Economy picking, suggestions, tips?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Cyntex, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. Cyntex

    Cyntex love & peace!

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    Ok, so here's the deal: somewhere along the line I started economy picking unconsciously (maybe because of RSI). As time went by I noticed I would play this way whenever possible. I like this way of picking (mostly because there is less strain on my wrist this way), however I am having some difficulties though.

    For instance I find it a lot harder to keep in time with the beat/metronome as opposed to alternative picking, and also skipping strings is quite the bitch, since instead of picking the outside, I guess I should be picking inside the strings. Another point is pick attack. The less tight I hold the pick, the more fluent it becomes, but to the cost of attack. Now I don't need to be able to play a zillion notes per second, speed is not the issue here. Consistency is. Any tips/critique are welcome.

    Here's a sample of me playing, and you'll hear what I mean.

    pls don't mind the tone, I know, it's awfull :ugh:

    Maybe you guys could recommend me some guitarists/instructional dvds and intermediate songs who are perfect in/for employing this technique. I know Frank Gambale plays this way but which other guitarist and songs should I check out.
     
  2. Uncle Remus

    Uncle Remus SS.org Regular

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    Shaun Baxter did a series of columns for Guitar Technique magazine. In there was a whole article on economy picking. If you can find that article *cough* torrent maybe *cough* you'll never have any questions about economy picking again :)

    EDIT: the series was called Guitar Gym, its quite famous I think
     
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  3. Cyntex

    Cyntex love & peace!

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    Ah, thanks for the fast reply, I'll definately check it out. :)
     
  4. FWB

    FWB SS.org Regular

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    I've seen Mike Stern and Joe Stump economy pick before, but I don't know if they have any instructionals or anything. Frank Gambale probably is your best bet.

    Although I have to say the best way to get clear economy picking is switching to alternate picking instead :yesway:
     
  5. revlover

    revlover SS.org Regular

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    ...I'm in a similar situation. I've recently taken a few lessons and my picking technique was one of the things that we discussed first. My teacher felt that it might be harder for me to get my picking really tight using economy picking but at the time I said I was fine.

    However this got me to dissect my technique further and I found out that when ascending (going from low to high) I was economy picking and when descending I was using alternate picking...:eek:. I also came to the conclusion that when I was trying to increase my speed on longer runs descending felt a lot more stable and percussive than ascending. The exception is when playing a "fast" lick on two strings. In this case economy picking seems to work for me :scratch:.

    So I've been working on my alternate picking for a few weeks. At first the progress was slow but It's better now. If I decide to go back to my old ways at least I have expanded my technique a little bit. Is there a moral to this story? I don't know, I guess some experimentation and awareness is in order to find out which technique suits your biomechanics the best.

    good luck!
     
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  6. ShadyDavey

    ShadyDavey 7ibrarian

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    I probably have that lurking around somewhere - if I can find it I'll PM you a link.

    As far as Economy picking is concerned I'll have to paraphrase Mr Govan on that as he had a few words of wisdom to share. In essence he said that economy picking is extremely useful to develop but not at the expense of alternate picking - the main advantage of alternate picking being that it is easier to accent and maintain rhythms compared to economy picking but that for some lines you can play them a lot faster with economy.

    So....if you can, develop both. If your wrist is an issue than fear not, you can still accent with economy picking but a lot of the styles of rhythm playing are going to be harder to achieve.

    Having met Frank once, and had lessons with Shaun I have to say that the lack of such a noticeable pick attack is something that they both share, and neither felt it was much of a concern but their styles are much more suitable to that extreme legato playing. Shaun can't alternate pick particularly brilliantly so sweep picking allows him to play picked lines at the cost of being locked into certain patterns. Frank Gambale can alternate pick very well (or could at least) but he doesn't like the typical scalar sound of alternate picking so he doesn't care - sweep picking serves his purposes.

    That's a lot of rambling which doesn't say much...hrrrm....

    I can give you quite a few examples of Frank's lines to experiment with, I don't have a great many of Shaun's "Creative Guitar" columns to share but perhaps you would like to check out Marshall Harrison as well? He does a lot of economy/hybrid blending but does enough economy picked lines to be of interest.
     
  7. Cyntex

    Cyntex love & peace!

