Stuck between alt and eco


I previously thought I was an eco picker and am for the most part.

What im seeing is this.

At slow speeds I tend to eco pic for string switches but once I speed up I sometimes switch between eco and alt on the switch.

Not in a helpful way.

Its like im stuck between the two and feel i need to just pick one?

Or should I just keep going until 1 way
Flushes itself out.

I have no desire to pick alt pick every note all the time but would like to have it in my arsenal.


Im sure someone here has been in this situation and can maybe offer a plan.

I notice my eco picking gets hard to control at high speeds but Im hoping to keep at it because I love it. However I need to pick fast passages when I don’t want the legato sound

Maybe i can keep my eco picking as the mainstay and simply shift to alt when I want it.



Hope this pic shows up correctly.

So I tabbed a simple sequence the way my body wants to play it.

At slow speeds I naturally play like this.

As I build speed my movements get wild and I end up making an accidental momentary shift to alt picking and it all falls apart. .

My main question is this.
Are the choices I made in the tab viable in the long run or is there a flaw I will not overcome at high speeds.

If you have questions let me know

Please note the * is where I shift to uwps to make the change then I revert to my baseline dwps form more or less


Lol. Looking at the tab now and it appears I start eco and evolve to alt starting on an upstroke.

This flys in the face of my self analysis

Im almost to the point Im afraid to practice any of this for fear of further corrupting my poor brain n fingers.
Not there yet but for sure nervous at this point


That’s right! Some phrases simply can’t be swept and that’s fine. Repeating ascending sixes fretted three notes per string is one of those.

I’m not 100% sure what you’re asking, but if you want to learn to have a pure alternate approach in addition to combinations of sweep and alternate, that’s fine and will not cause you to give up anything you have currently learned. From your tab example it sounds like you’re familiar with some of the basic concepts in string switching, so it sounds like you have the knowledge as well.

At some point you will have to become aware of specifically which technique you are trying to use at any given moment, and not allow yourself do whatever your hands decide on. There is a balance to be struck here. Letting the hands find the path of least resistance is a key part of motor learning. Letting them only do what they want dooms you to randomness and never having any control.

So again, a balance of both is best. The intuitive part, with some instruction/teaching, is how you first begin with new movements. Then checking yourself via camera, mirror, and above all by feel is how you refine over time. Eventually you want to be able to identify what the target movement feels like when done correctly, and without looking, so you can engage it on command.

Good luck!


Something I’ve noticed: Two way pickslanting may gobble up any other technique and become your favored manner of traversing strings.

Almost 9 months ago I was happily economy ascending, but could not match the speed descending. I began to work on twps and eco descending, but eventually twps began to catch on.

Now I’m finding my hand wanting to ascend twps naturally. I am still quicker at eco ascending, but as this develops it may just gobble up all my economy movements and prevail as my primary technique.


Thank you guys.
I think it best at this point to simply add an alt picking program and continue with all the other things as well.

I feel better about moving forward now at least.



I didn’t think I could adjust to starting on an up stroke but in just a few minutes of starting that sequence with an up and using strict alt picking
I’ve already noticed an improvement.

I was complicating it.

As I am want to do…


What you are doing there is economy picking. You can tell that by the two consecutive downstrokes between the 3 and 4 note of the pattern. But that happens only the first time.

What happens from that moment on with that repetitive lick is that economy/alternate tells you to do the same thing. You do all the string changes the way you are supposed to with both methods.

Imagine you erase the first three notes of the page and asks us “I`m doing eco or alt picking here?” Well, we should say that we don´t know, and that we need you to play other things, because in that pattern the solution is the same thing with both approaches.

And yes, that is a viable way of picking in the long run and you will make it work really fast if you put the time.


Thank you, its amazing what You learn from simply tabbing something.

My years long habit of starting things on a down stroke led me to think it would be difficult to change.

However that lick shows clearly that up strokes and alt picking are very present even if its been buried within my eco style.

Now I have to discover where and when to start with up strokes.
That im sure just comes down to thoughtful practice.

