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  #1  
Old 09-07-2015, 06:17 AM
kevets kevets is offline
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Default "Economy" versus alternate picking

First to note is I am a fingerstyle player of classical and jazz.

But I am adding some flatpicking for fun, and may even work on hybrid picking.

A book I recently looked at mentioned what he called economy picking. It sounds logical, but nonsense often sounds logical. And it is the only time I have seen this referenced.

Everybody else says alternate up and down picks, or at the very least up-pick on the upbeat.

This guy says only alternate on the same string, and that when moving to another string pick in the direction of moving. So, downstroke gon the A string and next note is on D string, downstroke that too.

I'll have to go back and read it again, because I don't know what his advice is when you have up-picked an eighth note on A and then go to D. But his premise was don't cross a string unnecessarily.

Which sounds good, except I've never seen nor heard that advice anywhere else.

So what do you do? And (I'm not so observant), what do you see pros do? I guess I consider bluegrass the ultimate single note flatpicking challenge, and I believe I've only ever seen alternate picking.
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:22 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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Only possible advantage I can see is speed, and that would be marginal. I strictly alternate, more to keep time than anything else, but it also naturally puts the emphasis where it is needed.
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:34 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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As a flat picker - for Rhythm - I try to restrict upstrokes as much as possible.
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Last edited by cigarfan; 09-07-2015 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Inappropriate
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:52 AM
Paleolith54 Paleolith54 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevets View Post
First to note is I am a fingerstyle player of classical and jazz.

But I am adding some flatpicking for fun, and may even work on hybrid picking.

A book I recently looked at mentioned what he called economy picking. It sounds logical, but nonsense often sounds logical. And it is the only time I have seen this referenced.

Everybody else says alternate up and down picks, or at the very least up-pick on the upbeat.

This guy says only alternate on the same string, and that when moving to another string pick in the direction of moving. So, downstroke gon the A string and next note is on D string, downstroke that too.

I'll have to go back and read it again, because I don't know what his advice is when you have up-picked an eighth note on A and then go to D. But his premise was don't cross a string unnecessarily.

Which sounds good, except I've never seen nor heard that advice anywhere else.

So what do you do? And (I'm not so observant), what do you see pros do? I guess I consider bluegrass the ultimate single note flatpicking challenge, and I believe I've only ever seen alternate picking.
Here you go. http://www.guitarworld.com/controlle...conomy-picking.

It's an advanced technique for single-note lines, which offers benefits I'll never be good enough to enjoy. It's more about fluidity than speed. It has nothing to do with rhythm playing.
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:04 AM
Chemo Chemo is offline
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If you want to play really fast, you can also plan your alternative picking arrangements so that string hopping becomes easy. Here is a good tutorial video (includes metal shredding, but can be applied to alternate picking in general).

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Old 09-07-2015, 09:14 AM
kevets kevets is offline
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Thanks. I don't have an overwhelming need for speed, but I'll play around with this anyway just to see what feels most natural.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:27 AM
Presc Presc is offline
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I learned it in the context of electric lead/solo playing, but I'd imagine it's useful for bluegrass lines. The basic premise is that sometimes alternate picking isn't the most efficient approach when string skipping. An example might be a fast line with the first note on the G string and second note on the B. We always like to downstroke on the one, but it can be cleaner to actually start a phrase like that with an upstroke and then downstroke the B.
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:08 PM
bbarkow bbarkow is offline
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I've never really put that much thought into it. I've had a flatpick in my hand for over 40 years, so it's second nature. Sadly, I couldn't fingerpick my way out of a paper bag.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:05 PM
rogthefrog rogthefrog is offline
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That's what I do. It makes a lot more sense to me than strict alt picking.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:12 PM
Shimmy Shimmy is offline
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There are many ways to pick a line, be it strict alternate picking, economy picking, gypsy picking. They all have their own pros and cons depending on the situation, but most importantly they all have their own sound and nuance. For instance, it is obvious to me when someone uses strict alternate picking in Gypsy Jazz as opposed to proper gypsy technique. The articulation is completely different.

Economy picking is great for fluid string changes such as in arpeggiated lines, people also call this sweep picking. Players like Frank Gambale are masters of economy picking and many jazz players utilise the technique. It makes a lot of sense to follow a downstroke going from a low to high string with another downstroke. In fact, I'm so used to doing it that using strict alternate picking feels odd to me know.

Last edited by Shimmy; 09-07-2015 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:31 PM
Shimmy Shimmy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Presc View Post
I learned it in the context of electric lead/solo playing, but I'd imagine it's useful for bluegrass lines. The basic premise is that sometimes alternate picking isn't the most efficient approach when string skipping. An example might be a fast line with the first note on the G string and second note on the B. We always like to downstroke on the one, but it can be cleaner to actually start a phrase like that with an upstroke and then downstroke the B.
Playing an upstroke on the G string and then following with a downstroke on the the B would be "inside picking". Economy would be two consecutive downstrokes. I guess that is probably what you meant but thought I would clarify. :-)
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:40 PM
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