#1
I submitted this to the Lessons section. Just thought I'd post
here as well and get some additional comments....


Economy Picking Primer AND The "RULES"
--------------------------------------


What I will do in this article, that I really haven't seen
explained very well elsewhere is to give you the 2 SIMPLE
RULES about economy picking that really boil it down to the
basic structure of the patterns.

IMPORTANT: You should NOT consider economy picking a replacement
for alternate picking. I am assuming you are already a good
alternate picker as that is really a more fundamental and
general skill.


So what is economy picking? It's easiest to illustrate
with an example. Here's a fretboard diagram that shows
a typical 2 string pattern that you might see in a number
of scales and it contains 6 notes:


----1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16

E|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
B|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
G|--|--|--|--X--X--|--X--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
D|--|--|--|--X--X--|--X--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
A|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
E|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|


For starters, I will use only 4 of those notes, Play this
short tab sequence. The "U" indicates an UP stroke, the
"D" indicates a DOWN stroke.



E|------------------------------------------------
B|------------------------------------------------
G|---------5-7------------------------------------
D|-----5-7----------------------------------------
A|------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------
*******U*D*D*U************************************


Congradulations! You just economy picked. In the
picking pattern, UDDU, the "economy" occurred at the
DD when you did 2 down picks in a row. If you reverse
that sequence, you will do the opposite version of the
economy pick where the picking sequence would be DUUD.

TIP: The actual economy pick will feel like a single
continuous stroke, rather than 2 separate strokes, when
done as intended.

That's really about all you need to know about the definition
of economy picking. Next, I want to give you the TWO SIMPLE
RULES every good economy picker follows and after a while it
becomes so ingrained it becomes second nature.


The Two Simple Economy Picking Rules
-------------------------------------

Economy picking, by definition, occurs when you travel from
ONE STRING TO ANOTHER STRING. We can consider that a direction
of travel. For example, if you had a picking pattern that
went from the E -> A -> D -> G strings, we could say you're
traveling in ONE direction across strings on the fretboard.
If you had this pattern: E -> A -> D -> G -> D, you
REVERSED directions by going back to the D string from the
G string.

So, what we consider when we want to economy pick and travel
across strings is this: COUNT THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU PICKED
ON ANY ONE STRING.

This leads to the 2 simple rules:

1) You can travel in the SAME direction on an ODD number of picks.
2) You can REVERSE directions with an EVEN number of picks.

That's it!

Armed with only those 2 rules you can create some really nice
picked runs of notes. I should also point out, that for most
practical purposes, ODD is going to be either 1 or 3 picks, and
EVEN is going to be either 2 or 4.


Now, we'll look at some examples using some REPEATING patterns.
I'll start off really simple with some economy patterns that
work on 2 strings using the freboard pattern I've shown above.


Economy on Two Strings
-----------------------

Let's look at a 2 string repeating pattern with an eye to the
rules. What we have when repeat on 2 strings is we are going
back and forth and back and forth ... between these 2 strings.
In other words: WE ARE CONSTANTLY REVERSING DIRECTIONS. Back-
to-back-to-back... so to speak. Therefore, we are going to use
exclusively RULE 2. Even number of picked notes per string.

Let's look at the absolute simplest example of this. This is where
we'll use 2 picks on each string as we go back and forth. You've
already played this in the first tab, but we now just repeat and
extend it:


The "2-2"
E|------------------------------------------------
B|------------------------------------------------
G|---------5-7-----5-7----------------------------
D|-----5-7-----5-7------ .... --------------------
A|------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------
*******U*D*D*U*U*D*D*U** .... ********************


That's a good one to practice. You should be able to FLY through
that repetition and it will feel pretty close to only making
2 pick strokes for every 4 notes you pick.

