Monday, December 13, 2010

The Importance Of..................Proper Picking Technique Part #1

The "Importance Of" having a proper picking technique can not be understated. I was having a conversation with a musician buddy this weekend, one who's opinion I greatly respect, and he was talking about someone he knew who needed help with some picking techniques. The way that they were picking in a particular song or two was making it difficult to get the passages played cleanly and evenly. This happens to alot of players. When a guitar player first starts reading about inside, outside, alternate, etc. picking being used by their favorite players, they want to apply it to all aspects of their playing, even when it might not be called for. I am gonna go over some different picking techniques, give examples and do my best to explain them. First let's go through and give definitions of each.

1. Downstroke- picking only going downward
2. Upstroke- picking only going upward
3. Alternate Picking- using upstrokes and downstrokes together
4. Outside Picking- using two string runs so called because as you cross from one string to another the pick strokes come from the outer side of each string pair
5. Inside Picking- using two string runs, so called because the pick, when crossing from one string to another, strikes the area between or inside the two strings
6. Hybrid Picking- using a pick and your fingers
7. Finger Picking- using your fingers to strike or "pick" the strings
8. Sweep Picking- used most of the time with arpeggios. you use the pick to "rake" the strings; the pick "sweeps" the strings. think of the pick falling up and down the strings
9. Legato- means tied together:picking the string one time then doing hammer ons or pull offs on the string smoothly: going note to note only picking once.

example #1 is an example of using downstrokes only. Metallica are the kings of using only downstrokes in their playing. Used with palm muting it can make a riff more powerful. This is a riff that is kinda Metallica-esque. Use all DOWNSTROKES.

example #2 is using only upstrokes. It's based in A minor diatonic. Use all UPSTROKES.

example #3 is using alternate picking. Try and play any Slayer without using alternate picking. Try it . I dare you. You cant do it! This is a Slayer-esque riff. Use ALTERNATE picking.

Just "Click" on the tab paper to make it bigger, if you have trouble reading it.

This is just Part #1 of a two or three part series on Picking Technique. I will have more examples and uses of each kind coming up and a special "Sweep Picking" article in the future by a surprise guest writer. Even though my picking examples so far have used heavy metal type example the techniques described apply to all and every style of music. Have fun with this and see you soon for part #2!!!

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