I was very interested to hear MAB talk about learning to alternate pick using an ascending, four-string, major scale run, as shown in this clip from the 2007 interview:
But, when watching and listening to it at slow speed (and slowing down the slow motion…), I quickly got confused.
The part that was bothering me is that MAB clearly plays two notes on the D-string, which makes sense given that the root of the scale is the second note of the 3-note-per-string pattern. But the tab shows the notes as 6-7-9. Adding to the confusion, I just wasn’t able to figure out how the two notes were being picked based on the video.
Until… I realized that the first note that MAB plays is a muted downstroke. It’s audible, but I was initially ignoring it (subconsciously) since the root note was clearly intended to be the first note (musically). This makes a lot of sense in that it enables MAB to start the scale (the second note) on an upstroke and then cleanly change strings after the first two notes.
But… Why do it this way? Why not start with the next higher pattern on the neck, play all 3 notes on the D string, and start with a downstroke? Or, alternatively, why not just start with an upstroke?
I guess MAB prefers this pattern because it’s nice in that it avoids the W-W sequence on a single string. That part makes sense to me; it’s convenient to avoid that stretch when the intention is to focus on the picking. Or is there a different reason?
I’d be curious to hear any thoughts people have on the subject.