Now, let's make the pattern a little more complex. This time
the rule formula is going to be: pick 2 notes on 1 string, pick
4 notes on the other. Again, note both are EVEN:


The "2-4"
E|------------------------------------------------
B|------------------------------------------------
G|---------4-5-7-5-----4-5-7-5--------------------
D|-----5-7---------5-7--------- .... -------------
A|------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------
*******U*D*D*U*D*U*U*D*D*U*D*U* .... **************


How'd it go? It's a bit harder than the first, but still some
thing you should be able to FLY through (and this makes it
clearer why you SHOULD be good at alternate picking prior
to trying economy).


OK, our final 2 string pattern. This time up a notch with
a 4 pick - 4 pick pattern.


The "4-4"
E|------------------------------------------------
B|------------------------------------------------
G|------------5-7-5-4----------------------------
D|----5-4-5-7---------5 .........-----------------
A|------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------
******U*D*U*D*D*U*D*U*U .........



That's pretty much it for two strings. I think you'll
easily be able to think up some more. Remember it's
all just EVEN number of picks.


Economy on Three Strings and Beyond
------------------------------------

Those 2 string patterns are important. Practice them! In the
larger scheme of things you'll probably think of them as I do:
they are going to be the "bookends" in your runs. When you want
to reverse directions you'll be using them at "one end" of your
patterns.

Now lets extend our fretboard pattern to include a couple more strings --
one on each side of the given pattern:


----1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16

E|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
B|--|--|--|--|--X--|--X--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
G|--|--|--|--X--X--|--X--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
D|--|--|--|--X--X--|--X--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
A|--|--|--|--|--X--|--X--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|
E|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|


Our next basic pattern is going to employ BOTH rules. This will
be the "2-3-2". NOTE: the "2"s "bookend" the "3".


The "2-3-2"
E|------------------------------------------------
B|---------------5-7------------------------------
G|---------4-5-7-----7-5-4-----4 ..... -----------
D|-----5-7-----------------7-5--------------------
A|------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------
*******U*D*D*U*D*D*U*U*D*U*U*D*D .....


I would consider the above to be the next most basic
economy pick pattern. But, of course, there's:


The "2-1-2"
E|------------------------------------------------
B|-----------5-7----------------------------------
G|---------5-----5-----5  .....-------------------
D|-----5-7---------7-5----------------------------
A|------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------------
*******U*D*D*D*U*U*U*D*D .......


I'd really consider that a 3 string "sweep" pattern, but
the sweep really follows the EXACT SAME RULES.

How about this one:


The "2-3-3-2":
E|------------------------------------------------
B|-------------------5-7---------------------------
G|-------------4-5-7-----7-5-4---------------------
D|-------4-5-7-----------------7-5-4-----4 ....----
A|---5-7-----------------------------7-5----------
E|------------------------------------------------
*****U*D*D*U*D*D*U*D*D*U*U*D*U*U*D*U*U*D*D .....



Hopefully, you're beginning to get the idea behind all
this. My intent with all this is to give you the
basic building blocks to construct your own economy picked
licks. They just follow 2 VERY SIMPLE RULES. What will happen
if you practice these rules is it will become second nature
and you will easily be able to make these lines up on the
spot.

I think you'll easily be able to think up some patterns
like: "2-3-3-3-2", "2-3-4", "2-3-1-4"... The list goes on.
Think of these a little repeatable chunks that you can
string together and you'll be able to rip some nice solos
out!


A Final Word About Scales
--------------------------

I deliberately wanted to avoid anything about scales and theory
in this article and keep it strictly limited to just patterns.
But, it's three note per string scale fingerings where this
stuff really shines! If you don't know about those types
of fingerings, particularly for the diatonic (major) scale, look
them up! Not only are they REGULAR picking patterns, but they
are ODD groupings. The ODD part makes them really handy for
economy.

For the advanced player: Yes! This can also be done with the
pentatonic scale and it's VERY cool. I'll do a future article
about blazingly fast pentatonic picking.
#2
It a good lesson, but isn't there already an economy lesson there ?
Looking for a new sig!
#6
It's a nice lesson, but you can only read so many lessons before you really just sit down and try to learn it.