I was jamming with Drew a bit today, and trying to explain some of the shit that I do in terms of speed picking. My legato blows and I can't sweep to save my life, but I can alternate pick like a motherfucker, and I never really paid attention to why. (Other than the fact that I spent age 12-16 playing a shitload of air guitar to Yngwie songs in my bedroom mirror... )
I did some shredding when I got home () and realized that I throw in a bit of economy picking when I'm trying to really ratchet up the BPMs, and it's wholly unintentional.
If you'd asked me 5 minutes before, I'd have said I was always starting the note on the next string with whatever up/downstroke I happened to be on, just going back and forth. Eg if I was playing three notes on the E starting with an downstroke, it's be down, up, down and then up on the first note played on the A string.
What I noticed is that once I'm past ~150 or so, I end up economy picking out of habit. If I'm playing three notes per string, it'd be:
\/12 /\13 \/14
\/12 /\13 \/14
I realize that's shit tablature, but instead of hitting the 12th fret on the next string with an upstroke, I carry the downstroke to it. But only sometimes. What the fuck, right?
This made me do this:
So I intentionally focused on straight alt-picking everything for a couple of minutes at 165-180, and then let myself econo-pick the changes. As it turns out, I'm a lot cleaner, and faster, if I straight alt-pick it, because my two-string downstroke ends up losing some oomph when I economy pick the string change, and I overcompensate () on the upstroke.
I'm not sure there's a lesson to be learned here or anything, but next time you're practicing, take a peek at your hand and pay attention to what you're doing. It might surprise you!
Glad all my questioning today paid off for you as well, because we REALLY established how shitty my picking technique is, as well as confirmed a few recent observations about pick angle and whatnot I've made are at least on the right track.