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Intro to Alternate Picking - Explanation

Travis Montgomery 32 lessons

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 Richardson, Michael Angelo Batio, Jeff Loomis, and Rusty Cooley.

Alternate picking is a technique that employs strictly continuous alternating up and down picking strokes. 

With this technique you need to focus on making sure your right and left hands are perfectly in sync with each other. If they aren’t in sync then you won’t sound accurate.


Muting for this technique involves both your left and right hand. Your left hand has the job of muting the top three strings on your guitar, and your right hand should be lightly muting the lower three strings on your guitar (palm muting). Really focus on keeping every note clear and avoiding excess string noise.


Along with having to focus on the technique and physical side of alternate picking, I also look at it in a mental way as well. I always play a lick very slowly at first and focus on if I’m doing an upstroke or downstroke at key parts of it. This helps me make sure that the lick is being played correctly, and my left and right hand are in sync. 

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