#1
Is there even a difference between circle picking and economy picking? Between two strings wouldn't they be the same? Although I've been searching for exact examples/definitions of circle picking I can't find a consistent answer besides "flex the thumb"... which is retarded, that would mean that the ONLY difference was that you aren't using your wrist but you are still doing basically the same thing, except maybe a little arched...

I don't know
I don't get it.
If someone (who actually knows) could clarify this for me... that would be appreciated as I HEAR it is the best/most efficient/fastest way to pick, but I don't exactly know what 'it' is or how it is better... or even different.

Thnx
#2
iv never had a situation where circle picking would be better then economy picking, I am far better at economy picking then i am at circle picking so i suppose i am biased.


Economy picking tends to be the best option in anything that isnt sweeped, tapped, bluegrassed etc
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#3
Circle picking is a type of picking motion that can be used for either alternate or economy picking. It is, if i remember rightly, the motion that some people use where they pick from the thumb and finger (see Takayoshi Ohmura: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mcsxpVI3EZM )

Economy picking affects the order of pick strokes you use to reach notes. Where on three not per string lines going up the strings you end up picking down up down down up down etc...(see Guthrie Govan).

Does that help?
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#4
alternate pick in most cases, but if you come up on a weird string skip or maybe an odd riff, economy pick, I've never actually seen the need for circle picking.
#5
I don't think I saw the circle picking in that video... Did I miss it?
What exactly is it? If doing 3 notes per string, how would it be played using circle picking? I'm getting the impression it is just economy picking being picked with your thumb not wrist... right?
#6
Quote by shabooty
I don't think I saw the circle picking in that video... Did I miss it?
What exactly is it? If doing 3 notes per string, how would it be played using circle picking? I'm getting the impression it is just economy picking being picked with your thumb not wrist... right?


Takayoshi Ohmura uses circle picking as his basic picking motion; the physical act of picking. He uses his thumb and index finger to move the pick in a circular motion; that is circle picking.

He doesn't economy pick that I can see apart from when he's sweeping.

Circle picking isn't a matter of up or downstrokes it's just the way the pick moves no matter which direction it's going.
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#7
OOHHH. well then, what's the point?
How come some people say it is amazing? And faster? And better?
#8
Quote by shabooty
OOHHH. well then, what's the point?
How come some people say it is amazing? And faster? And better?


You seem to be confusing two almost unrelated things. Circle picking is just a picking motion and the movement that people use to pick is quite personal; no one approach is any faster than any other.

Economy picking is a different matter entirely and theoretically economy picking is faster in some situations but only when you are playing odd numbers of notes on each string.
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#9
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
You seem to be confusing two almost unrelated things. Circle picking is just a picking motion and the movement that people use to pick is quite personal; no one approach is any faster than any other.


I'm confused on this. How is that some people (such as Takayoshi) can use circle picking so ****ing well, when it can be damn near impossible for someone else to ever use it effectively? Would you say it has to do with each person and their hand shape/structure, or is it just the fact that Takayoshi has worked hard and mastered it for so long?
#10
Quote by fixationdarknes
I'm confused on this. How is that some people (such as Takayoshi) can use circle picking so ****ing well, when it can be damn near impossible for someone else to ever use it effectively? Would you say it has to do with each person and their hand shape/structure, or is it just the fact that Takayoshi has worked hard and mastered it for so long?


Somewhere in between the two; I have no doubt that Takayoshi worked on it for years to get it to his standard but he probably came to that picking motion quite naturally because it works well for his hand.
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#11
I see. Yeah that makes sense. Just out of curiosity what kind of picking motion do you use yourself Zaphod? I used to mainly use circle picking but I've switched to wrist picking and it seems to have more stability and potential for speed.
#12
I try to use a pure wrist motion; I can't get my fingers to move with any sense of precision and my wrist just feels so much more natural.
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#13
is circle picking when your wrist appears (to a second person view) to be moving in a circular-semicirclar motion? lets say you pick d5 g7b7 e5, would your wrist move a little back after picking the 5 and then come back up? is that circular picking?
#14
No. A pure form of circle picking involves no actual wrist movement at all. It's where you flex and unflex your thumb/forefinger back and forth, which would sort of make a circular movement. Really proficient players who use this technique hardly make a circle at fast speeds due to their extremely minute movement though.