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    About that descending, ascending thing, I too think it's best if you stick to either alt. OR eco. picking in a single pattern, because it might get confusing somewhere in the middle of the riff or pattern when you have to think about your next move (downwards or upwards?) where as opposed to strictly alt. or eco. picking it should come naturally (with some exceptions).

    Thanks for the in-dept info, really helpfull. Just to make it clear I do use and practice alternate picking, but the main problem is indeed my wrist, which is F-ed up (tennis elbow according to the Doc :scratch:) and gets sore fast when I pick this way for extended runs. Your post definately made me think about employing legato, instead of picking almost every note. That wou kill two birds with one stone: less stress on my arm and the pick attack. Kinda silly I didn;t thought of that.

    I will surely check out the guitarists you guys mentioned and experiment some more.

    Much aprreciated guys :yesway:
     
  8. Cancer

    Cancer Cancer:The Crucifuct

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  9. ShadyDavey

    ShadyDavey 7ibrarian

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    :agreed: I've never spotted that either.

    FWIW I think he assumes that people are very familiar with economy picking already - he has done as far back as I can recall. He definitely has a very distinct style from Frank but it's nice to see that although "technically" it forces you to adopt that odd/even principle there are plenty of ways of ignoring or working around that limitation to get some very cool licks.
     
  10. Cyntex

    Cyntex love & peace!

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    Yeah, I just watched a video of him playing, the only thing I learned from it that is that he is good at it :p. Guess I should check out more Gambale's videos, the thing about him I dont like is that he bases almost all of his stuff on this technique, which seems limiting to me.
     
  11. ALLEGAEON

    ALLEGAEON SS.org Regular

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    Here is my opinion on this matter as i get asked alot on if i use economy picking or alternate. Even when using economy picking, a good portion of those notes require an amount of alternate picking anyways, so IMO its advantageous to get as good at alternate picking as possible since you have to use it in economy picking anyways.

    In the end, its probably just going to be a matter of just spending the time with the metronome, there are little tricks to help accelerate the process but in the end it still just comes down to putting in the good quality time.
     
  12. darbdavys

    darbdavys SS.org Regular

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    oh my god, what's up with the tone :/
     
  13. Cyntex

    Cyntex love & peace!

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    Have you never heard Zero Order Phase? :fawk:

    Nah just kidding, the sound is so terrible because I ran the Schecter straight into my laptop with only a distortion pedal in between.
     
  14. darbdavys

    darbdavys SS.org Regular

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    now that's pretty extreme :lol:
     
  15. ThorSilhouette

    ThorSilhouette SS.org Regular

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    I also started econopicking unconciously. My usage of the technique actually became useful when i integrated it into licks that i would have played a year ago with straight alt picking. The more seamless the transition between techniques, the smoother the overall licks will sound. I think its all about using both to your advantage and not being afraid to mix it up--rather than going into "econo mode" or "alternate mode." that said, working on licks one way and then the other helped me with that integration.
     
  16. BlackMetalVenom

    BlackMetalVenom Vallz und Veinaz

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    Hrm, I used to not be able to utilize economy picking, but it's a subconscious thing now.
    Utilize the same motion you do with your arm, wrist, pick-grip, etc. basically maintaining the same way you use your muscles. Just apply it to economic picking directions/runs.
    There's two different sounds you can get from this actually, depending on the way you pick....

    The first is the alternate picking sound: this uses your larger muscles to do most of the work and keep your wrist and pick-gripping fingers fairly relaxed.
    You get a alternate picking sound, but are actually economy picking.

    The second is a much more fluid sound: this REALLY works out your fretting fingers. :agreed:
    This time relax the larger muscles in your arm and concentrate on your picking hand, wrist, and pick-gripping tensions.
    This is a sweeping motion, but with 3,5,7, etc. notes per string.
    Try it with simple 3 note per string ascending patterns (since this is usually more difficult when you are starting out with this technique.)
    To get the more fluid sound you have to really concentrate and pay attention to your fretting fingers as well.

    It might sound as if you're playing slower than normal if you're doing it right, but that's just the difference in the AK-47 attack of alternate picking motions and the fluid, running motions of your fingers and lighter pick attack from the second method.

    Jeez man, I honestly hope this doesn't confuse you and are able to get something from this long post. :wallbash:
    Hope it helps, take care and take it easy. :wavey:
     
  17. Cyntex

    Cyntex love & peace!

