Convert from Eco Picker to Alt Picker

Looking for help building speed with Alternate Picking. I’ve told the story on here before about being Left Handed but playing “righty” due to my original guitar teacher having me turn the guitar upside down at my first lesson. I’ve always wondered if that’s why I can’t pick right.

Let me know what you think.

Maybe i need to give better details or video?

Do you have some more video of just alternate picking?

It’s looking to me like you’re exaggerating the motion when changing strings, not only on the “escape” but also the elbow / wrist / and even finger involvement (thumb mostly).

When you say you’ve worked on alternate picking for a year, do you mean you’ve done nothing but alternate pick? Or do you have some sort of “alternate picking routine” that you do on an semi-frequent basis?

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So, from your video, it looks like you are using a lot of extra motion and unnecessary force, and a plurality of them to boot to try and do that (thumb, forearm, and wrist altogether). It also looks like you are getting hung up or stuck on the strings when you are crossing on the up stroke, which also may suggest that your angle of attack may not be conducive to that particular type of lick. If you are trying to slice through that A string in order to catch it on the up stroke on the 4th note, it will almost always sound choppy and uneven, and you will have a hard time locking into it.

That Paul Gilbert style sextuplet lick needs very specific motions to make it smooth with alternate picking, well for most people anyway, and truth be told, he doesn’t even strictly alternate pick it most of the time anyway, preferring a combo of picked notes and hammer-ons/pull offs. I can come up with a couple of things I think you should focus on if you are specifically trying to play that lick or have your heart set on it now. Otherwise I would recommend some other alternate picking licks to get you started on your transition before moving on to that one.

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it looks like you have a standard USX type motion since it looks like the pinky side is resting on the bridge so when your trying to go to the higher string it makes it seem like you have to hop over the next string. Instead of trying to jump over the string try playing thru it a thing called swiping. the note is not played when you swipe it just gets you to the other side without having to change the approach angle. So it would be Down Up Down swipe then UP Down UP and repeat if your doing 3 and 3 if it’s just 3 then 1 it would be similar. I think you don’t have the same problem when starting on upstrokes on the higher strings moving to lower and that would be related to USX type picking preference. Another way is to play only even numbers of notes per string such as 2 4 6 etc first to get some alt speed happening then work on the two way type things youd need for Paul Gilber type licks.

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I’ve actually been taking lessons with Teemu Mäntysaari for over a year. We’ve worked on some other things but each lesson I come away with some scale pattern (or a concept to be shaped into a pattern) and i had been seeing progress. However the past few months im hardly seeing any improvement. The PG lick I threw in was to show how I can actually do that lick better the wrong way than I can correctly.

You definitely nailed my issues down. Im not mainly focused on the PG lick - it was just what i used to try and display where I’m at with things. I’m actually going to post another video tomorrow that I think will better illustrate where i need to focus. I’ve seen a few videos where Troy points out the bounciness of the picking (wrong way) vs. A very smooth alternate picking. I really believe that is where my focus needs to be but I’m not sure how to get there.

Thanks for the input :sunglasses::+1:
I do sometimes incorporate swiping (though it jist developed before I found the CTC site and i didnt know it was an actual technique. But i personally DO hear it when I’m listening back and really want to work on this and become a great alternate picker. Im going to post another video tomorrow to better illustrate my issues (i hope)

Let me see if I can come up with something that may help you. I have kind of an idea of what I think you should focus on, but it may take a little work and experimentation on your part.

Also one thing I should have noted before is that there is actually nothing wrong whatsoever with using a combination of movements to achieve what you want to achieve, in fact I think most players do use a combination of them, albeit rather subtly. it’s more so the over-exaggeration of any of them that can signal that something’s up.


Also, can you post a vid that shows your hand position and movements with the camera looking down the neck towards your picking hand.

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This doesn’t really answer my question. When you play, what percentage of time (roughly) do you -just- alternate pick? Deliberately being mindful and doing nothing but that?

I’m gonna throw out an estimate, but I would start with at least 50% of your time being alternate picking if you’re really wanting to get good at it. If you’re finding your economy to still be drastically better, I would switch to alternate picking everything, all the time.

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So this is the first thing I want you to do for me. I want you to play like you normally would - like you did in your video, but I want you to try the attached lick instead of the one you played:

How does this lick feel to you? Do you feel you fare better with this one?

I want you to stay away from the low strings for now, and I want you to stay away from a position where your first finger frets near a natural harmonic. I also don’t want you to focus on the motions you are using to cross strings. One thing I noticed in your first video, like I mentioned before, is that you look like you are over embellishing a rotational pick slant when switching strings to try and clear it, which makes me think you are thinking too much about making the motion and timing it just right, instead of letting it happen naturally. Because you are likely trying to mute at the bridge with the side of your pinky it seems, it’s also causing you to use a very coarse elbow movement.