But your wrist itself doesn't generate any movement. At least not in a pure form of circle picking.
#15
I generally tell students that picking is a combination of motions starting at the shoulder to the elbow, wrist, and down to the pick itself. It should all be involved in some way, and each little muscle has its purpose.

I agree, though, that the faster you play the less involved the major muscle groups become and the smaller the radius of the circle becomes.
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#16
Quote by fixationdarknes
No. A pure form of circle picking involves no actual wrist movement at all. It's where you flex and unflex your thumb/forefinger back and forth, which would sort of make a circular movement. Really proficient players who use this technique hardly make a circle at fast speeds due to their extremely minute movement though.

But your wrist itself doesn't generate any movement. At least not in a pure form of circle picking.

Any chance you could point me to a video showing circle picking at slow speeds in a close-up, or perhaps make said video and post a link to it? I'm curious about it and nobody I know can circle pick, but I'd like to give it a try. I know it takes forever to learn, I think Eric Johnson said it took several years (forget the number) for him to master it but it's popped up several times know and I'd at least like to know how. I know a few major guitarists use it, Kenny Burrell, Eric Johnson, Takayoshi, Roy Buchanan, etc.
Supposedly if you circle pick your notes are ridiculously clean at high speeds as opposed to alternate picking, which seems to be the main reason to use it. I've also heard it's hard to pick at high speed for extended periods though, so depending on your style that may be an issue (if it's true).
#17
Quote by Nightfyre
Any chance you could point me to a video showing circle picking at slow speeds in a close-up, or perhaps make said video and post a link to it? I'm curious about it and nobody I know can circle pick, but I'd like to give it a try. I know it takes forever to learn, I think Eric Johnson said it took several years (forget the number) for him to master it but it's popped up several times know and I'd at least like to know how. I know a few major guitarists use it, Kenny Burrell, Eric Johnson, Takayoshi, Roy Buchanan, etc.
Supposedly if you circle pick your notes are ridiculously clean at high speeds as opposed to alternate picking, which seems to be the main reason to use it. I've also heard it's hard to pick at high speed for extended periods though, so depending on your style that may be an issue (if it's true).


First of all, circle picking is alternate picking. Alternate picking is a technique. Circle picking is merely a way to go about executing that technique. You can rotate your wrist, move it side-to-side, use a door-knocking motion, spaz your whole arm up and down, or a combination of some of them or all of them. Generally the most practical choice is to combine some of the movements. But they are all ways to alternate pick. Anyway...

So, I'm not sure how you write with a pen/pencil, but I generally write similarly as to how you would circle pick. If you write using your thumb and forefinger (assuming you hold your pen with those two fingers), you probably do too. So check that out.

Another thing is that IMO circle picking is generally at its best if combined with the wrist. I don't find pure circle picking to be as efficient. I used to use a mixture of wrist rotation and circle picking, but now I switched and am generally a pure wrist picker combining rotation and oscillation.

Funny you mention that you heard circle picking is hard to use for extended periods of time, because that's the exact reason I stopped using circle picking. I couldn't pick comfortably at high speeds for longer than maybe 8 or 9 notes. The muscles used to pick just seem to tense up so easily. But you can go ahead and try it out and make that judgment for yourself. Like Zaphod was saying it seems to just work for some people (with a lot of hard work to build up the speed obviously, but then again any form of picking will require that).

I recommend watching a few of Toni Lloret's videos, along with Takayoshi like you already stated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLhKyFwsGSs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zamTW6O9vEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvEaBrQa_yI

Those are a few from Toni. He doesn't seem to always use pure circle picking, but in those videos he generally stays pretty strict to it. Note that his wrist/arm will also move, but generally only when strumming or string skipping. The actual picking motion is primarily generated by the combination of his thumb and forefinger bending and straightening.

