So I've been playing guitar for about 3 months now and I'm trying to practice on my picking speed. I can some downstrokes fast but when I try to alternate between going up and down i screw up and start hitting a bunch of strings that I don't wanna be hitting. I try to practice starting out slow and working my way up in speed to get the feel of it. But I can't do it very fast at all.

my question is, how long should it usually take to master alternate picking?
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master... i dont think that can happen.

But if you just want to be able to do it without hitting other strings you'll get it soon enough. Just keep practicing, its not too hard really.
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I tryed to look for help on a different website and the guy said it took him years to master alternate picking. all i got to say is...good luck
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well you've only been playing three months so it might take you a little while longer than others. It might take you a whole month depending on how much you practice to get very comfortable with it.
But make sure you can play it perfectly slow, before you increase speed.
Mastering alternate picking doesn't happen, you just get a bit better, the key is to keep trying no matter how slow you are now, just keep pushing the envelope in terms of your own skill and make sure you're always clean in your playing, no matter what speed you're working at.
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well if your playing the power chords, its honesty pretty dam easy, that took me less then a month. I really only play Punk/Hardcore and some metal, and ive been playing for a year and a half. And when you said your hitting a bunch of strings you dont want... Thats okay its what I do, but I block the sound out from the strings I dont want to be played with my pinky, and ring finger when playing. Practise playing to some Punk bands that use those power chords. Rise Against, Anti-flag, along those lines.
dont worry about it. it takes time. u'll get better in a while. just keep practicing . this is exactly what happens to everyone
I'm in the same boat as the thread starter. I've only been playing for about 2 months, but one of the first things I did was look up the tab for Metallica's "Metal Militia" and practice the intro/chorus riff to it. Well it's more like tremolo picking, but whatever.

I keep my hand slightly tense, rested on the bridge, to help minimize the motion of my hand, works well enough, but I'm still a bit sloppy when I try to play the final riff of "One."
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I too rest my wrist on the bridge but thats because I palm mute almost all of my songs...or Snow which is too fast for my hand to be freely hanging.

Pick a song with a lot of alternate picking...an easy song...I don't know one for 3 months...I learned from Unholy Confessions but I'm not sure if thats your genre.

Oh and yeah everyone else is right too
Turn the damn gain down and distortion off when you practice your picking.
That way you won't have to mute and rest your hand on the bridge and can
focus on the picking. You might just get better that way.

3 months? Don't practice your picking speed. That's my advice. That will
almost for sure take you longer and give you some nice bad habits. Work
on your picking quality.

Eh, but no one listens to that in this shake-n-bake-I want-it-now-world. So maybe
you'll try it for a few minutes and go back to working on that speed everyone wants.
Maybe its better you just find out for yourself anyway.
i only started alternate picking about 2 weeks ago and now im really fast, so it definatly helps if you just keep on practising it
its easy really, look at david gilmour and steve jones, most of the pistols songs are well slow in tempo but come across blistering with power chords, try muting the strings with ya index finger (thats assuming your on the low e string) or if ya on the a string mute the low e with ya middle finger. thats easy after a while another thing to try is hold the 5th fret on the low e string (its the same note as the free a string) only and work ya way up to a decent pace so ya will still hear the a string but not to noticable cuz its the same note then ya can practice not hitting the a string without it sounding ****e!

hope that helps mate
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