When you try playing this lick, think about doing what you can to play it making smaller motions across the strings. Yet strong enough to get a good enough attack to make each note intelligible. Think of it like you are aiming for the Bruce Lee 1 inch punch of the guitar world.

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@Pepepicks66 I’m sorry I didn’t fully answer you. So back in mid 2020 I had a lot of time on my hands and got serious about taking lessons and really try and become a better player by becoming more technical. It might sound like I’m exaggerating (especially since I’m not really able to play all that fast) but I spend about an average of 90 minutes per day JUST practicing runs up and down scales with a metronome trying to embed pure alternate picking in my playing. The “wrong” way I was playing in this video I actually had to practice the wrong way a little to kind of get it under my fingers again.

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@Fossegrim thank you so much!! I had to do something after work today and didn’t get a chance to record any playing like I had intended to. I think you are really honed in on the mess I have going on with my picking lol

I’ll definitely get the recordings you asked for to help me out.

Thanks again guys!! :pray:t3:

Ok here’s a quick video of the mess I’m in lol
I recorded a longer one and I’ll post it but only watch if you have to. It’s really embarrassing. I can play along to songs//solos by some of the greatest guitarists. But sit me alone in front of a camera and I feel like I picked up the guitar for the first time ever.

Ok here’s a more long winded dorkier version

Feedback on your videos:

  1. The “Yngwie lick” sounded good, definitely more speed potential there. You’re using elbow motion for that, as opposed to the wrist motion you do when economy picking.
  2. When you compared the second riff played the “wrong way” vs alternate picked, you can see and hear that the wrong way is not as smooth tempo wise, and the speed is pretty much capped. The alternate picked version is noticeably smoother, and again shows speed potential.
  3. When you talk about the pressure in your upper arm and pressing into the guitar when you want to alternate pick, I would guess that’s you naturally wanting to use elbow motion. When you play the “wrong way”, it has an element of wrist and elbow, whereas the alternate picking is definitely elbow. I think you should stop fighting the feeling and definitely explore more elbow motion for now.

So to recap, moving forward for you I would recommend:

  1. Stop playing the “wrong way”.
  2. Do some trem picking on a single note focusing on using mostly / all elbow motion. I wouldn’t be surprised to see you jump in speed noticeably if you see stick to this.
  3. As elbow starts to feel more natural incorporate chunks (small segments) of the “Yngwie lick” to build up speed with. As you progress there, link different chunks together to make longer fast lines.
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Okay. So from your first reposted video, I can hear and see that you have an easier time playing and jumping between strings playing that “yngwie” style lick. Your movements are much more controlled playing it (I had a hunch this was going to be the case, which is the whole reason I chose it, and wanted to see that specific angle). Because you naturally play with a pretty apparent downward pick tilt (or downward slanting whatever the accepted terminology is these days), it makes all the sense in the world why you have the issues you mentioned, and I’m sure it’s not news to you either. I think a lot of people naturally become downward pick slanters like that because it’s a very natural way to hold your hand on the instrument, and it really comes as a byproduct of right hand muting at least that my theory.

Now that we can see how you play, we can now better help you and work with you to overcome the hurdles. That’s the good news. The not so good news is that it’s going to take some work, and some of the suggestions I or others will give you may seem uncomfortable or a little unnatural at first, but try to stick with it if you can, and you will be alternate picking paul Gilbert licks in no time.

I’ll post another lick tonight that I want you to start to work on. Again. Don’t go too crazy with it, and stick to the b and e strings for now. We are also going to work on incorporating more subtle movements.

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Thank you guys so much! I’m out and about but in the early AM hours I’ll get some time to read through the replies more carefully.

Here is lick 2. Should feel a little familiar but you are only picking 4 of the six notes so pattern for each 6 notes is Down. Hammer, Hammer, Up, Down, Up. How does this look with your picking hand, I want you to focus on making as little movement on either side of the string during the string changes.

@Pepepicks66 is this what you’re saying? Just practice this …for how long each practice? Also the “wrong way” I was picking, I stopped doing that for roughly a year. I only “brushed up” on that method so I could post for you guys to see. I actually used to be smoother and maybe a little faster that way - but as you pointed out: that method has its limitations and I believe I hit the. The trek picking I’m doing in this video, am I using the motion you wanted me to? I was going as fast as I could without tightening up in my shoulder and bicep. Let me know …and thanks again!!