Alternate Picking Guitar Licks!

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  Lead Guitar Lesson – Alternate Picking Guitar Licks – Shred Guitar Hello. This is Cameron Rasmussen for guitarcontrol.com. Today I’m going to be talking about alternate picking. Alternate picking is exactly what it sounds like. You’re alternating your pick between a down and an upstroke. Whenever you start on a downstroke and you’re going to be going down-up, down-up, down-up. If you start on an upstroke you’re going to be going up-down, up-down, up-down. You could be staying on the same string, you could be switching strings, but as long as your picking hand is going down-up, down-up or up-down, up-down, you’re alternate picking. It’s an efficient way to play fast things depending on the lick. There are lots of different ways to practice it and build-up speed, but you need to start slow. everybody tries to go as fast as they can and you can’t have any tension in their arm and they’ll start tensing-up their arms trying to go as fast as possible and it just doesn’t work-out and it’s a bad time. You need to start slow. You need to have no tension in your arms; you can’t be flexing your muscles up here or in your elbow and it’s going to start to hurt if you’re doing that and trying to alternate pick really fast. So you need to start slow. A way that I learned how to alternate pick by starting slow and simple is by doing one string at first and just playing one note, not even playing any other notes. I’m going to start with E on the B string here and I’m just going to go down. It’s going to start with down-up, down-up, down-up and just go that way. You set whatever tempo you need, that you can safely do it at, you can do it relaxed and you can get it clean. Your downstroke should sound the same as your upstroke. You really have to concentrate on that as you’re doing it. Pretty self explanatory; started with a downstroke that time. Now one thing that a lot of people don’t say, which I think is really important to developing alternate picking is starting with an upstroke as well. So you practice this same lick two different ways and it takes extra time, but it’s worth it because you really get cleaner alternate picking and it really develops your technique better. I’m going to do the same thing, starting with an upstroke. That was only one string and obviously you play more than one string when you’re playing guitar. So the next step that I took to develop my alternate picking was to play only two strings and only one note on each string. This helps when you’re switching strings and it helps develop that technique at a slow pace as well. It’s going to sound like… So I’m playing 16ths at that tempo and I’m switching every two beats to the different note. This helps you move your hand while you keep the picking going. As well, you want it to obviously sound even when you’re switching notes. Like we did before, I’m going to start with an upstroke to make sure that we get the technique even and clean before we start speeding it up. It will sound like this. Now you’re thinking, well, I don’t only play two strings when I’m playing guitar. Well, nobody does. So now we’re going to increase to every string. First I’m going to play just an exercise, again, that I use to increase alternate picking, which is just chromatics. And it’s kind of a string skipping exercise at the same time, which helps-out your right hand for switching strings, again, and keeping your picking even. This exercise is going to sound something like this. The one string with the upstroke is actually be a little bit different; starting on the high E this time, still basically the same exercise, just a mirror image of itself. It’s going to sound something like this. So if you practice these things — we’re going to do one last lick that’s often a picking that you might actually use in a soloing context or when you’re actually playing. It’s just going to be in the key of A minor. It’s just going to go up and down the scale and it’s going to sound something like this. I’ll play it one more time. Now it’s a very simple lick. It’s just up and down the scale. It’s a little bit more applicable to something you’d use when you’re playing, but it’s still more of an exercise. It’s good to just drill exercises over and over again, learning this technique because it’s a very important part of being a guitar player and you need to master it. Before you play fast stuff like this… I kind of got off track there. But before you play fast picking stuff like that you need to practice everything I talked about today. So this has been a good lesson about alternate picking today. I had fun; I hope you did, too. Please click the link in the video description if you’d like to see the tab for the examples I showed you, as simple as they were, and I’ll see you next time to show you more picking exercises.

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