Today’s lesson was mostly focused on my picking technique. As I mentioned in a previous post, somewhere along the way I picked up the habit of economy picking. Upon seeing this my instructor Kit had me stop doing scales all together. In last weeks lesson he started me back on scales with the Pentatonic Scale. With the Pentatonic Scale, there are only two notes per string, so you’re pretty much always alternate picking.
Normally when doing Pentatonic scales you start with the first finger on the low E string and end with the fourth finger on the high E string (when only going in one direction). As I wrote in my last lesson, Kit had me doing the scales starting on both the low E and high E strings. Starting with a down stroke using the fourth finger on the high E will put you in a situation where, if you have a habit of economy picking, you may switch back to economy picking. Which I did.
So, this weeks exercises are all geared towards breaking the economy picking habit. I’m supposed to do the chromatic scale up and down the neck. The chromatic scale is just every note in order moving up one fret as you play the scale up and down the neck:
I need to do the scale up and down the neck with the following picking patterns:
All Down, 1x
All Up, 1x
For example, for each note on the “Up/Down 2x” scale I would play each note 4 times before moving to the next note: up, down, up, down.
I’ll point out that Kit isn’t against economy picking. However he believes you should be in control of your movements. If you’re economy picking, its because you want to be economy picking for the feel or sound, not because that’s what your hand happens to be doing.
If you’re like me, you’re thinking this is going to be a long monotonous exercise… but if it helps break my habit of unconsciously slipping into economy picking, then I guess that’s a good thing.