Study

The "Ups" and "Downs" of Alternate Picking

Instructors: Al Joseph, Chris Feener, Martin Miller, Travis Montgomery Total lessons in study:
Most guitarists use alternate picking, but it's important to make sure we have a proper foundation of the technique. Dive into this study to become an alternate picking master!

1. Alternate Picking and its Applications

1. Alternate Picking Basics - Explanation
Technique
Rock
Beginner
Welcome! Today is about tackling alternate picking in an analytical way. Whether you're one of the following... Alternate Picking - (-down-up-down-up-etc.)Economy Picking - (down-up-down-down-up-down-down) ...it doesn't matter. Today is about focusing on synchronizing these hands together to create an even and smooth so...Read More
2. Alternate Picking Basics - Ex. 1: Arpeggiated
Technique
Rock
Beginner
Here we have Example 1 in an arpeggiated context. Be sure to practice the example using various rhythmic subdivisions (quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, sixteenth notes) 1. Use both hands to play the lick2. Relax3. Take your time (if the tempo is too high, start lower)4. Try singing the lick (realize it)Read More
3. Alternate Picking Basics - Ex. 2: Scallic
Technique
Rock
Beginner
Here we have Example 2 in a scallic context. Be sure to practice the example using various rhythmic subdivisions (quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, sixteenth notes) 1. Use both hands to play the lick2. Relax3. Take your time (if the tempo is too high, start lower)4. Try singing the lick (realize it)Read More
4. Alternate Picking Basics - Ex. 3: Intervallic
Technique
Rock
Beginner
Here we have Example 3 in an intervallic context. Be sure to practice the example using various rhythmic subdivisions (quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, sixteenth notes) 1. Use both hands to play the lick2. Relax3. Take your time (if the tempo is too high, start lower)4. Try singing the lick (realize it)Read More
5. Alternate Picking Basics - Ex. 4: Pentatonic & Wrap-up
Technique
Rock
Beginner
Here we have Example 4 in a pentatonic context. Be sure to practice the example using various rhythmic subdivisions (quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, sixteenth notes) 1. Use both hands to play the lick2. Relax3. Take your time (if the tempo is too high, start lower)4. Try singing the lick (realize it) Thanks for vis...Read More
Audio Guitar Lesson
6. Alternate Picking Basics - Backing Track
Technique
Rock
Beginner
Have fun with the backing track folks! All four examples are listed below.Read More

2. Further Alternate Picking Analysis

7. Alternate Picking 101 - Technique Breakdown
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
Hey guys! In this lesson I really wanted to focus on the mechanics of alternate picking; how I've personally come to develop my own technique, and what you guys can do to further yours.To start; right hand technique. I see so many players out there playing with slight imperfections that often inhibit their over-all techniqu...Read More
8. Alternate Picking 101 - Exercise 1 - Chromatic Scale
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
Here is a chromatic exercise. Chromatic scales in this context, are basically nonsense-scales that are to be used for practice and warm-up purposes. This exercise is one of the most commonly used by many guitarists in the 'shred-world'. Not only does it tie together most (if not all) of the techniques discussed in the intr...Read More
9. Alternate Picking 101 - Exercise 2 - Triplet Feel
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
Here we have a triplet exercise. Don't get your knickers in a knot, we'll be playing in groups of six. Six is an even number, so we'll avoid making awkward string transitions and keep it nice and basic! This lick contains six descending six-note groupings from the high E string to the low E string. A few things to note: 1...Read More
10. Alternate Picking 101 - Exercise 3 - Scalar Straight 16ths
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
We're heading back over to the straight 16th feel with this one, except this time, we'll be playing something a little more interesting! The patterns are simply groups of 6 notes, played ascending from the lowest note to highest note, then descending from highest to lowest, and then finishing by ascending back through to t...Read More

3. Alternate Picking Workouts

11. Alternate Picking Workout - Introduction
Exercises
Any Style
Intermediate
Hey friends, Holidays are drawing nearer and it’s time to get our alternate picking chops in shape! My goal with this tutorial is to show you a systematic way of approaching this technique in combination with creating sort of a “tempo log”. This is the exact way I used to work on chops in my late teens, w...Read More
12. Alternate Picking Workout - Exercises 1 & 2
Exercises
Any Style
Intermediate
Alright, in the tab below you have our first set of exercises. Let’s break them down individually. Exercise #1: I’m sure you recognize this as the classic Paul Gilbert-pattern. Truth is that it’s one of THE most effective exercises to improve your string crossing. It’s because the amount of notes is...Read More
13. Alternate Picking Workout - Exercises 3 & 4
Exercises
Any Style
Intermediate
Exercise #3: Here’s a two-note-per-string pattern, very helpful for playing pentatonic lines.  Exercise #4: Another pattern you’ve heard a thousand times, I’m sure. This one tackles licks on one string. The challenge is to perfectly sync up your left and right hands.Read More
14. Alternate Picking Workout - Exercises 5 & 6
Exercises
Any Style
Intermediate
Exercise #5: Each note is picked twice here.  Exercise #6: Here’s a common scale sequence that mixes up the amount of notes per string.Read More
15. Alternate Picking Workout - Exercises 7 & 8
Exercises
Any Style
Advanced
Exercise #7: It’s getting tougher. Here’s a minor arpeggio sequence utilizing a 1-note-per-string pattern, which is a huge challenge to play even at slow to mid-paced tempos. Exercise #8: Now we’re talking. This Steve Morse inspired exercise combines a 1-note-per-string-pattern with string skipping. Rega...Read More

4. More Alternate Picking Workouts

16. Intro to Alternate Picking - Explanation
Technique
Any Style
Beginner
For this tutorial, I will be going over the basics of alternate picking. I’ll be discussing my view on the technique, and how I going about doing it physically and thinking about it mentally. Artists that I would recommend checking out for good examples of alternate picking are Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Jason Rich...Read More
17. Intro to Alternate Picking - Exercise 1
Technique
Any Style
Beginner
Lick 1 is a single string lick that can be used for a neo-classical type sound (see Lick 5). Along with making sure that you’re playing this accurately, focus on keeping the lower five strings muted so there is no excess string noise.Read More
18. Intro to Alternate Picking - Exercise 2
Technique
Any Style
Beginner
Lick 2 is just a little scale fragment. Focus on hitting the downstroke on the beginning of the lick every time it repeats.Read More
19. Intro to Alternate Picking - Exercise 3
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
Lick 3 is another classical sounding one. This is a lick that is used frequently among metal/shred guitar players. When played fast and cleanly it can sound really cool, and can be used to build tension at points in a solo.    There is a bit of inside picking in this lick when changing between strings. This ...Read More
20. Intro to Alternate Picking - Exercise 4
Technique
Any Style
Advanced
Lick 4 is a scale run up the neck. Scales are great for practicing alternate picking. They get you used to changing strings, and the licks can easily be reversed so you can practice descending as well. In my opinion, doing ascending alternate picking licks and descending ones actually feel a lot different. You’ll h...Read More
21. Intro to Alternate Picking - Exercise 5 (Etude)
Technique
Any Style
Advanced
Lick 5 is an expanded version of Lick 1. In this one you’ll be staying on one string, but changing positions of a scale. The end result is a cool neo-classical sounding lick. Focus on hitting that downstroke at the beginning of the pattern every time it repeats, and making sure there is no excess string noise.Read More

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