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    It's been a while, but I've worked on some of my alternative picking and sweeping. Normally I don't really like playing to my metronome, but it has helped a lot. Also I practiced some very simple 4 string arpeggio's on the high strings that improved my playing. Here's the tab:
    [​IMG]
    Here;s the tab for the lick that I posted in the beginning.
    [​IMG]
    And the tab to the lead part for the underlying video, which I posted in the youtube section earlier.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Dirtdog

    Dirtdog "Wicked Sensation"

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    The basic idea of economy picking is that when you switch strings that the next string is plucked or swept with the same movement as the last note on the previous string. In three notes per string scales its easy to line up the mini sweeps to the next string. If you play starting with a downstroke than the last note of the group on that string is played with a down stroke than you follow through that downstroke to play the next adjacent string first note in the group. It is the exact reverse when coming down the scale you start with an upstroke and then the 3rd note upstroke will be carried thru to the adjacent string. However with string skipping you lose all benefits of economy picking. When it comes to arpegios that first note in the arp group is played with a downstroke which follows through to the highest note than you turn around and use an upstroke to follow trhu to the low note. When playin arps its usually best to hammer on any aditional notes on the same string and then the next string will have one note and the last string on the downstroke sequence will have 2 notes the first you downstroke than the highest note you pick with an upstroke and pull off the other noter than proceed to go back down with upstrokes than on the last low string of the arp with 2 notes the firsrt is upstroked than pick the lowest note on that string with a downstroke to lead you back into going back u or strating a new line. Hope this makes sense.
     
  19. ShadyDavey

    ShadyDavey 7ibrarian

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    There's an article on economy picking as applied to scales in the April Guitar Techniques magazine and I found that "Guitar Gym" series of articles - link:

    4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download Guitar Gym.rar

    I did also check out a couple of Marshall Harrison transcriptions and in terms of methodology there's nothing new going on with his "straight" economy picking but the economy/hybrid ideas are pretty insane.

    The Frank Gambale "Improvisation made Easy" book has loads of licks in and that's the only other instructional product I've got with a significant amount.

    The two keys with economy picking are (I think) knowing where you're going and knowing how to get there - that probably sounds a little bit obvious so very quickly:

    Know your 3 nps scales (including pentatonics) so that when you want to employ economy it's only a case of switching from Slurring/Alternate picking rather than having to switch from box positions and back. With arpeggios you do need to learn the inversions on each set of strings and then decide if you want to be strict economy (Gambale) which means re-organising the shapes for the odd/even formula or if you wish to go with hammers/pulls to facilitate turning around.....or perhaps even pick and choose according to whimsy :)

    As far as string skipping - it depends entirely on the organisation of the notes as to the viability for economy picking. It's easy to make very long lines of notes with a minimum of effort and even mix in alternate picking but the catch is that if you move to an adjacent higher string with a downstroke, or descend with an upstroke you need to ensure you're missing the unplayed strings as that "follow-through" or "rest-stroke" can lead to some unwanted noise.
     
  20. SnowfaLL

    SnowfaLL SS.org Regular

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    Im a 99.9% Economy picker, just started that way and even thru my early Paul Gilbert/Yngwie phase, I always chose to stick with Economy picking.

    To put it in short version; To get economy picking at a level where you are playing the super shred alt. picking stuff like Gilbert and Petrucci, it takes a LOT of work. Timing is an issue, but its not impossible, just takes lots of practice. Case and point; Tony MacAlpine is an economy picker and hes faster than almost anyone.

    The advantages of Economy picking (and why I stuck with it) is that it gives a MUCH more "expressive" feel to your picking, your strokes dont always sound the same and so robotic like most alternate pickers do, but it takes a lot more work to get that kind of speed with economy picking so its a trade off.

    I never really liked the soloing from Petrucci, Gilbert, Yngwie, so maybe I am a select case. I much prefer Gambale, Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine, even when they do fast runs they just have something extra to it that the "shred" guys dont, IMO.

    So basically, if all you want to play is like Paul Gilbert, Petrucci, Yngwie, that kinda stuff.. maybe it is best to learn Alternate picking. I believe economy picking is the way to go though, it gets you out of that "wank shred" tone that alt picking gives off, at the expense of having to focus hard on your timing to make sure you stay in line.
     

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