Combining Alternate Picking & Sweep Picking

by Ashoke Bhattacherjee


I have been practicing alternate picking all these while and have recently started to practice sweep picking.

What i want to ask is that is it a good idea to combine alternate picking & sweep picking?

For example, if i have to play 3 notes per string, i start say on the 6th string with a down stroke. then up stroke & down stroke for the 3 notes on the 6th string.
Next when i am going down to the 5th string what if i don't get all the way around to the bottom of the string to play an up stroke as alternate picking requires? if i continue the down ward motion from the 6th to the 5th and sweep pick the 1st note on the 5th and then continue alternate for the 2 remaining notes on the 5th string.

I understand that sweep can be used in this way if i am playing legato. But if i don't want to play legato and want to alternate pick for more definition of the notes, is it worth to do the above technique?

I ask because to practice that, i have to start all over again and it will take a considerable effort to unlearn the old way & perfect the new one.


Hi, Ashoke--

1. Yes, the thing to do would be to always use a down stroke when changing strings.

2. Any technique that will get the sound you want is certainly worth the time and effort it takes to perfect it. You can not have too many techniques to choose from.

You might also want to experiment with muting the strings a slight degree with either hand.


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