#1
I've been playing/practicing for a year and a half to 2 years now and I still cannot alternate pick. I can just do down stroke picking at a decently speedy pace but when I practice scales with alternate picking or even speed builders with alternate picking I mess up.

The Up stroke kills me because I end up picking too far up and hitting the string above it.

I know the answer is going to be "keep practicing" but I just need to vent...
#2
alt picking is very important, not only will you end up playing faster, but you will not strain yourself with constant downpicks.
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#3
Its important.
The trick is to use as small HAND movements as possible without using your arms at all.
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#4
What type of music do you play? The stuff I do I could never imagine playing unless I used alternate picking..
#5
maybe its the position u hold the pick. i can alternate pick slowly,but when it came to speeding i couldnt. i figured it out last night and now im faster than ever. just experiment with how u hold the pick.
#6
I like playing stuff like Pearl Jam, Ween, Alice in Chains, REM, Tool and other early 90's alternative and rock.
I also only have an acoustic so maybe thats why its a bit more difficult.
#7
I had the same ''problem'' I was able to downstroke with a pretty decent speed, I messed my upstroke and I was not really able to alternate picking, then when I started playing in a band and wanted to do cover or song that were at over 180bpm, I was straining myself pretty badly and could not finish the song, what happen is you have to play 2 times faster with only downstrokes, it gives punch when you're doing some rythm but forget it if you want to play really fast.

What I did to help me was doing only upstrokes for a couple of weeks, my alternatve picking was highly improved after that.
#8
It is very important, and to practice just take it slow and have patience. You'll get it eventually, it really doesn't take that long to get it going.
#9
Thats my second problem....I feel 10x more comfortable when I hold my pick between the side of my middle finger and thumb. When I hold it with my index and thumb it always feels like its going to slip.
#10
Alternate picking as opposed to 100% downpicking is pretty essential. Alternate picking as opposed to economy picking isn't really necessary imo. There is a constant arguement about which is better for technical playing; alternate or economy.
#11
What's economy picking? I'm guessing a ratio between your up strokes and down strokes? Like maybe 40% UP/60% DOWN.
#12
Economy picking means that if you're picking, say, from the A string to the D string, you pick down on both strings. If you then pick back to the A string, you pick up.
eg:


|---------------------------------|
|---------------------------------|
|----4-5-4------------------------|
|-7---------7-5--7----------------|
|--------------------8-7-5--------|
|--------------------------8-7-5--|

A d  u d u  d u  d   u d u d u d

E d  d u d  u d u    u d u u d u  
#13
Quote by blue_strat
Alternate picking as opposed to 100% downpicking is pretty essential. Alternate picking as opposed to economy picking isn't really necessary imo. There is a constant arguement about which is better for technical playing; alternate or economy.

There's no argument...they're both the same thing.
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#14
YEah you should start alternate picking, start off slow. If u dont you will eventually hit a brick wall and realise you can't play anything any faster and then GUTTER. So yeah hope that helps =P
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#15
Quote by steven seagull
There's no argument...they're both the same thing.

Well, strict alternate picking. Like John Petrucci.
#16
Find some good exercises to do. I start with the ol 1234. Do it on each string then backwards, then move to 2345 etc.. All the way up to the 12th fret do it in strict up down. After a while it will get easier and more natural. Then youll find your self doing it without thinking. You can also alternate the fingering as a second exercise. 1234..2341..3412..4123 etc. Works pretty good for me.
#18
i'd say alternate is extremely important, tho saying that i don't use STRICT alternate picking, usually a blend of alternate/economy as skipping downwards over a string just to hit it on the way up again is awkward for me,
#19
I think its pretty important as well. I don't use it much, but thats one of the
things that makes my sound mine. The thing that is so cool about alternate
picking is the accents it can create in your riffs. Sometimes alternate picking
can (I dont know if this makes any sense?) make you sound like you are playing
notes that arent there..or sound like you are using some kind of special effect
that is not there. Alternate picking can sometimes make a hammer-on that just
doesnt sound quite right work. This is a thing you should learn because even
if you dont use it...it can keep you from throwing away riffs or passages that
just have a little something missing. (works for pull-offs too)

Most of all ....

Alternate picking is cumbersome at first..but after a while you will see your
speed start to pick up rediculously.

also...I like to play with emotion..so i just play what i feel. I still like to add just
a tiny bit of flash..or technical skill at the end of my solos to give the feeling that
they are coming to a conclusion...And to show that I can play with the big boys
even though this particular song may not call for an all out barrage of notes.
I bet Charlie Brown's teacher's name was Mrs.Hammett
Last edited by Washburnd Fretz at Nov 4, 2007,
#20
i disagree, i learned alt picking, and now thats all i do, anything else is uncomfortable. sometimes econmy picking is more efficient, and its hard to break the alt pick. in fact two friends of mine, who have learned guitar on their own didnt even no what alternate picking is, they are really good at guitar, and tear me up when it comes to arpeggiating. they just do whatever is comfortable, and it works.
#21
its really good practice to have, you can make the notes more precise and play them quicker, its bsically strumming on one string
#22
It took me a while to get alternate picking down, and I still haven't mastered it yet. But after playing for a while, it eventually just came naturally. I must be special. lol
#23
best way to learn alt picking is to hold the guitar on your lap while you watch tv, mute all six strings with your finger, and just go up down up down up down all the way down the strings,,, no noise to bother anyone, and it will really embed it into your brain.
#24
when practicing your picking, try using only upstrokes. i dont remember where i got that from. but it works. go through basic scale runs using only upstrokes. do it for...maybe...a 1/2 hour. then go just downstrokes. if you do enough upstrokes, you will have to actually focus on doing just downstrokes.
just repeat that throughout your practice sessions. alt picking will be a breeze afterwards.
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#25
I used to only down pick/strum, it made the tone of chords to be rather dull and repetitive. You can definitely get a different sounds with alternate picking.

Alternate picking sounds awesome.