There are a lot of advocates of absolutely strict alternate picking, like Chris Thile. I've been practicing that for a couple of weeks now, and I'm at the point where I can play just about anything without slipping into economy picking by accident. There's one thing I keep getting stuck on, though: when I start a new phrase, I want to start with a downstroke, even if I just played a downstroke. It feels so much more natural, particularly if it's been more than a measure since the last phrase; but it takes away from the big benefit of alternate picking, which is that I always know what stroke to do next.
So, do hardcore alternate pickers actually alternate through the whole song? Like, what if you end a phrase on a downstroke and your next phrase is 30 seconds later, at the beginning of a verse? Where's the limit?
I know each instrument has its own norms about picking. I play guitar, but I'd be interested to hear what mando players and others do as well.
Thanks in advance!