I love this site and all the content but Im a book guy most of the time.

If anyone knows of a good book that
Covers all or most of the picking mechanics one will encounter that would be great.


I hear you; a lot of the time I prefer reading as well. Not sure of a book, but we do want to add more written material to the Cracking the Code site over time. Definitely would be useful to have some kind of searchable knowledgebase / quick reference to complement the videos.


After I posted I envisioned a world where your materials were compiled in pdf so they could be printed.

However I realize there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Until then, where there is a will there is a way


We do have PDFs available for all the musical examples on the site! For Masters in Mechanics members, when logged in you can find links at the bottom of the page for each clip, to both PDF and Guitar Pro files. Great for printing a few at at time and / or for offline use on a mobile device.


Lol, my bad
Im old.
Thank you


That’s something I’ve been meaning to request as well! I guess I’ll just have to pay more attention… :slight_smile:


I just wanted to give a progress report.
I went with the theory going around here that you can just cut loose and when you stumble onto what works just remember the feeling and try to repeat it.

I didn’t use the open strings because the flop is killing me but ascending and descending 6s on two strings
Very repeatable at 167bpm on my metronome settings.

That’s coming from basically nothing the other day.

Its not perfect of course but i can feel and hear the guts are all in place.

I start the ascending with an up

And descending with a down then just alt pick the cyclical 6s

However I can also verify its going to take a good while to get my finger sync in shape while shifting up the neck. Im not use to these 3nps scales

Still i couldn’t be more pleased.


@charface, I too have been in this very situation. Only my situation was reversed. At slow speeds I alternate pick but as I tried to bump up my speed and try to be faster, it seems as though the faster I go I switch right over to Eco. Man I’ll be honest. At first I worried just as you did. But then I remembered in one of Troy Grady videos that I think Yngwie Malmsteen wasn’t he a Eco picker? And Eric Johnson? it’s been a minute since I watched the videos but I remember some players are just alternate Pickers and other players are Eco Pickers. What I’m getting at is each style can be accepted no matter what. Why not have them both? so what I started doing was exercising with both. And down the road perhaps , one of them may show its face more than the other. one of them will be your strong point one of them won’t. I’m just saying why split hairs when both can be equally effective if not honed to be. it would just depend on which one you favor most. That’s only my opinion anyway. At first I thought well I should probably learn to alternate pick only because it’s good for your timing. But then I see that Troy Grady shows us that even the greatest of players play with either both styles or a little bit of both or one or the other as a strong point and then still at one point or another a little of the opposite. I just think if anything it’s a waste of time to split hairs over it. I think if instinctively you use one and switch to the other I think it’s best to embrace it. just learned how to do a hybrid style of it. that’s what I’ve been working on was alternate picking the slower things and learning how to smoothly transition into my eco picking and then back. I think if properly practiced and exercised then it may be possible that I could switch mine around. And I think you the same. For if we can do that, then essentially we can learn to hone both abilities and use them when necessary or whenever we would like. I just think that if it’s possible to do both of them then I don’t think that that is an ability worth squandering. Cuz I know some people who strive for one or the other and can only do one. Anyway all this is my opinion. I hope it’s in any way helpful


Thanks for the input.
I have decided to hone alt picking as an addition. That way I can choose where and when I employ the tech I want. I never really stuck with alt picking because I was clueless about 2wps etc… Therefore I would periodically attempt it and then move on.

Im woodshedding this winter and really focused so I feel like Im on the verge of a decent breakthrough.

Im trying to figure out what I need in my metal players tool box as far as core techniques.

Right now im focusing on my picking
And using 3nps modes of the major scale. Just sequencing vert and horizontal on string sets etc.

Same as I did to hardwire the pentatonic scale.

I have a long way to go.
But thats a good thing


Also I think the value of breaking down that lick was this.

My natural tendency was to eco and then it switches to alt.

However that was just adding a step I didn’t need. Since the lick resolves to alt anyway why not just start it that way? It was in the transition where I was blowing it. Now the transition is gone.