Alternate picking across strings

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Ianelrick

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Joined: 09/18/21

Posts: 2

Hi,

Currently working on an alternate picking exercise from Total Guitar Magazine. Involves 3rd and 4th string.

Thing is it adopts a strict -up down approach for picking hand which is fine until I go from D-G string . The last pick on the D is down and then wants an up pick on G . At speed I find it counter intuitive as I need to climb "over" the G string to pick it. Ie the outside pick

The riff just seems to flow fine when i just use the intuitive down pick from D to G. Ie inside

Alt picking on the same string is fine. Just wondering how important that I follow the strict up-down , up down do you think?

#1

Hi,

Currently working on an alternate picking exercise from Total Guitar Magazine. Involves 3rd and 4th string.

Thing is it adopts a strict -up down approach for picking hand which is fine until I go from D-G string . The last pick on the D is down and then wants an up pick on G . At speed I find it counter intuitive as I need to climb "over" the G string to pick it. Ie the outside pick

The riff just seems to flow fine when i just use the intuitive down pick from D to G. Ie inside

Alt picking on the same string is fine. Just wondering how important that I follow the strict up-down , up down do you think?

DraconusJLM

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Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 200

If this is an exercise for the development of alternate picking, then sticking to it is imperative. Learning to jump over strings when picking is a necessary skill for playing.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#2

If this is an exercise for the development of alternate picking, then sticking to it is imperative. Learning to jump over strings when picking is a necessary skill for playing.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7386

Originally Posted by: Ianelrick

Thing is it adopts a strict -up down approach for picking hand which is fine until I go from D-G string . The last pick on the D is down and then wants an up pick on G . At speed I find it counter intuitive as I need to climb "over" the G string to pick it. Ie the outside pick

The riff just seems to flow fine when i just use the intuitive down pick from D to G. Ie inside

Alt picking on the same string is fine. Just wondering how important that I follow the strict up-down , up down do you think?

Short answer: do it however it works for you.

Long answer! I'd have to see the lick in question to know the complete context. But the general principle to apply is to play any series of notes in the smoothest, most natural & efficient manner possible. That's going to vary by person & musical passage.

It could involve strict alternate picking. But that could start on an upstroke or downstroke, involve inside or outside picking. It could involve some economy picking instead, at some point breaking the strict alternate picking.

It's a good idea to try different approaches & see what works best for you. It's also important to remember to avoid painting yourself in a corner by doing something that seems easy at first, but when you get up to speed, or try it on a different musical passage you find it actually makes it harder to play!

In general it's more important to play with relaxed & minimal motion. Aim for those 2 goals first, then start to try different picking patterns to see what works best for you in this situation. Hopefully it will be applicable to other musical passages as well!

I have a series of tutorials on building speed that you might find helpful.

This first one only covers one string, but focuses on developing relaxed & minimal motion technique.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=287

These next ones start to incorporate 2 strings so focus on crossing strings. Unfortunately they are old videos. I just finished reshooting both of these! But they won't be published probably until next month!

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=928

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=929

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#3

Originally Posted by: Ianelrick

Thing is it adopts a strict -up down approach for picking hand which is fine until I go from D-G string . The last pick on the D is down and then wants an up pick on G . At speed I find it counter intuitive as I need to climb "over" the G string to pick it. Ie the outside pick

The riff just seems to flow fine when i just use the intuitive down pick from D to G. Ie inside

Alt picking on the same string is fine. Just wondering how important that I follow the strict up-down , up down do you think?

Short answer: do it however it works for you.

Long answer! I'd have to see the lick in question to know the complete context. But the general principle to apply is to play any series of notes in the smoothest, most natural & efficient manner possible. That's going to vary by person & musical passage.

It could involve strict alternate picking. But that could start on an upstroke or downstroke, involve inside or outside picking. It could involve some economy picking instead, at some point breaking the strict alternate picking.

It's a good idea to try different approaches & see what works best for you. It's also important to remember to avoid painting yourself in a corner by doing something that seems easy at first, but when you get up to speed, or try it on a different musical passage you find it actually makes it harder to play!

In general it's more important to play with relaxed & minimal motion. Aim for those 2 goals first, then start to try different picking patterns to see what works best for you in this situation. Hopefully it will be applicable to other musical passages as well!

