Start with pick on or off the string?


Hey everyone, quick question: when beginning an alternate picking lick, do you play the first note from a position where your pick is resting on the string, then push through? Or do you attack the first note from the air, above the string? What is your reasoning for either? Please discuss.



From the air. I’ve never consciously thought about it, but I guess your former approach would involve two discrete movements (bring string into contact with string, then pick) whereas the former is just one.


not to be a smart#s3 or anything but…dunno, never thought about it lol.

Rick Graham does advocate starting with the pick touching the string. he calls it “planting” technique. Dunno but I think it is some bastardized thing from finger picked classical guitar?

then closely related to that is the idea of trying to keep the pick actually touching the string as you do your alt picking. I actually think this is a cool exercise. Like tremolo picking with a tiny motion attempting to keep in contact with the string at all times. You might not actually PLAY like that but I think it is a beneficial exercise to learn to pick fast and smooth and “effortless”

In the end, I think if we look at all of the footage we have of top guys actually playing, Id bet they DONT start with the pick touching the string. id also guess most never have thought about it lol


You have to be able to stitch the sections together so the section before decides between “air” or “rest stroke.” I usually choose “air.”