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i started playing guitar about two months ago and im not very good yet. im going to start practicing alternitive picking so i can play really fast. i have a few questions about it. 1.Is it hard to learn alternitive picking and how long does it usually take to get rather good at it? and 2. is there any certain way i should practice it? any advice would be great. thanks
 

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Hawksicken said:
i started playing guitar about two months ago and im not very good yet. im going to start practicing alternitive picking so i can play really fast. i have a few questions about it. 1.Is it hard to learn alternitive picking and how long does it usually take to get rather good at it? and 2. is there any certain way i should practice it? any advice would be great. thanks
Start out very very slowly. Like 60 beat per minute on a metronome or less. If you dont have a metronome, get one. They are absolutely essential when you are trying to develop even/in time alternate picking.

When I practice, I like to take a scale and make a simple 4 note pattern for example. I can hit one note out of that pattern per beat. I can hit two notes out of that four note pattern per beat. I could alternate pick four notes per beat if I wanted. If I really wanted to cram notes within one beat, I could repeat that four note pattern twice within one beat, which is eight notes per beat.

Thats just one example of the things I do to work on my alt picking.

Its not to hard to develop as long as you are patient and you take your time. If you really focus and dedicate yourself, you will see results, that I can assure you.

I suggest you look up guitar lessons on youtube by John Petrucci or Paul Gilbert because they are alternate picking monsters. Good luck:bannana_g
 

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Hawksicken said:
i started playing guitar about two months ago and im not very good yet. im going to start practicing alternitive picking so i can play really fast. i have a few questions about it. 1.Is it hard to learn alternitive picking and how long does it usually take to get rather good at it? and 2. is there any certain way i should practice it? any advice would be great. thanks
One thing I like to do is alternate pick arpeggios across the fretboard.

*FYI, an arpeggio is the notes in a chord played individually instead of strumming them at once.

In this example, Ill use an arpeggio of a G major Chord. The notes in a G major chord are G, B, and D. One way to play the chord is like this:
*Im assuming you can read tab alittle bit by now
E:--3----------------
B:--0----------------
G:--0---------------
D:--0----------------
A:--2---------------
E:--3----------------

*One G note is on the high E string on the 3rd fret. The B is on the open B string. Another G is on the open G string. The D is on the open D string. Another B is on the 2nd fret of the A string. Another G is on the 3rd fret of the low e string. BTW you play the three notes (G,B,D) in any configuration on the fretboard and it will be a G major chord.

Now for the arpeggio pattern. This is it:

E:--10-9-7------
B:----------8----
G:---------------
D:---------------
A:---------------
E:---------------

The first note on the 10th fret of the high E string is the D. The note on the 9th fret of the E string is a C#. You might be asking why I placed that there since it is not one of the G major Chord notes and the reason is because, besides the fact that I think it sounds cool, it is more conducive to alternate picking. The note on the 7th fret of the E string is the B note. Finally, the note on the 8th fret of the B string is the G note.

Now, the picking pattern that I use on a lick like this is Downstroke on the 10th fret note, Upstroke on the 9th fret note, Downstroke on the 7th fret note, and upstroke on the 8th fret note. This is very convenient since after the last note of the pattern (8th fret note), you can begin the pattern again with a downstoke. In this way, the pattern, if played like this is always down,up,down,up,down,up,etc.

For "correct" practice of this, you are going to want to use all four of the fingers of your fretting hand. I know its a pain in the ass, but trust me, it will pay off. The way I would do is pinky on 10th fret, ring finger on 9th, index of 7th, and middle finger on 8th. Practice with as much economy as possible both in your right and left hand.

Another way you can play it is like this:

E:--10-9-7----7-9-10-9-7----7-9---
B:----------8--------------8-------
G:---------------------------------
D:---------------------------------
A:----------------------------------
E:----------------------------------
etc.etc. You can play this one forever i you wanted lol just make sure it falls evenly on a beat.

I know this is probably over your head and I dont suggest doing this until you get the above stuff down, but you can take the arpeggio concept one step further by expanding it across the octaves of the fretboard.

*an octave is a note that........(srry im having trouble explaining).......(let me just show you lol)

E:--10-------------
B:-----------------
G:--------7--------
D:-----------------
A:------------5----
E:-----------------

These three notes are all D notes. In other words, their all the same note, just played higher or lower pitch ranges of the fretboard.

Here is the arpeggio played across octaves of the fretboard.

E:-10-9-7-----------------------------------
B:---------8--------------------------------
G:------------7-6-4-------------------------
D:-------------------5---------------------
A:----------------------5-3-2--------------
E:-----------------------------3------------

This may look like alot, but all it really is is 4 of the same notes repeated in different octaves. If you break this down, you will see that the notes D(10th fret high E), C# (9th fret high E string), B (7th fret high E), and G (8th fret B string) are the same exact notes as the 7th fret G string note, which is a D, the 6th fret D string note, which a C#, the 4th fret G string note, which is a B and the 5th fret D string note which is G. If you've payed attention, youll see that both groups of 4 notes are the SAME EXACT NOTES, just played in lower or higher registers of the fretboard. The same concept applies for the notes on shown on the A string and the LOW E string. They are the same, just played lower and in a lower pitch than the ones above it.

For fingering, it is fingered the same way as the first pattern i showed you. When you play the last note of the first pattern (8th fret) with your middle finger, shift your fret hand entirely so that your pinky is on the 7th fret G string note. In this way, the fingering is exactly the same throughout.

With picking, the pattern from top to bottom is down, up, down, up, up, down, up, up, up, down, up. This isnt exactly alt picking (more like a mix between sweep picking and alt picking which is what I do) but you get the idea.....i hope.

I hope this helps, and im sorry if I confused. I did, just focus on the first pattern if you want and you will eventually understand everything else. Good luck.
 

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The picking you use is called Economy picking. It's being put to good use by players like Frank Gambale and Shaun Baxter, you should check their lessons out if you havent already.

I tried it hardcore for a year or so, but ultimately went back to alternate. But I've no regrets cause I can always pull that technique out for specific riffs where it fits better.
 

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Arpeggio said:
The picking you use is called Economy picking. It's being put to good use by players like Frank Gambale and Shaun Baxter, you should check their lessons out if you havent already.

I tried it hardcore for a year or so, but ultimately went back to alternate. But I've no regrets cause I can always pull that technique out for specific riffs where it fits better.
Yeah, I kinda found out that that was Frank Gambales technique after the fact. My original insperation for it was when I was really into Eric Johnson's playing when I first started guitar. He said that when he does a run, he likes to start with upstrokes. I did that with pentatonics and it kinda just stuck from there.
 

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Took me a good 10 years to get it right. lol But then again, I was never of these guitarists who spend most of their formative years playing in the bedroom. I'd like to think I'm a songrwriter first and guitarist second. The basic alternate picking I use is to angle the pick against the string and not flat on the string. Then I use motion mostly from the wrist of my picking hand to strike the notes with precision and the least amount of distance to each strike. Basic physics: longer distance = longer time toward destination. With some patience (hopefully not 10 year's worth) you'll sound sick as hell. good luck!
 

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For me I did one side picking for about a year, and eventually I could do alternate picking without a problem, it took a bit of practice but it was much less stressful than it would have been if I had tried to learn it from the beginning.
 
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