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Want to pick at hyper speed? Learn Alternate Picking.

Mar 18, 2008
Short Description: Alternate Picking allows you to pick the strings of a guitar really fast. You can learn the technique of alternate picking in this article.

This is a technique where you alternately pick downward and upward in a continuous run. Tremolo is the name given to very fast alternate picking done on a single note.

Since you pick alternately downward and upward, wrist moves a lot less if you follow the method of alternate picking. This makes it much easier to play the guitar and flawless execution of fast picking licks becomes all the more simple.

But before you get into the act of alternate picking get yourself a brand new pick - one which is neither too flimsy nor too thick and hold it between your thumb and forefinger with the pointed edge protruding outside in such a way that a third of it is visible. This is the most "common" way of holding the pick.

But legendary musicians have held it in their different ways and still been able to produce unforgettable music. So, my suggestion is hold it in a manner you're comfortable with and see to it that you are able to execute the notes without much effort. That'd be the best way for you.

The whole purpose of alternate picking is to be able to do a fast run. It thus becomes extremely important to choose which part of the string you'd pick. If picking is done right on the bridge you'll get an additional treble. But you'll be able to extract a mellower tone if you go nearer the neck. Choose the position which suits the composition you're playing.

The other important aspect is clarity of tone. A pick held parallel to the strings will give you a crystal clear tone but if it is held at an angle with the strings while striking them, the tones won't be so crystal clear.

What your wrist movements will be is another important aspect of alternate picking. You may keep your wrist stiff and let your arm do all the movements using elbow as a pivot, or, you may use your thumb and fingers and make circular movements while picking. Here again we don't have any "ideal" solution. You are free to choose any method which makes you feel comfortable.

Start practicing with short repetitive patterns at a moderate tempo of 80 - 100 beats per minute. You may use a metronome to maintain the beats. Slowly but steadily increase the tempo to 160 beats per minute. When you can play flawlessly at this speed you may rightly congratulate yourself that you've become a true pro!
About the Author
Before you spend a fortune on 1-on-1 guitar lessons, be sure to check out Crazy Dave's review of the #1 instructional video guitar lessons on the net - learn and master guitar. Dave's site offers 35 free guitar licks!
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