Shred Guitar Lesson 05

Learn the technique economy picking. We will also cover ways to combine the technique with others.

Ultimate Guitar
Hey guys. In this lesson we will take a look at the 4th scale pattern within E minor. We will also cover the technique of economy picking. We will learn what it is and how to execute the technique. We will also learn how to combine all the different techniques we have looked at so far. Are you tuned and warmed up? I hope so because the lessons will get more advanced starting with this one. Here we go. Economy picking is a difficult technique to grasp. I have found that it is also hard to explain, but I will try my best to make it easy to understand. The best way to think of it is a combination of alternate picking and sweep picking. We will cover sweep picking later, but for now just know that is a fluid down and up motion across several strings. To execute this technique involves changing strings. On one string you alternate pick as usual, but when you switch to a different string you pick in the direction you're moving strings. It is best to see how it works by an example. I will provide the pick stroke direction to make it easier to see what exactly I am talking about. This exercise is just to get you used to the technique. Here it is: D=Down-stroke U=Up-stroke
   D  U  D  D  
So for this example you would go like this: Down, Up, Down, and Down whenever you change to the higher string. Just practice this example over and over until you get the motion down. Try to make it one fluid motion. Do not stop and then do the downstroke. Make it one simple motion. That is why it is called economy picking. It is fluid and it takes less motion in your wrist to execute the technique, which can result in becoming faster. However, at this point in this course you should not be worried about speed. That will come later. You should worry about getting the techniques clean and precise. You might be wondering how to change strings when going up, so here is an example that utilizes that. You should start on an up-stroke for this example to get the upward motion correct. Here is the tab:
   U  D  U  U  
Notice that these two exercises come from our E minor root scale. You can also combine then repeat the two exercises above to get an even better workout. For some players starting with an up-stroke can be much more difficult than starting with a down-stroke. You should get used to using both methods, because it will make your alternate and economy picking that much better. The next thing we will look at is the fourth pattern within E minor. It starts on the note A. You will also use economy picking to extend the idea. Here is the scale:
   D  U  D  D  U  D  D  U  D  D  U  D  D  U  D  D  U  D  U  D  U  U  D  U  

   U  D  U  U  D  U  U  D  U  U  D  U  
There is our scale pattern. Take it slow and remember to make the notes even and clear, especially when changing strings. Now we will look at a sequence within this pattern to give the borin' ol' scale life. Our pattern will be a simple one that we have looked at before, but we will combine two different sequences into one. You should be used to the technique by now so I will give you a little test in this exercise. Whenever you change strings I will leave the pick stroke out. You need to basically fill in the blanks with the appropriate stroke. Here it is:
   D  U  D     U  D     U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D     U  D     U  D     U  D    

   U     D  U  D  U  
See? It turns out it wasn't that hard to figure out the missing strokes. The sequence starts off with one we did in Lesson 03 and ends with another sequence we looked at in Lesson 02. We end on the 24th fret, which is our root note E. That was a fun one to play. By now you should feel pretty confident in your economy picking. If not then keep going over the exercises until you get used to the technique. One of the most important things you can do with the guitar is to combine techniques. I will provide an exercise that will combine all the techniques we have looked at so far. I will only put the pick stroke when using economy picking. All other notes will be normal. I will only put the stroke you should be on then the stroke after when changing to another string. Have fun:
                                 U  U        D  D                            

That one is fun too. Remember to always practice these techniques I have been covering. They are very important. Economy picking is a gateway to sweep picking, but we will not cover that until later. In the next lesson we will look at our 5th pattern in E minor. We will also cover a more complicated technique of legato and alternate picking called string skipping. Practice makes perfect with these things. They will make you a better guitar player guaranteed. If you have questions you can ask in the comments below, on my profile, or you can shoot me an e-mail. Until the next lesson, see ya.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Genghis Khan
    sorry, in this lesson you say that when we change string we have to give the plectrum strike towards the next string. it doesn't respect the alternate picking. is there something to understand when we have to use alternate picking and when economy picking? thanks and sorry for any grammar errors, i'm not english..
    This technique is not exactly alternate picking. When changing strings pick in the direction youre changing strings. Follow the tab and you be able to understand easier. Its kind of difficult to explain.
    Genghis Khan
    ok, but if im playing a song with a lick where i can use either alternate or economy picking, wich should i use? how can i reconize what techniqe i should use ? however thanks a lot for this lessons
    Genghis Khan
    in lesson 2 you said that when we play the first three notes we do (down-up-down) when we change to the downward string , we should do (up -down-up). and in this lesson you say to do (down-up down) and again (down-up-down) cause we are going downwards. so this is my question: whic is the technique to use, when we can use both? sorry for the disturb.. XD