Initial critique of picking technique


I apologize in advance but I didn’t measure my bpm or anything like that. I’ve gone through the introductory material (phew it’s a lot of new terminology to take in)I just want to get an critique on my alternative picking technique. I the video posted below show me playing an Ionian Shape in the key of C ascending and descending. I’ve been picking this way on and off for the past 6 years. Some days it’s good, some days it feels sloppy, unnatural and a lot of scratchiness/clicking from the plastic of the pick hitting the string. I know some people say a lot of this is having too high of a treble or too much gain. I’m 35 and have been playing since I was 15. Played off and on, took some lessons, played in a couple crappy bands and had fun. Never tried to get better, just thought that I wasn’t cut from the same cloth as these guys that can really wail on the guitar. I was taking lessons since March but my teacher moved away. She was having me focus on directional picking and sweep picking which that is another video for another day. One issue with my picking hand is that I get a lot of hopping and I really want to try to eliminate that and find the best movement for me.

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Real Time

Thanks all!


I can confidently say that part is a lie lol. Im 51 and made my best gains after age 47 lol. That was after 27 years of grooving bad habits. There is hope yet lol

Hmmm. Im looking at your clip. Im guessing maybe you are a bit confused about the whole concept or approach.

for instance you are going D U D (down up down) then you are picking the pick way up in the air (hopping)…but then you go DUD on the next string too! Then you repeat it for the next string etc etc.

There IS the technique of sweeping thru the string changes where you would go DUD and then the next string would also just be DUD but when you do that you dont lift the pick way up in the air like you are doing. The whole purpose of sweeping thru the string change is to go to the next string with just that ONE pick stroke nice and smoothly.

The descending part actually looks slightly better because you arent doing that aggressive hopping

Look at the first 3 pickstrokes…do you see how much you are lifting the pick up and down (away from the body of the guitar??) Why???

I think if I were you id definitely put in some solid work on just one string for a while until you get the pick moving more or less straight back and forth without all the hopping. I wouldnt even worry about doing that whole scale at this point

How aware are you of the concepts of 1 way slanting, 2 way slanting etc??


Hey there, haha yeah I have a tendency to be hard on myself. Thanks for the input. I just joined last’s week and am still getting a grasp. So to be honest my. Not as familiar as I fluke to be but I’m studying and trying to get a good handle on it all.


well my prediction is that you will rapidly improve from where you are


It’s been kind of mentioned already, but just to clarify: the clip does not show alternate picking - it’s sweeping with a “jump”.


Yes the descending part looks like killer “economy” or sweep style picking. Do you feel like you can go faster descending or is it the same feel as ascending for you?


@qwertygitarr I think it just depends on what I’m playing and where I’m at on the fretboard. I feel like I can descend a little better than I can ascend…at least it feels smother descending… I also have an issue “double picking notes” I tend to do that so I can change strings and once that happens I kind of get thrown off.


@JonJon oh you mean at the very start. I think I was just letting out some tension and make sure I was loosened up. Yeah sorry if that threw you off. But you’re right I do hop and I’ve been diligent about removing it from my picking motion but it’s hard breaking bad habits :frowning:


@JonJon so I’ve been trying to practice my tremolo picking on my technique and doing some more tweaking and reviewing some of the videos put out by @Troy I think I’ve been using DWPS for a while with a combination of economy/directional picking which doesn’t seem to be working. I think this is starting to make sense but I’m just working on trying to figure out how to incorporate this into practicing. Thanks again for the input!


Actually, judging by your video, you seem to be using primarily UWPS.

Looking at the first clip, you play (like @JonJon said) DUD DUD etc, which is what I would call sweeping (or economy picking) if it wasn’t for the fact that your pick escapes on both downstrokes and upstrokes (a bit more on downstrokes) which seems to slow you down considerably. If you had been “DWPS” (ie upstroke escaping) the downstrokes would have ended up nicely on the next string when ascending, similar to what you’re doing when descending. So, in other words, that’s what I would have worked on first.

On the other hand – you could decide to go with your double escape technique and try to make that smooth, in which case you would end up with a pretty versatile crosspicking motion. This would enable to play the 3NPS scale in your example with “true” alternate picking, ie DUD UDU etc.