string skipping picking

(7 posts)
  1. cruxtable

    I've been working on my technique lately, switching from my previous habit of picking sloppily and alternating going from low to high strings to the economy approach (i was already able to economy pick smoothly going high to low).... It's getting better but a current issue I face is when string skipping.... e.g. trying to pick open triads a la pat metheny (

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    if I try to economy pick it, I find the only way to get it to sound good, clean and even is by picking three separate down motions, as opposed to one fluid down motion and hitting all three strings...this seems to add tension and feels slow. Are there any other economy pickers out there who have dealt with this problem? Should I just try to get in the habit of alternating when doing those kinds of passages?

  2. jazznan

    I either use straight alternate picking or pick and fingers, but whatever you use, it takes a lot of time to get this into your improv, so practice it slowly and then it will start showing up is my advice

  3. Matt

    i used to have a pretty big problem with picking too (not that i dont now, but it's improved so much). i found that when using any motion, most of the tension came from the position of my wrist, so look into that. try to relax your wrist as much as possible.

    in terms of practice, just go slow and if the tension is there at slow tempos, switch something. i remember reading and believing that if felt tense at first because it was new, but that's not true, or at least for me.

    to practice crossing strings, i wrote out the (i believe) max permutations of arranging three notes on three different strings and have practiced doing them as triads, stacked fourths, etc. i also did permutations of four notes with two notes on one string and one note on the other two strings, and i found having those to practice helped my picking across strings.

    hope this makes sense. i again claim not to be a technique prophet but those are my thoughts.

  4. arewolfe

    Making a sweeping motion when there are strings to skip is definitely tough... I can't do it nearly as smoothly as when the strings are all adjacent. I usually alternate pick lines like that, unless I'm specifically practicing downstrokes only.

    I think it's OK that you're doing a slight downward motion to attack each string, instead of one fluid motion. If you practice it enough repetitions and slowly enough I think it's possible to get it to become fluid.

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  5. silverwater

    I know exactly what you're talking about when you mention attacking each string vs. one fluid motion. I think it comes down to how fast you're playing (separate attacks for slower speeds and one motion for fast speeds).

    On the same subject, do you ever find something can be harder/easier to sweep pick depending on what you're doing in the left hand? I've come to notice that half of the time when I think the problem is in the right-hand, it's actually in the left.

    Like this is easy: x-x-10-9-8-7 (and down)

    But something like this can trip me up: x-x-5-6-5-5 (and down)

    ...even though the right hand motion should be exactly the same. I also think there's something about having a different finger used for each string helps your brain to coordinate the movement between both hands better.

    By the way, I highly recommend Shaun Baxter's Guitar Gym for all things economy picking. I can send you some stuff if you post your email address.

  6. silverwater

    Ah I forgot to mention, learn how to pick from the elbow only...this is just a means to an end to get your arm moving across the guitar fluidly, i usually warm up like that.

  7. david6strings

    one rule i read in a book i agree with is: the pick is maked with the wrist and every string switching from the elbow. so basicly there are 4 movements downstroke (gravity makes it for you) upstroke and to preparation elbow movements up and down. lets say you are in first string and you have to play a note on the third string downstroke, well there are two movements, first elbow to place the hand, the the downstroke. as you see it is difficult and this point of view seems too rigid for some people but i think it is the right way to study. later, when you are playing you don't think and mix the elbow with the wrist, no problem.

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