By Matteo Miller-Nicolato
What is directional picking?
You may have heard about "economy picking" or "economy of motion"... This is a powerful concept in guitar which helps you build speed. Directional picking is simple to understand but a bit difficult to execute.
Essentially, you must CONTINUE your picking direction across multiple strings. If you start on string 6 and pick a few times, then jump down to string 4, you MUST hit it on a downstroke. See the screenshot below:
Directional picking is the a combination of ALTERNATE picking and SWEEP picking.
Alternate picking on a single string... Sweep picking when changing strings...
Why is directional picking important/superior?
If you are using strict alternate picking, then you will have a hard time building speed because you must LEAP over the strings, which will cause you to waste time, waste motion, and often be very inaccurate.
If you use directional picking, there is little chance of missing the string. You are immediately striking the string directly below by CONTINUING your pick stroke across multiple strings. This is similar to striking 2 baseballs simultaneously with ONE swing of the bat.
You can also easily combine directional picking with SWEEP picking. It is more difficult to combine alternate picking with sweep picking because of the additional motions necessary to play with strict alternate picking.
How do you practice directional picking?
Practice this picking technique is actually very difficult, but you can start today with some simple exercises. Start small, across 2 strings, and then later you can build more by adding additional pick strokes, and more strings.
Here are a few examples:
If you are struggling with this advanced concept and want to learn more about how to integrate this into your guitar playing so you can build speed, you should schedule a FREE Introductory Guitar Lesson in San Diego today!
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