I was asked to do an alternate picking overview on another site, so I figured some of you might be interested in it as well
So a little while ago I offered to do a thread on alternate picking, and the more I started thinking about it, the more I realized that there is a LOT to cover. Therefore, I will do this in installments, instead of one mega post.
DISCLAIMER: I am not an amazing alternate picker by any means, I just was able to double my picking proficiency in about 8 months practicing like this. When I started, I could do chromatic 4 note per string exercises at 132 bpm 16th notes, and now I am at 200 bpm 16th notes.
Here is the 200bpm video:
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMnLm75hcDw]YouTube - Alternate Picking Goal[/VIDEO]
Okay, for starters, lets look into what parts of alternate picking to work on. To me, there are really two main areas of alternate picking:
However, these things should NOT be practiced together!!! Let me say that again. DO NOT PRACTICE THESE TOGETHER!!!
This was the thing that had been tripping me up for years. If you were a sprinter, would you work on your speed by running miles at a time? No.
Likewise, it is imperative that these two aspects of picking be practiced individually. It is not wise for us to try to increase our picking speed by playing scales for hours straight. This tires your muscles and will only cause you to tense up while picking (and therefore LEARN to pick tense), which is the exact opposite effect than what we are striving for.
Relaxation is key. It is a mental battle to maintain relaxed when you are trying to push your speed boundaries. Picking is not an art that requires much force at all. It requires fluidity and control. That is what we wish to obtain.
This thread will methodically approach alternate picking in a way that should help most people break through picking barriers.
I will elaborate more on this thread as I have time, because there is a LOT to cover. If you are interested, stay tuned! If not, well there are plenty of other threads!
Wirelessly posted (Stupid Motorola Backflip: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 1.5; en-us; MB300 Build/Blur_Version.0.13.37.MB300.ATT.en.US Flex/P014) AppleWebKit/528.5+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.2 Mobile Safari/525.20.1)
I like your analogy about the spinter. I have a hard time with alternate picking and part of the reason is probably because I sit there playing forever and I keep my pick in a chokehold of death.