Alternate Picking

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  1. Timbo
    Member

    Who here uses strict alternate picking vs. economy picking or some hybrid of the two?

    I never paid much attention to my picking when I started playing, and didn't get a good teacher until later on, so I naturally developed an economy picking style. My teacher now says that I'll ultimately be able to play faster and more cleanly if I learn to alternate pick. I'm wondering if the wisest thing to do is to become comfortable with both styles and try to identify the best way to pick individual passages...

    Magical rainbow ponies
  2. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Well, on the thing about speed, Hal Galper says that the key to play fast is to have fast ears.

    The thing of alternate vs. economy is more that of articulation that pure speed. Of course, you have to practice straight picking in order to keep your shape and be able to play at a certain speed (however don't forget your right hand), but the only different thing between the two is when crossing strings. And then, it's you rmusical judgement that must decide when to use one or another.

    I, for example, prefer legato lines, so when I can I make slurs, hammer/pulls, and economy. But if the song asks for it, I don't have problems attacking every note, or even playing stacatto.

    My advice is to work on both, preferably when working on some other subject, because picking by itself is pretty useless until you have something interesting to "pick" ;)

  3. Kapteinar
    Member

    I'm not much of an alternate picker, but I get by.
    When I was younger I alternate picked everything, but when I started to play jazz I switched to economy and legato.
    I can play pretty fast with only alternate, but to me, the best solution is definetly a mix between the two.

    I also hybrid pick, as I think nothing can beat the dynamics of the nails and flesh.
    I'm planning on practising the Moreno style fingers-only tech wich he has used a lot lately too, as it seems to get a sound that neither the pick or hybrid can get.

    Better not to exclude anything, as you never know what kind of sound the ears want you to get out of your instrument! ;)

  4. david6strings
    Member

    i used strictly alternate picking but im not proud of it. i do one direccion sweeps in melodies like moose the mooche and others and melodies sound better in these situations, like jorge says is not just about tempo. for me hybrid picking is almost a guitar style for itself so i categorize 3 ways to picking: alternate, sweep p and economy p. what alternate picking way gives you is an equivalence between the direccion of the pick and the binary subdivision whatever the phrase is built on, generally eights so every rhythm you can sing the hand "dance it" with always the same direction, what, in improvisation is quite useful isn't it? both jorge and kapteinar say cool tips and you can see at this point you cant forget about 1 method or another. you have to know all, in music always seems end with that conclusion. in my case i have to develope the jimmy bruno economy p way. i have to get into it

  5. jazznan
    Member

    I think alternate picking is great for bluegrass and fiddle tunes and a variety of styles, however it also has limitations. I think more than anything it's how much you play.
    I think economy picking and slurring, thanks to Jim Hall and others and their desire to sound more legato like horns fits the jazz aesthetic nicely, so obviously strict alternate picking will have limitations.

    I remember reading an interview with Metheny where he talks about sitting down with a Frank Gambale instructional video to work on sweep-picking. I think different techniques give you different colors..so don't limit yourself, just play

  6. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    OFFTOPIC: Well, in Pat's interview he says that sometimes he thought of studying the Gambale's videos, because he sees his picking technique as inneficient. And it certainly looks weird, and the first time I tried to pick like him I missed the string half the time.

    However, I don't know of any other way to play with a pick that gets you that special tone, smooth but with a certain attack. It's a kind of mix between the sustain of flat-wounds and the attack of round-wounds, but without the gauges of flats. I myself have been practicing that way of holding the pick lately.

    Plus, there's a nice side-effect to the way of holding the pick, and I'm sure that was one reason of this technique's development: your wrist is in a position where you can dampen the strings you don't play. [/offtopic]

  7. Matt
    Member

    to me, the motion of the pick is more important than the up-down portion of it, which really one kinda implies the other; however, i focus on keepin the pick pretty much on one plane, totally even - much like a shredder (not that i am that good...yet!). i find it is more economical than the sarod-y type 'twist'-y motion.

    that being said, i don't think too much about up-down or whatever; i focus more on the plane and the economic motion. and tonal evenness.


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