Economy Picking Exercises

In this lesson I will show you some exercises to develop the economy picking technique, also you will learn 3 scale shapes to practice.

3
n - Down pick v - Up pick In this lesson I would like to share with you some of the exercises I have created that have helped me develop my economy picking, not that I am great at it! Also I will show you 3 scale shapes which the lesson is based around. I am assuming you already know what economy picking is, if not check out ZeGuitarist's lesson which is a really great introduction to economy picking. This is the first scale shape, it may look familiar to a lot of guitarists since it is the Minor scale (or Aeolian Mode). Since the scale starts on E, this is the E Minor Scale or E Aeolian Mode. (If modes confuse you, just ignor it for now since that is not the focus of the lesson and you can easily get through the lesson without knowing about modes) What I have done here is broken up the larger scale into smaller fragments of one octave. The larger pattern is just an extended version of the two smaller fragments combined, creating a guitar friendly 3 note per string pattern. If you are familiar with this scale you will recognise this as the first position of the Minor scale.
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|----------------13-15-17-----|
|-----------------------------|-------12-14-16--------------|
|-------------------12-14-----|-14-16-----------------------|
|----------12-14-15-----------|-----------------------------|
|-12-14-15--------------------|-----------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------14-15-17----|
|-------------------------------------13-15-17-------------|
|----------------------------12-14-16----------------------|
|-------------------12-14-16-------------------------------|
|----------12-14-15----------------------------------------|
|-12-14-15-------------------------------------------------|
The next shape uses half of the notes of the previous one but extends to lower notes. This scale is the D Mixolydian Mode (again ignor it if it confuses you). Again if you're familiar with scale shapes you may notice this is the 7th position of the Minor scale as a 3 note per string pattern.
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|-------------------13-15-----|
|-----------------------------|----------12-14-16-----------|
|-------------------10-12-----|-12-14-16--------------------|
|----------10-12-14-----------|-----------------------------|
|-10-12-14--------------------|-----------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------12-14-15----|
|-------------------------------------12-13-15-------------|
|----------------------------11-12-14----------------------|
|-------------------10-12-14-------------------------------|
|----------10-12-14----------------------------------------|
|-10-12-14-------------------------------------------------|
And the final shape is the second position of the Minor scale (F# Locrian in the case of E Minor).
|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|----------------15-17-19-----|
|-----------------------------|-------14-16-17--------------|
|-------------------14-16-----|-16-17-----------------------|
|----------14-15-17-----------|-----------------------------|
|-14-15-17--------------------|-----------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------15-17-19----|
|-------------------------------------15-17-19-------------|
|----------------------------14-16-17----------------------|
|-------------------14-16-17-------------------------------|
|----------14-15-17----------------------------------------|
|-14-15-17-------------------------------------------------|
If you are not familiar with these shapes, I would suggest getting used to them before trying to practice a larger pattern. Right, so let's move onto the actual economy picking exercises! This first exercise is the E Minor scale starting on the 12th fret which slides up to the next "position" so you are coming down the scale in a different pattern. Work slowly at getting the smooth transition between the strings on the down picks, also watch out for the switch to a previous string (this will test you alternate picking also). On the way back down work at getting a smooth transition between strings with the up picks. Notice the two patterns, ascending up the 1st position and descending through the second position.
||-----------------------------------------------------------------14-15-17-|
||o-------------------------------------------------------13-15-17----------|
||-----------------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16-------------------|
||--------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16----------------------------|
||o----------12-14-15-------------------------------------------------------|
||--12-14-15----------------------------------------------------------------|
    n  v  n  n  v  n  n  v  n  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  n  v  n  n  v  n

|-19-17-15-----------------------------------------------------------------||
|----------19-17-15-------------------------------------------------------o||
|-------------------17-16-14----------17-16-14-----------------------------||
|----------------------------17-16-14----------17-16-14--------------------||
|-------------------------------------------------------17-15-14----------o||
|----------------------------------------------------------------17-15-14--||
  v  n  v  v  n  v  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n
This exercises is almost identical, except instead of going to a higher position, you move down to a lower position. The picking pattern remains the same, but as I assume you are already familiar with economy picking you should be able to tell where you would use the technique.
||-----------------------------------------------------------------14-15-17-|
||o-------------------------------------------------------13-15-17----------|
||-----------------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16-------------------|
||--------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16----------------------------|
||o----------12-14-15-------------------------------------------------------|
||--12-14-15----------------------------------------------------------------|

|-15-14-12-----------------------------------------------------------------||
|----------15-13-12-------------------------------------------------------o||
|-------------------14-12-11----------14-12-11-----------------------------||
|----------------------------14-12-10----------14-12-10--------------------||
|-------------------------------------------------------14-12-10----------o||
|----------------------------------------------------------------14-12-10--||
The final exercise is similar, but instead of playing through the scales as groups of 4 strings, this exercises uses groups of 3 strings. Instead of coming down through the 2nd position, you can come down the 7th position for some variation or even alternate between patterns on each repetition of the exercise.
||--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
||o-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
||-----------------------------------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16-|
||--------------------12-14-16----------12-14-16----------12-14-16----------|
||o----------12-14-15----------12-14-15-------------------------------------|
||--12-14-15----------------------------------------------------------------|
    n  v  n  n  v  n  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n

|----------------------------14-15-17-19-17-15----------------------------|
|-13-15-17----------13-15-17-------------------19-17-15----------19-17-15-|
|----------12-14-16-------------------------------------17-16-14----------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  n  v  n  v  n  v  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n 

|--------------------------------------------------------------------------||
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------o||
|-17-16-14----------17-16-14-----------------------------------------------||
|----------17-16-14----------17-16-14----------17-16-14--------------------||
|-------------------------------------17-15-14----------17-15-14----------o||
|----------------------------------------------------------------17-15-14--||
  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  n  v  v  n  v
Thanks for checking out the lesson and I hope you can take something away from it!

