Student Lounge

Why should I alternate my picking?

03/10/2016 | by Mario Bap | Posted in Guitar Basics

This is a question I usually get asked by my new students. They don’t understand why they should alternate their picking. This is what I explain to them:


When you’re playing the guitar, you want to be as efficient as possible and don’t want to waste any muscle or hand movements.


So with this in mind, I want you to pull out your guitar or visualise this now. Pick down, bring your hand around and pick down again. What happened there? You see you played the down movement, YOU BROUGHT YOUR HAND UP, and then you played the down again. So your hand is forced to come up anyway every time in order to play the next down. That is wasting a movement because we could use each of those up movements to play notes.


So if we alternate our picking, aka playing notes on the down and up movements, we make sure that we are efficient – every hand movement results in notes.


We therefore play twice as fast, twice as accurate and twice as efficient.


So friends, alternate picking is your friend !!


Let me know if you have any questions.




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