Alternate picking speed?



Asked by: Richard Collier

How fast should my alternate picking be?





Start at 60-90 BPM, and just remember: ‘down-up, down-up’. Don’t veer from these picking directions. Move onto 90-120 BPM. Now, the middle tempos are important.

How do you do alternate picking fast?

If you can play alternate picking continuous. Down and upstrokes for sixteenth notes at a tempo of 80 to 90 ppm upwards.

How can I improve my alternate picking accuracy?

The matrix exercise on a single string alternate picking on one string is the easiest part because you don't need to mind inside and outside picking.

What is alternate picking?

Alternate picking is a guitar playing technique that employs alternating downward and upward strokes in a continuous fashion. If the technique is performed at high speed on a single string or course voicing the same note, it may be referred to as “tremolo picking” or “double picking”.

What is considered fast guitar playing?





You can’t define “fast” this way. Personally I think that riffs/licks played perfectly in time @12notes per second and above sound fast. Not scientific data by any means, but fun to see as a ballpark. From what we gathered it looks like ~180 BPM (16th notes) is about average as maximum speed for those who participated.

Can’t alternate pick fast?

Just picking alternately will never get you to speed up. Your brain is going to loose track of where the pick is, what note your picking, what beat your on, and then you add the whole other monster of your fretting hand.

Why is alternate picking so hard?

Because in the first case, during motion, your pick stays “outside” the E and B strings, while in the second exercise the pick remains “inside”, trapped between the E and B strings. This is, in a nutshell, the main difficulty with alternate picking.

When should I start alternate picking?

If you don't do a lot of alternate picking this would be a prime. Example of how you could start getting into it alternate picking is when you pick down and up as opposed to just picking.

Why is alternate picking better?

Essentially alternate picking is more efficient, because you have to move you hand less distance to hit the next note, and it can be an important difference between hitting the note on time or struggling to reach it. As with other guitar skills, it doesn’t sound even a little difficult until you actually try and do it.



Should you learn alternate picking?

But experienced players know that alternate picking is the best way to up your game. This classic, staccato style picking uses a combination of alternate downstrokes and upstrokes. This way, you can easily play at lightning speed. It’s also more versatile than other styles, like hybrid or economy picking.

Should you always alternate pick the guitar?

Alternate picking is as important to a guitarist as alternating strides are to a sprinter. Imagine a sprinter leading with his right leg twice in a row! Simply put, alternate picking is the most economical of picking techniques. True alternate picking involves strictly alternating upstrokes and downstrokes.

Who invented alternate picking?

Yngwie Malmsteen



Malmsteen became known in the 1980s for his neoclassical metal playing style in heavy metal. Yngwie Malmsteen generalized the idea of picking every single note.



What kind of pick does John McLaughlin use?

Even a guitar pick can’t be overlooked, during his 2010 tour McLaughlin was using a Dunlop Jazz 3 picks, but he would scrap down the pick to get a better grip and playability.

Who was the first guitarist to sweep pick?

The technique was first used and developed by jazz guitarists Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel in the 1950s, as well as rock guitarists Jan Akkerman, Ritchie Blackmore and Steve Hackett in the 1970s.