Economy Picking Technique For Guitar - Lesson 2

I hope you've been working hard on the stuff we covered in the last economy picking lesson! :-) You might have noticed that in that lesson we focused exclusively on using downstrokes to economy pick across two strings. Well, in this lesson we even things out by focusing on using upstrokes to economy pick across two strings. So let's jump right in with the first exercise for this lesson…

Economy Picking Exercise 2:

Economy Picking Exercise 1

This exercise uses an A Major triad and is played using economy picking in the following way…

  • Pick the first note using a downstroke.
  • Pick the second and thirds notes using one continuous upstroke. The upstroke should be done so that it just glides across two strings with the one upstroke motion.

I find it really helpful to analyze the mechanics of any economy picking exercise that I learn. So let's do that now. Here is the mechanic that the exercise above uses…

Economy Picking Mechanic From Exercise 2:

Economy Picking Mechanic 2

Here's what this mechanic means…

  • Play the string that you are currently on using a downstroke.
  • Pick the current string again using an upstroke and use the same upstroke motion to move to and pick the next adjacent string.

As I mention in Economy Picking Lesson 1, what I like to do once I've analyzed the mechanic is then compose ideas that use that mechanic. This allows me to not only get better at the mechanic but also increase my musical vocabulary.

With that said, here's an economy picking lick that I made up using the mechanic above…

Economy Picking Lick 2:

Economy Picking Lick 2

Here are some important notes about this lick…

  • It is constructed using notes from the B Natural Minor scale. This scale is also called the B Aeolian mode and is made up from these notes: B C# D E F# G and A.
  • It uses only sixteenth note subdivisions. This means that for the entire lick you need to be playing four evenly-spaced notes per click of your metronome. Just be sure to watch out for the last two notes of the lick. Although these notes are sixteenth notes, you'll notice that I have sneakily ended on the second sixteenth note of the beat.
  • I must admit I went nuts with the mechanic. You'll notice by counting them that I used the mechanic a grand total of seven times in the lick! To make this clearer for you to see, I've put the same exercise below with boxes drawn around each repetition of the mechanic…

Economy Picking Lick 2 Explained

Your Homework

Before you move onto any further economy picking lessons, I really recommend doing the following…

  • Review this lesson and the previous lesson. Make sure you have read everything again. Also make sure that you have memorized the exercises and licks.
  • Set a speed goal for the exercises and licks. Keep practicing them until you have reached your speed goal. I recommend setting a speed goal of around 120 bpm using sixteenth notes. The goal at this stage of learning should not be speed but clarity, cleanness and accuracy of timing. Of course, once you've reached 120 bpm then feel free to push the limits. :-) 

And lastly, if you're looking for a LOT of new ideas to learn that will improve your sweep/economy picking, then I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this shred guitar e-book. (I feel that it is a fantastic resource, and will keep you busy for a LONG time. You can read my full review of it here: Shred Guitar E-Book Review).


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