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, when I became more technically aware.
Here’s the principle:
I’ve compiled a set of (more or less typical) alternate picking exercises. Each of them addresses a different aspect or difficulty of that technique. This way you’ll become a more proficient and versatile alternate picker, who isn’t just comfortable with one type of pattern. Also every exercise is easy to learn and repeatable, which makes your practice session more effective.
In addition to that I recommend starting the aforementioned log, where you write down your peak tempos for each exercise as time goes by. Whether you do this on a weekly/monthly/whatever basis is entirely up to you. It is really encouraging to see the bpm count go through the roof! The only condition will be: the playing has to remain clean and controlled at that tempo. My personal log back in the day could have looked something like this:
Exercise #1 12/12/10 – 80bpm
26/12/10 – 83bpm
23/01/11 - 86bpm
Exercise #2 12/12/10 – 110bpm
30/12/10 – 112bpm
29/01/11 – 115bpm
And so on...
Remember to take everything at a speed that is reasonable to you. Cleanliness first!