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Alternate Picking Basics - Explanation

Al Joseph 245 lessons

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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) doesn't matter. Today is about focusing on synchronizing these hands together to create an even and smooth sound even at huge speeds!

Let's analyze!

Exibit A: Tends to pay attention more to his right hand (because after all, this is a picking technique right?)
Result: unclear notes, missing the string (hate that), right hand tensing up, left hand feeling cramped...

If you are frustrated with your picking technique then you've probably experienced some of these symptoms. I, for one, definitely was experiencing them for a long time.

Here's what I discovered: Turns out my left hand (I'm left handed FYI) was actually slower than my right hand. Hilarious and ironic! So when I pick, my right hand is actually leaving my left hand in the dust. You can only imagine what the outcome was after this.

The point is, I needed to go back and practice using my left hand to somehow summon my right hand or tell "it" when to attack. This worked out GREAT because as long as my left hand can reach the notes "in time", I had no problems because my right hand is faster and can definitely keep up. I had serious timing issues at higher speeds. So it also turns out that I had to learn how to use my ear more at higher speeds as well. All this together brought both hands in sync. Wicked!!!! 

So what's the moral of this story????

Analyze. Don't just take my word for it. It might be the exact opposite for you. You never know. So pay close attention. Take the time needed to correct your mistakes. Work on your timing. I always tell my students to sing their lines as this will help you realize the rhythmic and melodic aspects of the lick. Pretty sick right? Give it a serious try! :)

Hope this helps. Now, let's move on to the first exercise!

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