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    guitarsftw
    Too much of the same stuff. Economy picking doesn't have to be 3 notes per string all the time.
    Sizzlor
    guitarsftw wrote: Too much of the same stuff. Economy picking doesn't have to be 3 notes per string all the time.
    agreed man, but it does make life easier lol, Eric Johnson has some pretty cool none 3 note per string ideas gong on!
    BlueLabel
    Yes, indeed... doesn't have to be 3 notes per string but the point here is that after you picked the 3rd note with a downstroke, you can proceed to the next note with another downstroke. That's economy picking! It's an "EXERCISE", please take note... And who says modes aren't positional? Indeed, they are! Modes are positional too! C ionian, D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G mixolydian, A aeolian and B locrian are based on a C major scale! What if we change our root to G? Then we're going to have G ionian, A dorian, B phrygian, etc.... C'mon dudes! Don't be too critic if you don't know what you're saying...
    aCloudConnected
    BlueLabel wrote: Yes, indeed... doesn't have to be 3 notes per string but the point here is that after you picked the 3rd note with a downstroke, you can proceed to the next note with another downstroke. That's economy picking! It's an "EXERCISE", please take note... And who says modes aren't positional? Indeed, they are! Modes are positional too! C ionian, D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G mixolydian, A aeolian and B locrian are based on a C major scale! What if we change our root to G? Then we're going to have G ionian, A dorian, B phrygian, etc.... C'mon dudes! Don't be too critic if you don't know what you're saying...
    It doesn't matter what "position" you're in. You might be playing in a "B Locrian Position" but if you're playing over the chords C, F, and G, you're not playing in B Locrian.
    Sizzlor
    BlueLabel wrote: Yes, indeed... doesn't have to be 3 notes per string but the point here is that after you picked the 3rd note with a downstroke, you can proceed to the next note with another downstroke. That's economy picking! It's an "EXERCISE", please take note... And who says modes aren't positional? Indeed, they are! Modes are positional too! C ionian, D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G mixolydian, A aeolian and B locrian are based on a C major scale! What if we change our root to G? Then we're going to have G ionian, A dorian, B phrygian, etc.... C'mon dudes! Don't be too critic if you don't know what you're saying...
    Finally someone who sees the lesson as what it is, exercises! As for the modes thing in the exercises it was purely to identify a "scale shape" arranged as a 3 note per string pattern. If you want to know about modes, then go look at a modes lesson. My lesson was aimed to guitarists who can think for themselves and adapt whatever they have taken away from this "lesson" and put it in their practicing somewhere, whether it is exacly the exercises here, or something created using the exercise as a point of reference. Anyway there is another economy picking lesson containing exercises on the way so feel free to check that out too!
    libertines4ever
    thanks, I somehow never thought about using economy picking while running through my mode scales it's just exercises, it may be a bit simple, but it doesn't deserve an extremely low rating of 2.3 and nobody will try to learn modes theory from this lesson anyway, in the lesson sizzlor referred to a good mode lesson
    Sizzlor
    libertines4ever wrote: thanks, I somehow never thought about using economy picking while running through my mode scales it's just exercises, it may be a bit simple, but it doesn't deserve an extremely low rating of 2.3 and nobody will try to learn modes theory from this lesson anyway, in the lesson sizzlor referred to a good mode lesson
    Thanks man and happy economy picking!
    Sizzlor
    aCloudConnected wrote: BlueLabel wrote: Yes, indeed... doesn't have to be 3 notes per string but the point here is that after you picked the 3rd note with a downstroke, you can proceed to the next note with another downstroke. That's economy picking! It's an "EXERCISE", please take note... And who says modes aren't positional? Indeed, they are! Modes are positional too! C ionian, D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G mixolydian, A aeolian and B locrian are based on a C major scale! What if we change our root to G? Then we're going to have G ionian, A dorian, B phrygian, etc.... C'mon dudes! Don't be too critic if you don't know what you're saying... It doesn't matter what "position" you're in. You might be playing in a "B Locrian Position" but if you're playing over the chords C, F, and G, you're not playing in B Locrian.
    Where has this playing over a C, F and G come from, this is simply just some exercises to practice economy picking, and I simply pointed out that if you play an E minor scale from an F# note to an F# note you would be playing the F# locrian position. If you play an E minor scale from F# to F# (F#, G, A, B, C, D, E, F#) are you are are you not playing the Locrian mode? and therefore the locrian position (referring to a fingering pattern) Theres no mention of playing over any chords of anything, as I stated at the beginning of the lesson the lesson is "exercises I have created that have helped me develop my economy picking".
    ZeGuitarist
    aCloudConnected wrote: It doesn't matter what "position" you're in. You might be playing in a "B Locrian Position" but if you're playing over the chords C, F, and G, you're not playing in B Locrian.
    And why exactly do you feel the need to nitpick over modal theory in a lesson about economy picking? Those who don't know this theory don't need to hear your rambling, else they'd have looked up a modes lesson, not an economy picking one. And to those who do know what you're on about, such as myself, you're coming across as a bit of a tit.