First, I'm not good at english so I hope you understand me.

I started playing guitar 9 years ago but I have not played it often so my playing is still terrible.

These days I'm trying to practice playing guitar but I feel confused because of how to pick.

So far I thought I pick guitar up-down-up-down using alternate picking but I found I often pick guitar like up-down-up-down-up-up-down-up-up.

Now I try to play a song using up-down from beginning to end regardless of rhythm but I feel it is wrong

So I have been searching about how to pick properly and alternate picking.

Some people say a way of picking is not important and play as I want. on the other hand some people say it is so important and it is related with rhythm.

In short when I play a song that is not difficult and doesn't require many techniques, I don't know when I should pick guitar 'up' and 'down'.

For example, If I pick guitar 'down' and don't have to play for a while and after a while I should start play the guitar, should I start pick guitar 'up' according to 'down' picking that I did a while ago?
Last edited by withholdment at Nov 12, 2016,
I think youi're overthinking this.

The most important thing is it sounds good, and you're playing accurately (in time) when you want to.

So, picking every note can make for a very rigid feel, whereas often a looser feel is more appropriate ... and in that case, you don't need to nor want to pick every note ... instead legato is used (maybe picking first note on each new string, or maybe just hammering on with fretting hand)

If you want to play at high speed, and you want the sound that you get with picking every note, then alternate picking is very helpful (but there other approaches ... which I won't mention to avoid confusing you).

No matter what, if you play a burst of notes, then take a rest, it doesn't matter whether you carry on from where you left off.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Nov 12, 2016,

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind answer. so you mean that if sound is good then I don't have to stick to up-down-up-down picking right?

Actually I have started feel confused when I play a same song repeatedly.

When I start play this song with down picking then I have no troubles but when I start play this same song with up picking then I can not play well and feel confused. I feel like I play a different song simply because I start with up picking even if it is a totally same song.
Last edited by withholdment at Nov 12, 2016,
withholdment Yup ... this sort of confusion is not all unusual.

Usually, music sounds better when you're mentally relaxed ... that comes through into your hands. And yes, there is no rule that says "use alternate picking or you'll be shot" :-) There actually aren't any rules in music (other than artificailly introduced at schools maybe, to try and "simplify" concepts) ... there are just pieces of advice and examples based on what others have done before (that's what music theory is ... a summary of commonly applied concepts that worked very well to create strong music ... all based on observation of others).

But regardless of whether and how you pick, it's vital to develop a strong sense of time, and play accurately within that time (when you choose to). Otherwise there can be huge problems playing with others.
Like jerry said, the faster the stuff you're playing is the more important the minutiae of your picking becomes, once you get to a certain speed quite often you simply have to pick things in a specific sequence to be able to play thre lick at all. However at slower tempos you really can play pretty fast and loose with this kind of thing - as long as you're comfortable, in time and can hit the notes you want to when you want to.

Now if you were looking to make some serious progress towards shredder territory then you might want to adopt a more disciplined approach throughout your playing as it's certainly not a bad habit to get into, but obviously that's not everybody's priority.
Actually called Mark!

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Grab the pick this way which is most comfortable for you .. the only thing you should look for is that to be sure that you are not hitting more strings or somehow make noise with more than you want to pick.
Be yourself !
I think, mostly, the "feel" is more important than playing like a robot. However, I do pay strict attention to my picking for solos or it starts to sound clumsy.

Go with what feels natural and sounds good.
The picking technique you use depends entirely on what you're trying do.

If you're just looking to develop a base of picking technique, I'd say start with alternate picking. The general principle is to downpick on the beats, and uppick on the upbeats. If you're playing straight 8ths, for example, you'd downpick every quarter beat, and up all the 8ths in between. You basically do whatever gets you to down pick on the downbeat (triplets excepted).

This is called strict alternate picking. You're not often going to play that way, but it's a good method for developing a sort of default picking technique that works in sync with the rhythm of the songs you're playing.