This guy is using circle picking to some extent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEdnmeU6dis

I'll try to make a video later, but I don't have a camera on me right now. In the end, if you don't seem to be able to play that well using circle picking, or can't figure out how to use it effectively, I wouldn't be that disappointed. It generally is less effective than using strictly the wrist. At least IMO.
#18
^yeah, I got the bit about circle picking being a fine-tuning aspect of picking technique. I meant the difference between pure circle picking (no wrist) and picking from the wrist (which I referred to as alternate picking). I'm aware of the fundamentals of the technique, but I'd rather at least attempt it correctly than discard the technique because I'm doing it wrong.
Thanks for the links! I'll take a look, try it out and see if it's worth the effort.
#19
The value of circle picking is sonic. I've found that I was only ever able to become proficient at it after I was already comfortable with alternate picking.

It has a bowing quailty that causes the note to bloom slightly after you pick it, as opposed to a direct cut through the string.

You can get similar sonic results by using an oscillatory motion with a resonable amount of bounce, but it's still not entirely all there.
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#20
Quote by Nightfyre
^yeah, I got the bit about circle picking being a fine-tuning aspect of picking technique. I meant the difference between pure circle picking (no wrist) and picking from the wrist (which I referred to as alternate picking). I'm aware of the fundamentals of the technique, but I'd rather at least attempt it correctly than discard the technique because I'm doing it wrong.
Thanks for the links! I'll take a look, try it out and see if it's worth the effort.


I see. Simply a misunderstanding then. And as you're looking into it, I recommend trying out a mixture of circle picking and wrist picking. I find it could be quite effective if mastered. I used to use it, but I still think that circle picking is disadvantageous for tremolo picking and the like where you will have to pick for extended periods of time.

Another note: I find that circle picking is most useful when used either in bursts (e.g. galloping) or for switching back and forth between two strings (pentatonics) as the the extendion/rectraction of the thumb tends to make changing strings a lot easier. Try it out.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at May 4, 2008,
#21
^My fault for referring to alternate picking incorrectly. Anyhow, thanks for posting those videos. Looks like I was close, but far enough off that the error could have hampered any attempts at the technique. I have to say I'm intrigued; the near-exclusive use of the fingers for picking certainly has advantages. The actual picking motion would remain unchanged while changing strings, which could clean up string changes and especially string skipping significantly since the two motions are independent... now to try it out for myself!
#22
Any luck Nightfyre?

By the way I found this random Youtube video of some guy using circle picking: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ge6I-uZzoio&feature=related

He's not really that good, but I guess it's another video to view some circle picking heh.
#23
I've had some luck in the (very) few moments I've been able to practice... school's wrapping up, so end-of-year concerts, projects, and exams have taken way too much of my time these past couple of weeks.
It comes fairly easily, though it doesn't have the same easy feel as straight-up alt picking in terms of groove just yet. String skipping certainly feels easier. I lost some speed, of course, but I think I'll give it a while longer because I don't think I've had enough time to really judge yet.
#25
i didn't see it so i'll just add that the real advantage in mastering circle picking is that the pick doesn't stop moving and you use less effort for the return since you don't stop the pick and redirect it. i alternate pick though, it works for me since i like an aggressive attack that circle picking lacks.


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#26
I used to be quite sufficient at circle picking, but my main problem came about when I wanted to tremolo pick single strings for extended periods of time. Circle picking, for me, simply lacked the endurance necessary to do so. Whereas now that I pick with my wrist only, I can pick at high speeds virtually forever.
#27
Once you've really got the feel for circular picking, which takes a while, you'll find picking a breeze. Circular picking was the first technique I learnt and that was 6 years ago. For me to get a good feel for this technique it took just over half a year (this was my first time on guitar also) and it was about 2 years later before I mastered it - so a little over 2 and a half years.

To pick really fast for only a few seconds means you haven't got the hang of it yet, because the picking once mastered is so relaxed that you can go on for long periods of time without slowing down. However, it takes some time before you are able to achieve this.

It requires a lot of self discipline to learn this technique but at the end of it your thumb and finger will be accustomed to playing at fast speeds with accurate string changing and a overall relaxed way of picking. This in my opinion is the best but hardest and longest technique to learn.