Guitar Alternate Picking


Guitar Alternate Picking and Legato Rolls

When it comes to Guitar Alternate Picking and Legato Rolls, these are tools that you DO want to have complete control over, to use on demand at a moments notice.

I like to view this as the throttle controlling a fine-tuned engine. You won’t always have it cracked wide open, but when you need the power it’s there. Use it sparingly for maximum results.

You definitely want to spend extra time working with your Guitar Alternate Picking and legato rolling patterns.

The reason is, it’s your main tool to explore the fretboard, and lack of control in this area can easily become an obstacle holding you back from “un-restricted lead guitar playing”.

If you listen to Paul Gilbert, or Yngwie Malmsteen, you get a clear idea of what this is all about in its perfected state. The real challenge is to make it as effective as possible.

In my opinion, I personally feel that Eddie Van Halen does this the best!

Perfecting Your Guitar Alternate Picking Method, Puts You In Control

Remember to use your speed as a tool, not a crutch… You’ll turn more heads your way.

* How should you practice your guitar alternate picking and legato rolling patterns?

  • Up-stroke and Down-stroke Synchronization: This is the difference between all cylinders firing on a finely tuned engine, or a fouled plug engine that ‘s missing… Seriously, this is your mechanical horsepower and needs harnessed to the fullest. Every musical phrase, lick, pattern, scale, run, etc… is all based on how well your up and down strokes are in sync…
  • Emphasizing the up-stroke: Picking the upstroke with added emphasis will do two things for you… First, it gives you better stability and fluidity, but even more, it allows you a great sense of timing if you use the upstroke as a “time stamp” within your counting. It can help give you a better sense of where “one ” is within a lengthy solo run, or series of phrases.
  • Smoothing Out Legato Patterns: When using legato patterns and runs, try to hammer your rolling notes as clean, steady, and consistent as possible. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself when rolling together. Here’s and Example: Notice when you’re playing three note per string legato runs that some points seem to be a bit faster than others, or maybe a bit more aggressive than other areas. You don’t want this type on inconsistent sound. You want to strive for a balanced turnaround, and steady timing with all your legato patterns. This will make your sound much more professional.
  • Balancing Your Guitar Alternate Picking and Legato Volumes: As we were just talking about smoothing out your legato patterns, the next part to the equation is balancing out the picking notes within your legato rolls. You see, even though most of the time you won’t pick within legato patterns, there are definite times you will. Usually this happens when you go to a different string. The trick to mastering this is to ease up on the pick, and hammer-on as solid as possible. When you think along these lines, you’ll be able make the final adjustments between your left and right hand, (in regards to volume blending) while your playing licks.
  • Seamless Non-Picking Turnarounds: Most of the time you won’t use your pick on turnarounds. I think it sounds more balanced and fluent when you don’t pick the turnarounds. The way you want to practice this is to simply roll two notes up, and roll two notes back…repeat. This should sound even and balanced (seamless). When you turnaround on any string it will be done this way. Even though you might cross four strings before you make a turnaround, when you do, this is how it’s done in its simplest form.
  • Hybrid Picking Combination Utilizing Everything: This is ultimately where you want to be, in terms of being in complete control of all methods of alternate picking and legato runs. You want to visualize the big picture and combine all the elements as smoothly as possible. When you change from aggressive picking to smooth legato you want to make it sound as natural and seamless as possible. This requires practicing lengthy patterns that use all the methods above. If you consistently practice in this mindset, you will rapidly jump leaps and bounds within your lead guitar playing, not to mention dramatically improving your musical vocabulary.

I recommend spending some additional time with these techniques and methods. It does require more time to get comfortable with all of these elements, but I promise you it’s time well worth spent.

When You Start Mastering Your Guitar Alternate Picking, You’ll Begin Noticing That All Aspects Of Your Guitar Playing Become Easier.

I hope thisĀ  information sheds some light on the importance of Guitar Alternate Picking and Legato within your Lead Guitar Playing.

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1 Comment

  1. bobmolton on February 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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