Alternate picking question

What's Hot
Hello!

I've started paying attention to my picking technique and I've noticed that when I am alternate picking I am not taking into account the rhythm groupings, note lengths or rests in songs I play.

I have added down and upstrokes to an example of a Rock School Grade 5 piece to show how I alternate pick.



Am I correct in thinking that I'm actually doing it wrong and it should actually be played as I've drawn below?



Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Comments

  • paul_c2paul_c2 Frets: 388
    Firstly, I am by no means an expert! So what I say is simply my own interpretation of things:

    There is no strict "right" or "wrong" as long as the music comes out at the end. Bear this in mind. Having said that, obviously you can generate technical exercises to emphasise a particular technique, and if you did it differently than planned then the objective of the exercise is not met - even if the music comes out properly at the end....

    I'd have said there's 2 ways of playing "alternate picking", one where its strictly alternate, and one where the downbeats are down and the upbeats are up. For the second way, your picking would want to be (in the piece example):

    down down down down up down down up down down down up down

    (apoligies if it looks messy - I should really rewrite the music and put the marks in)

    Another way to explain it would be to imagine the piece is counted (rhythm) as

    1 e & a  2 e & a  3 e & a  4 e & a  |  1 e & a  2 e & a  3 e & a  4 e & a

    The 'e' and 'a' are the offbeat 1/16th notes - these would always be played "up". And the rest, the on beat 1/16 notes (ie all/any 1/8 notes) would be played down. Your hand would be regularly going up and down in a consistent way, but you'd only play when the notes occur, other times you'd lift your hand slightly to "fly over" the strings.

    Having said that, while in theory it could give a more even rhythm, in practice lifting clear of the strings (and the timing of doing so) is in itself a difficult challenge. I'll see if I can find an example on a video, David Byrne used to do it a lot when he played rhythm guitar.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • paul_c2paul_c2 Frets: 388
    I found 2 examples, they're not brilliant ones though:



    at 14:30 or so. Its not quite right, since (I think) he is playing deadened notes if not a sounded note.



    Its so damn fast its hard to be sure!!! But I think at the end of each bar, he plays an upstroke too (in the verse, something else occurs in the chorus).


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Thank you for the response!

    I'm a huge Placebo fan so the example video was very easy to understand!

    So am I right in assuming that if a piece has a few semi-quavers thrown in I'll be playing a lot of downstrokes (or upstrokes if its syncopated) but if there are are NO semi-quavers then the quavers will become the alternated notes?

    Is there a name for the weird alternate picking style I've been currently doing or does it just come under 'bad technique'?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • paul_c2paul_c2 Frets: 388
    Its a bit more subtle than that - there is a slight difference in tone (ok not really tone....) between a down stroke and up stroke (when playing chords). So using all downstrokes can give a different effect to down & up. So its worthwhile being able to do both (even though all downstrokes is physically challenging at the speed Brian does it!)
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 292
    I'd play it as shown below

    http://i.imgur.com/s4I1QUl.png

    It's not a competition
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 8321
    I've not really looked at the example, but as a general rule...for anything that I can't play with the "correct" emphasis (ie the way I want it to sound) by just going at it and letting my hands fall naturally, I tend to stop what I'm doing and work out which notes need the emphasis; that's not always the ones on the beat, but that's another story.

    Once I've worked out which notes are the "big" ones, I just work out a picking pattern that gives me a) the right emphasis, and b) the least number of times I skip over a string with the pick (which is wasted effort). This usually results in a hybrid of alternate and economy picking.

    Then I practice it until I can't get it wrong.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • professorbenprofessorben Frets: 2086
    Save yourself a lot of wasted thinking time, go to YouTube, watch Cracking the Code by Troy Grady, he's spent 20 years figuring all this out and has recorded the picking hands of some monster players.
    yes it's all based around super shreddy guitar soloing, but those principles can be moved to pretty much any style using a flat pick.

    just don't watch too much, or you will forever get lost in exercises and never play actual music again!!!
    Remain
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.