I'm using a "Everybody's GUITAR METHOD 1'' book to approach reading, while dabbling in random music theory websites along side my progress to slowly make connections when possible. My first question, should I finish this book before attempting to find a guitar teacher for face to face? Though i can read well enough to play along to the songs in time up to the fifth string lesson, my own method is to play along with a metronome set to 40 until i can consistently play while singing the note name aloud to help build familiarity. Once i feel i've mastered it, i'll bump it up to 60 to test my ability. I had intended on doing this until i'm through the entire book before considering lessons.
Second question, should I make an effort to write in picking direction for each note, as to make each passing measure as economical as possible? The last thing i want to do is develop bad habits, and i'm assuming at higher levels this discipline will be more demanding and relevant, since bowing direction in middle/highschool orchestra was something they stressed importance over.
Bowing direction in the orchestra is important only because there are like ten people playing the same part and they want everybody to play the same melody the same way (this way everybody phrases it similarly and it sounds homogeneous). Also, it looks better that way. Imagine how bad it would look if in a concert everybody in the orchestra just decided to bow in whatever direction they wanted. Well, it would most likely also sound like a mess.

You won't develop bad habits by using a certain picking pattern.

Some people prefer strict alternate picking, others prefer economy picking. Some people downpick everything. A good guitarist can do all of these things and chooses the technique based on the sound they are after.

If you want to start taking lessons, just do it. There's really no reason to finish the book before starting to take lessons. Actually, a teacher could give you advice on how to practice most efficiently. A teacher will also tell if you are building any bad habits. The sooner you realize what you are doing wrong, the easier it is to fix. And a teacher will help you with this.
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Down on the beats is the general guideline. I use strict alt picking by default. Overall with picking you're going for consistency and good accenture.

Any decent beginner's book should have a page that talks about picking direction. I'd recommend following whatever the book says, if that's your primary learning resource here.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 23, 2016,
Just do whatever works best There is no one way of picking - in fact it's the opposite, there's multiple ways of picking. Just find what suits you and the song best, as you become more advanced there will be certain songs/runs that will require a very specific picking method - but you won't reach that point for a while yet.

If you feel a teacher would be beneficial then go for it, they're very unlikely to slow down your progresss
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