Double Escape Scale Picking

Hey all,

So I originally joined this forum to get help trying to play single-escape lines, with a goal of playing Eric Johnson lines fluidly. I have made a ton of progress on that goal as I’ve worked on my upstroke-escape technique for almost a year now! Playing quite comfortably at speeds of 160-170 bpm at this point.

However, I am now at music school, so a lot of my guitar practice is not simply focused on what I want to play. My teacher is a very strict alternate-picker only, and very good at it, but he’s not very good at teaching me how to do it. He doesn’t want me using any economy picking (even though I still do so in my own time), and his “best” advice is the dreaded, “START SLOW”. Lol…

So anyway, I’m hoping you guys here can help me learn to alternate pick with a double-escape motion. My example here is me playing a single position G major scale, trying to alternate pick everything. In the last part, you can see I slip into my USX habits a little bit. I appreciate any help or feedback!

That sounds pretty fluid to me, good job!

About double escapes. As far as I understand, there shouldn’t be a reason to double escape when you’re playing consecutive notes on a single string, as you do in a scale like that. A single escape motion like USX should work fine for each string - some other players here can probably give advise what to do when you’re transitioning to the next string, though.

1 Like

Has your teacher explained why he’s averse to economy picking? And why his preference should be a requirement for you to retrofit your technique?

Does he think that Gambale, Yngwie, EJ, Django are not excellent players with fantastic technique? Maybe he’s not aware that these guys are constantly sweeping…

I’ve always felt like the fastest way between 2 points is a straight line - just sweep through the string change at any opportunity. Of course, there are certain patterns that require an alternate movement across strings - but to say “economy bad. alternate good” seems pretty short sighted to me.

Maybe you can compromise, and just do everything legato :wink:


He doesn’t think economy picking is bad per se, but he thinks it’s only applicable to very specific styles, like Gypsy Jazz. He teaches from a more “well-rounded” approach. I understand his reasoning, but to develop that technique, I need more help than just “start slow and gradually speed up.” And legato, we haven’t worked on that all.

Your scale practice looks good! As per our standard suggestion, I’d just try to check if you can go faster while keeping the form roughly the same (sloppy is fine, just check if this picking motion can in principle be performed at higher speed, to rule out any inefficiencies).

Unfortunately the world of guitar teaching is still full of superstition and people who are set in their ways (in fact, the world of insert random discipline here). But I am also sure your teacher will have plenty good stuff to give you - just probably not much when it comes to picking technique and motions, based on your account.

Just keep your critical brain on so you can take onboard the useful advice and discard the rest.


Thanks, Tommo, will do!