I am curious how many people had trouble developing equal alternate picking up and down the neck (perpendicular to the neck that is). I really struggle with coming back down the neck (at equal speed) and it really bothers me. My left and right hand coordination is really lacking coming back, and would be interested to know how others have conquered this imbalance. I think I remember watching a Paul Gilbert interview where he said that he actually had the opposite problem when he got started.

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Me too. Still do ... because I've never liked the musical feel of picking every note ... I normally use legato, and sometimes fret-hand hammer-ons to sound the first note on a string. Plus I concentrated more on economy picking as a technique, even though I tend to avoid it.

The answer is just practice at very slow tempo and observing your movements, cutting out unnecessary motion, and staying relaxed.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Oct 26, 2016,
Going off on a few assumptions here, I reckon the main problem you're experiencing is that your hand and pick is trying to move in one direction, while at the meantime you're actually picking in the other direction.

If you're one of the normal people, you'll be mostly at ease with downpicking, which tends to result in you beginning every picking sequence with a downstroke, just like people tend to have a dominant hand and foot they tend to prefer. This results in you, when going to the lighter strings, your preferred picking direction is going in the same direction as the practice. This makes it easier, but it also means that if you are going the other way, you're making twice as much distance which will feel like a lot more effort, and will generally be quite desorientating.

...Unless of course, you're one of those up-stroke freaks, in which case this theory goes nowhere at all.

There is however a way to even these two different directions out, and it's actually quite simple. Pick an uneven number of strokes per string. See, your picking as a movement is never limited to one string, it's generally a somewhat larger movement that can go as wide as the distance between two or even three strings. That is why playing fast doesn't require you to actually play faster, it just requires you to play smaller, as you haven't as much distance to cover when you do.

So instead of 4 strokes, go with three, since that will constantly change your picking pattern and thus picking direction for the next string. It's one way to even out the movements and distance for every stroke.

^ = downstroke
* = upstroke


As you can see, after playing the fourth note your pick is quite far away from the next string it needs to hit, which isn't ideal.


However, this trick results in your pick being quite near the string you need to hit. While that doesn't prepare you for such larger leaps which may be necessary for string skipping or different strokes-per-string patterns, this does at least let you practice more even movements, which I believe you were looking for.

Good luck
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Last edited by FretboardToAsh at Oct 26, 2016,
FretboardToAsh - Thanks a lot for taking the time to explain that!
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n' roll!