Picking question

Hi All,

Firstly I regard myself as an advanced beginner. I am not a shredder and am much more interested in slow tasteful phrasing and nice rhythms. I like theory and analysis. I can down pick, up pick, alternate pick and string skip pretty well. I can basically pick any string either up or down at will, not particularly fast but not bad. That’s my level. 

I want to play with rhythm and groove, to be moved to tap my foot and bob my head. With that in mind I am wanting to know whether the following is right, wrong, too rigid, too complicated or something else :o)

I am focusing my practice on always downpicking both the beats and the off beats ( the “ones” and the “ands”) in a measure (not all of them, just those required for the rhythm so some notes will be quarter notes, half notes etc) and reserving any up-picking for sixteenth notes (the “e’s” and the “a’s“) as embellishments (similar to hammers and pulls) as required. This way I can regard picking as similar to strumming so that I always know where I am in a barre and can think of strumming and picking in the same framework. 

Does this all all sound like a good way to proceed or totally unnecessary ? Should I try to be more relaxed in my approach (a bit like economy picking veering away from strict alternate picking) or will my efforts to stick to a rigid foundation be rewarded in due course ?

I have no particular admiration for those shredders who can play 16th notes at a million miles an hour but without any apparent rhythm or groove.

A very poor man’s version of Clapton or Gilmour would be more than good enough for me. I can’t tell whether those guys pick whatever they want at will in either direction at any point in the barre and get their groove purely through feel or whether they get their groove by sticking to something like I have described above. 

Any thoughts gratefully received.


ps Can anyone recommend a teacher in the Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley area ?
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2538
    Des. My first thought is that there’s no “right” formula. What you’ve explained will work, but it’s not the only answer. Down and upstrokes depend on where you want the emphasis, and that is going to vary by song. Sometimes it will change between different parts of the song.  You’re right in looking for a teacher. This is the type of thing which a teacher can help you with. Someone who can watch you play, and then provide constructive feedback. 
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