3 behind it.

If I played...

D | - - 1 - 1 - - - - - - - -
A | - - - - - - 1 - 1 - - - -
E | - - - - - - - - - - 1 - 1

...because I'm playing an even amount of notes on each string, I can alternate pick the entire sequence without sweeping.

It is also important to note that generally if you are picking down the strings towards you, try to play with upstrokes, and downstrokes if you are playing away from you, so to speak. When you require a direction change, whenever your pick is raised in the air, that would be the moment to change.

Or you could slip in a direction change on a hammer-on.

Economy picking is extremely useful and especially helpful for picking speed, so definitely keep working on it!

Hope this helps!
Last edited by JSCh94 at Jul 20, 2016,