I'm trying to learn strict alternate picking, but I cannot find lessons and/or exercises that address my problem. My problems is due to years of a self-taught regimen of hybrid/economy picking, or as it's commonly known as "Whatever gets the job done" and I'm damn good at this. If I'm practicing, say a minor scale or whatever, and do 3 triplets per scale degree, if I just disconnect my mind and play, I can rip through it effortlessly - but if I stop and try to play each group starting down then up on the next group, I run into trouble. I don't hit wrong notes or lose rhythm, my pick just simply ends up invariably on the wrong sequence sooner or later, while still playing the scale perfectly. I can do strict alternate obviously at mind-numbingly slow speeds - but it doesn't take much acceleration before my subconscious decides to start dictating whether to start any particular group down or up. This is maddening to me. I sit and play dn-up-dn up-dn-up dn-up-dn for a measure or so and before I know, it has flipped. I think I need an exercise or lesson that somehow helps me connect starting down on beats 1 and 3 and up on beats 2 and 4, but unfortunately most of lessons I've run across are for beginners and does not address my issue at all. Can anyone help? Thanks in advance! \m/
So I'm back after some hours.. and here's the solution I figured out.
As I pointed out, I believed my problem to not be rooted in the alternate picking regimen, and that it might possibly be attached to rhythm emphasis - and I was right (as it pertains to me).
It's the way the brain "chunks" information. You can count a triplet whatever way you were taught, but at a certain speed threshold, you can no longer verbalize each note in rhythm. Instead, you count the beat and let the other two notes fall into place. This is "chunking" and I needed a way to attach each chunk to a beat to signal a starting pick alternation.
I started "rocking" the guitar. I pushed the neck forward on 1 and 3, and pulled it back on 2 and 4. I then commanded the pick to start with a down stroke when the neck pushed forward, and an up stroke when pulled back, and it worked!
The progress I made in just the last 45 mins left me very satisfied and believing I earned the sleep I'm about to get hehe
after this beer = )) cheers all! Thanks for your time Tim, much appreciated!
i found that learning a specific song(s) are super helpful, i've been learning "pray for plagues" and "icarrus lives".
i do think strict alternate picking definitely warrants learning. it helps also to see how music groves (when u switch between riding the up beat vs down beat), how to create like other sequences and rhythms.
i've been doing strict for the past 3 months, and my rhythmic intuition, understanding is much much improved.
I came on the internet looking for the exact same thing you were, Slo.
I've been studying guitar for many years and my teacher is a tough coach who insists on strict alternate picking for his students. I'm right there with you having been both self taught and had private tutors.
I LOVE SAP as challenging as it is. I can attest that if your stick to it, your playing will be faster, perhaps faster than it is now, and eventually it will become automatic. You'll know when to SAP and when to do your own thing but the training within the grappling through the monotany you'll be doing plus, a quick question: what the hell happens to our picks, which seem to become inebriated once we begin the SAP lessons? They no longer fall where they knew to. I hate that my pick doesn't know where to be, that my fingers are precise but the picking is that of a beginner.
Well, Partner, tell your ego to step to the side and start slow. Don't worry that it's slowing down your firey-fast fingerings. Just keep at it like the little engine that could and you'll see what happens to your playing if you practice it consistently.
I've realized there's no fast, easy way to download the skill into ourselves except through repeated motions. Given I know the forms, I study songs that require a mountain-full of chops. Take for instance, "Hot on Your Heels" by Y. Malmsteen. The beginning is a wonderful exercise to practice your SAP on. Music by Stevie Ray Vaughn as well.
I know exactly how you feel but know that it's not the exercise that's going to make it or break it for you. It's the time you put into it. You'll see the results, the more you just keep at it. As my coach says to me: "quit complaining and get picking." I laugh and say, ok! Ok! I'm picking, I'm picking! Best to you.