Alternate Picking/Inside + Outside Picking

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Miscreant, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Miscreant

    Miscreant SS.org Regular

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    Despite playing for 20 years, I'm hampered my the same things that caught me up in my first year: my sense of rhythm is generally weak, and my right (picking) hand is imprecise. I've improved vastly on both counts, but anyone who knows guitar, if they saw me play, would pick both of these out, likely my picking hand in particular.

    So I'm trying to really focus in on it--finally--and I'm wondering what you guys think about virtually exclusive alternate picking. Where things get tough is picking on the inside, especially I find moving from lower strings to higher: Up-Down.

    I alternate pick probably 80% of the time, but I'm trying to up my game to like 95% of the time, as there are some times where I don't like the sound of it, or when I want some more power from a downstroke at the end of a phrase. But what I'm finding is that my playing and rhythm are so much smoother when I'm really consistently alternate picking. When I'm on my game with it, the guitar just really starts to play, and the efficiency is incredible.

    Where things get tricky, of course, is when you're playing odd-numbered patterns, says 3s, 5s or 7s. Because if a phrase is in 3 on three separate strings, this means that each time you repeat it your picking-directions are opposite, and it's quite easy to get caught up. Add moving the pattern itself to different strings, and it's quite challenging.

    What are your guys thoughts on this? Does anyone else try, almost exclusively, to alternate pick when they're playing?
     
  2. Kaff

    Kaff SS.org Regular

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    I know there are super fast players out there who exclusively use only alternate picking. With odd-numbered notes-per-string it gets tricky as you pointed out. The key to overcoming that is a technique called pickslanting where hopping over strings becomes easier. There's a youtube video by Troy Grady explaining this in depth. As for the extra punch you are trying to get at the end of the phrase, it shouldn't matter wether it's an upstroke or a downstroke if you can get your picking consistency down. Especially on electric guitars and hi-gain tones the force of the picking motion doesn't really affect tone (the exception here is when you palm-mute).
    I'm learning economy picking but still interested in that pickslanting technique since it helps when I need to skip strings.
     
  3. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Drop the dollars on Troy Grady's pickslanting primer, it's better than us trying to explain it to you in text form.

    OR just play some sort of 3 note per string pattern across 4 strings 10000 times until you work it out yourself (I'm just putting that in here because someone always says "I just worked it out myself so you must never get lessons or find out about technique any other way").
     
  4. Miscreant

    Miscreant SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, thanks for chiming in. I'm looking at the pick slanting video on youtube right now.

    But I'm pretty decent at 3 notes per string before switching. What's a lot harder is one note per string, in a 3 string pattern, which repeats. Each note involves a string jump, and every fourth note is picked opposite of the first, due to the odd number of notes in the pattern before it repeats.

    Then move that pattern around, and you can quickly have a mess on the fretboard. But whatever--the time has come to bring alternate picking in 99% of the time. Inside picking is just really unnatural at first, not to mention the fact that that higher string on the inside you're down-picking is actually a lot closer than you'd think after you've up-picked the string directly above it, making it quite easy to jump over.
     
  5. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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  6. Miscreant

    Miscreant SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, so I've watched a few of these videos now. Frankly, I think pickslanting might be highly over-talked here. If what it really comes down to is that, if you don't pickslant, you're caught between strings and will almost inevitably cause a mess when hopping strings, this is obvious. Not even knowing I was doing it, when I watched my hand more carefully, I was pickslanting both ways, as otherwise I'd have no way to get out of the 'prison' of the inside of the string.

    Can I do it as cleanly as I'd like? No, especially not when on the inside. But dammit, Troy Grady's videos could be compressed in a fraction of the time. He talks way too much and needs to cut to the chase.

    That being said, he's obviously pretty damn good at guitar. ;)
     
  7. Simic

    Simic SS.org Regular

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    My opinion is that while alternate picking is a good technique to master I feel like some patterns are just made to be played with other techniques and trying to alternate pick them is like running your head through a wall. Also as a guitarist your goal must be to master as many techniques as possible right? I'd suggest starting to practice economy and hybrid picking. Rick Graham has awesome lesson packages on his website, give those a go and you might see that it opens up your playing even more than consistent alternate picking :2c:
     
  8. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Yeah I'm not going to say he doesn't go on a bit.

    It's not pickslanting vs not pickslanting, as you say you can't really get to any level of playing without doing it. It's about knowing what works with what string changes/sequence of notes/whatever. Whether that's instinctive knowledge worked out by doing it or the ability to look at what's going on and work out intellectually what is required before applying it.
     
  9. karjim

    karjim Set the World Afire

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    Each lick requires a pickslant pattern. Trapped between two strings is not such a nightmare. The descending 6 of Paul Gilbert is pretty easy and it s all inside picking if you start with a down stroke on the E string. All alternate picking is not that great in terms of musicality. You destroy some accents on strong notes. Adding pull of and hammers make the alternate parts more noticable. Economy or sweeping everything create some cool cascade licks but make solos less rythmic. The fine art of mixing all together recquiring two way pickslanting, cross picking, sweeping, legato is a life job.
     
  10. bobbyprayogo

    bobbyprayogo SS.org Regular

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    Maybe you can try directional picking, which is a mix of economy pick and alternate picking. The main thing about it is when you change string, the direction of your picking is the same as the string you are playing next. Let's say you play 3 notes on the 4th string, then 4th note is on 3rd string, the 4th note is downstroke, following the change from 4th string to 3rd string.

    It makes it easier to integrate with sweep picking.
     

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