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Thread: Which picking technique to use (Rhythm playing)

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    Which picking technique to use (Rhythm playing)

    Hello, I'm kind of puzzled when it comes to selecting the right picking technique when it comes to rhythm guitar, e.g. arpeggiating chords. Sometimes guitar magazines recommend that you pluck strings in relation to where the next string is. By this I mean If you go from the 6th to 5th string, for example, you should down pick, as the note is higher up. So in a sequence of '6th string, 4th string, 1st string, 2nd string, 1st string, 5th string, 6th string', the picking pattern would be 'down, down, up, down, up, up'. However, I've also seen musical examples notated with alternate picking, so I don't understand when each picking technique should be used and why. Thanks for your time...

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    Welcome to the forum..."alternate" picking and "economy" picking each have their place (and certainly their vocal proponents) - ultimately I don't think there's a "right" answer, I think some time dedicated to consciously practicing each approach will help you decide what works best for you in a given situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walternewton View Post
    Welcome to the forum..."alternate" picking and "economy" picking each have their place (and certainly their vocal proponents) - ultimately I don't think there's a "right" answer, I think some time dedicated to consciously practicing each approach will help you decide what works best for you in a given situation.
    Nice and simple, excellent! Thanks for the welcome...

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    Alternate picking. If you down pick you have to come up with the plectrum to start another down pick. Why not get a sound on the way up?

    How to strum and how to pick and then when and how to arpeggiate the chord? Drove me crazy when I first started out. My instructor started me on all down strums and when I had that down he then ask me to master alternate picking.

    We never got into a complicated - do this if - you have to bring the plectrum back up to sound another note, why not sound a note when you bring the plectrum up?

    As to using arpeggio notes - playing every note of the chord one note at a time - try this with ballads and slow pieces. You'll get a feel for it. Yep, there is that ole feel word again.

    Have fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    Alternate picking. If you down pick you have to come up with the plectrum to start another down pick. Why not get a sound on the way up?

    How to strum and how to pick and then when and how to arpeggiate the chord? Drove me crazy when I first started out. My instructor started me on all down strums and when I had that down he then ask me to master alternate picking.

    We never got into a complicated - do this if - you have to bring the plectrum back up to sound another note, why not sound a note when you bring the plectrum up?

    As to using arpeggio notes - playing every note of the chord one note at a time - try this with ballads and slow pieces. You'll get a feel for it. Yep, there is that ole feel word again.

    Have fun.
    Ok, thanks. So which technique do you think should be mastered first (after all down strums)? Alternate picking because the idea is simpler, or economy picking because it requires less movement? The reason I'm asking is because I'm about to teach guitar soon, and I want to clear a few things up first. (I'm more of a lead player, but I CAN play rhythm easily enough so don't worry, lol).

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    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simonon View Post
    Ok, thanks. So which technique do you think should be mastered first (after all down strums)? Alternate picking because the idea is simpler, or economy picking because it requires less movement? The reason I'm asking is because I'm about to teach guitar soon, and I want to clear a few things up first. (I'm more of a lead player, but I CAN play rhythm easily enough so don't worry, lol).
    I think it all boils down to treble clef (melody) or bass clef (rhythm & harmony). Treble clef for single note scale work for the tune aka you lead solo. Alternate picking here, I never have had economy picking explained to me to where I know the difference in it and alternate. So IMO for a beginner alternate picking for scale work. Gotta do your scales. I'm a box guy and would have them using the box and the Major scale and the Major Pentatonic pattern first then bring in the natural minor with it's pentatonic. Throw in the blues scale pattern for fun.

    I do not see a need for 5 patterns up the neck, however. Couple 2 or 3 is plenty. If you take them into modes teach the parallel method, i,e, The major scale pattern R-2-3-4-5-6-7 is home base for the major modes and the natural minor scale R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 is home base for the minor modes - want Phrygian change the 2 to a b2. Want Lydian change the 4 to a #4. And please explain modal vamps and the droning effect to them.

    Now for the bass clef stuff. I started out on rhythm guitar and now also play 4 string bass. After I got into bass I realized all that strumming I was doing on rhythm guitar was based upon what the bass clef notes were telling me. But of course with fake chord and or lead sheet there is no bass clef. So start them on fake chord and when you get into chord progression theory bring in the bass clef. Somewhere add that following the chords with the chord's pentatonic makes a first attempt at their lead solo.
    • Fake chord sheet music using
    • All down strums. Then....
    • Boom, strum, boom strum. Boom being the lowest note of the chord.
    • Alternate boom. Alternate the boom between the 6th and 5th string.
    • One up down strum.

    Those four strum patterns should be enough to get them started.

    Of course IMO.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-23-2012 at 01:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    I think it all boils down to treble clef (melody) or bass clef (rhythm & harmony). Treble clef for single note scale work for the tune aka you lead solo. Alternate picking here, I never have had economy picking explained to me to where I know the difference in it and alternate. So IMO for a beginner alternate picking for scale work. Gotta do your scales. I'm a box guy and would have them using the box and the Major scale and the Major Pentatonic pattern first then bring in the natural minor with it's pentatonic. Throw in the blues scale pattern for fun.

    I do not see a need for 5 patterns up the neck, however. Couple 2 or 3 is plenty. If you take them into modes teach the parallel method, i,e, The major scale pattern R-2-3-4-5-6-7 is home base for the major modes and the natural minor scale R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 is home base for the minor modes - want Phrygian change the 2 to a b2. Want Lydian change the 4 to a #4. And please explain modal vamps and the droning effect to them.

    Now for the bass clef stuff. I started out on rhythm guitar and now also play 4 string bass. After I got into bass I realized all that strumming I was doing on rhythm guitar was based upon what the bass clef notes were telling me. But of course with fake chord and or lead sheet there is no bass clef. So start them on fake chord and when you get into chord progression theory bring in the bass clef. Somewhere add that following the chords with the chord's pentatonic makes a first attempt at their lead solo.
    • Fake chord sheet music using
    • All down strums. Then....
    • Boom, strum, boom strum. Boom being the lowest note of the chord.
    • Alternate boom. Alternate the boom between the 6th and 5th string.
    • One up down strum.

    Those four strum patterns should be enough to get them started.

    Of course IMO.
    Ok, thanks. For me personally, I think I'll introduce some riffs or simple songs at first to try and get my student (only one at the moment, lol) into playing. Sorry, but when I was referring to economy picking, I meant for plucking various strings of a chord, not scales. I'd definitely teach scales to be alternate picked, too...

  8. #8
    I generally use alternate picking.



    http://playing-the-guitar.net
    Last edited by Gallipoli; 05-22-2012 at 11:01 PM.

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