I have a series of tutorials on building speed that you might find helpful.

This first one only covers one string, but focuses on developing relaxed & minimal motion technique.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=287

These next ones start to incorporate 2 strings so focus on crossing strings. Unfortunately they are old videos. I just finished reshooting both of these! But they won't be published probably until next month!

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=928

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=929

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

DraconusJLM

Full Access

Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 200

Chris, it's not a riff. It's an exercise designed to develop alternate picking abilities.

Exercises often do not give an option to play using an easier method.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#4

Chris, it's not a riff. It's an exercise designed to develop alternate picking abilities.

Exercises often do not give an option to play using an easier method.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7386

Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM

It's an exercise designed to develop alternate picking abilities.

Got it. And part of that is working on the different approaches of inside versus outside picking. I encourage students to work on both so they have options depending on how any given musical phrase works.

And either way you still have to work on getting your pick over the plane of the strings to the next note on another string.

Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM
Exercises often do not give an option to play using an easier method.[/p]

That is often true. But in the case of developing alternate picking it is very useful to try starting with an upstroke instead of a down. It can also be beneficial to try to play the same notes on different strings to essentially reorganize the phrase. Both of those are sometimes the difference between making a phrase incredibly awkward & difficult to play into something that is much easier because it's more efficient & requires less motion.

More efficient does not always equal easier right away. But it usually does in the long run!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#5

Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM

It's an exercise designed to develop alternate picking abilities.

Got it. And part of that is working on the different approaches of inside versus outside picking. I encourage students to work on both so they have options depending on how any given musical phrase works.

And either way you still have to work on getting your pick over the plane of the strings to the next note on another string.

Originally Posted by: DraconusJLM
Exercises often do not give an option to play using an easier method.[/p]

That is often true. But in the case of developing alternate picking it is very useful to try starting with an upstroke instead of a down. It can also be beneficial to try to play the same notes on different strings to essentially reorganize the phrase. Both of those are sometimes the difference between making a phrase incredibly awkward & difficult to play into something that is much easier because it's more efficient & requires less motion.

More efficient does not always equal easier right away. But it usually does in the long run!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

DraconusJLM

Full Access

Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 200

I love working out the most efficient way to play something, but as you say, something that seems more difficult at first often turns out to be the best method.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

#6

I love working out the most efficient way to play something, but as you say, something that seems more difficult at first often turns out to be the best method.

Six strings, but only four fingers. Twelve simi-tones, but only eight notes to an octive. Part of me thinks mathematicians should steer well clear of guitars.....

Ianelrick

Full Access

Joined: 09/18/21

Posts: 2

A big thanks for this. I have added the tab to give an idea of what it is for.

Will use the videos tho and persist with the exercise.

alternate picking exercise

#7

A big thanks for this. I have added the tab to give an idea of what it is for.

Will use the videos tho and persist with the exercise.

alternate picking exercise

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7386

You're welcome for the replies.

Originally Posted by: Ianelrick

A big thanks for this. I have added the tab to give an idea of what it is for.

Will use the videos tho and persist with the exercise.

alternate picking exercise

That's interesting pattern that you do several ways.

I encourage you to try it with both outside picking (starting with a downstroke) and inside picking (starting with an upstroke). Just trying both will give you an idea of which one works better for you. And continuing to work on both will improve your playing skills in the long run.

I can see how inside picking might work better for this particular phrase once you get comfortable with starting on an upstroke. You can also break that phrase up into 6 note groupings that neatly cycle over & again.

Have fun with it!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#8

You're welcome for the replies.

Originally Posted by: Ianelrick

A big thanks for this. I have added the tab to give an idea of what it is for.

Will use the videos tho and persist with the exercise.

alternate picking exercise

That's interesting pattern that you do several ways.

I encourage you to try it with both outside picking (starting with a downstroke) and inside picking (starting with an upstroke). Just trying both will give you an idea of which one works better for you. And continuing to work on both will improve your playing skills in the long run.

I can see how inside picking might work better for this particular phrase once you get comfortable with starting on an upstroke. You can also break that phrase up into 6 note groupings that neatly cycle over & again.

Have fun with it!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory