Alternate picking is one of those crucial skills that will really affect how well you play anything else.
Very simply, alternate picking is when you alternate between up and down strokes with your picking hand. For this reason, it is also often called Down Up picking. Not exactly rocket science, to be sure, however the benefits you realize by mastering this picking technique should not be understated!
Training your hand on proper picking technique is essential if you want to make the most of all the other guitar licks you learn on this site. Down up picking keeps your hand in a steady rhythm, allowing for the fastest possible picking speeds. You may not notice being able to go any faster initially; however I guarantee you that without using alternate picking, you will at some point top out your picking speed, and worse, your accuracy won’t be where it should be. With down up picking, the only limitation on your picking speed is the amount of practice you put in…
Speaking from experience – when I first learned my guitar scales, I did not do alternate picking. Later on, I was having problems with my soloing, and when I asked my teacher why, he watched me play, and quickly spotted the picking inconsistencies.
That kicked off a rather agonizing – but ultimately very rewarding – retraining session. I had to practice my alternate picking very methodically for quite a while before I was finally able to break my bad picking habits and reform new ones. Ever since that time though, my playing has been more fluid, and I have a lot more speed than previously too.
So with those thoughts in mind, grab your guitar, and let’s learn some tricks about alternate picking! This lesson is brought to you by Colin Daniel of RiffNinja.com.
Alternate Picking Lesson: