Buy from MF and Support the Fret!


Musician's Friend Stupid Deal of the Day
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Alternate picking power chords?

  1. #1
    Displaced Texan bcdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    1,528

    Default Alternate picking power chords?

    Do you alternate pick your power chords or just use down (or up) picks? I know alternate picking single-note stuff works great, but I can't get a fluid motion alt-picking two notes at a time. Any pointers? Is it one of those keep practising things or is down-picking enough to chug at high bpm?

  2. #2
    Contributing Member sunvalleylaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Sun Valley, Idaho
    Posts
    10,816
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Man, I have pretty much just chugged away with downstrokes on my power chords. Haven't ever really tried alternate style.
    Steve Thompson
    Sun Valley, Idaho


    Guitars: Fender 60th Anniversary Std. Strat, Squier CVC Tele Hagstrom Viking Semi-hollow, Joshua beach guitar, Martin SPD-16TR Dreadnought
    Amphs: Peavey Classic 30, '61 Fender Concert
    Effects and such: Boss: DS-1, CE-5, NS-2 and RC20XL looper, Digitech Bad Monkey, Korg AX1G Multi-effects, Berhinger: TU100 tuner, PB100 Clean Boost, Line 6 Toneport UX2, Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff Pi, DuhVoodooMan's Rabid Rodent Rat Clone, Zonkin Yellow Screamer Mk. II, MXR Carbon Copy Delay


    love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart. . .
    - j. johnson

  3. #3
    Regular Fretter Katastrophe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    All over Texas...
    Posts
    4,044

    Default

    It's kinda difficult to chug at high speeds on two strings while alternate picking. I just stick with one string, and loosen up my muting palm just a tad.

  4. #4
    Regular Fretter Ch0jin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Down Under
    Posts
    1,711

    Default

    Not that I'm any good at it, but I would always down pick when playing palm muted power chords. If I'm trying to play really fast power chords without palm muting (more punk style than metal style) I try and alternate pick for the sake of speed (and my wrist). That said, up until a few years ago I down picked everything because that's just how I'd taught myself. I still find myself reminding my hand as I play to try and alternate/up pick notes.

    Related thought, anyone know how Metallica manage the "galloping" style chug in "The Four Horsemen"? That's got to be alternate picked power chords doesn't it?

  5. #5

    Default

    It depends on what I'm trying to do. Alternate picking obviously allows for better speed. If you are picking too deeply (that is, putting the pick too far past the strings), it will be very hard to alternate pick well in general, much less with power chords.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, modded Squier '51, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Boss DD-6 Digital Delay, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  6. #6
    Displaced Texan bcdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    1,528

    Default

    Thanks, guys. I down-pick the power chords too but have been trying to alt-pick them without much luck.. it doesn't sound, nor feel right.

    Rev: good advice, sometimes I do dig too deeply on power chords (single note stuff I'm okay with), I'll keep an eye out for that.

  7. #7
    Contributing Member sunvalleylaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Sun Valley, Idaho
    Posts
    10,816
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Another thought after what Marnold said.

    BC, go over to Mark Wein's lesson site also, and he has a lot of free lessons on rhythm and picking in time. The reason I suggest this is that along with digging in to deep, another thing that will hamper what you are trying to do is not having your down stroke and up stroke in time. It is easy and natural to have your down stroke over power your up stroke so that the up stroke lags just a touch, or some other like symptom. I struggle with that one myself.

    The series of lessons on rhythm starts with basic clapping, and goes up through 16th notes I think. It is worth starting at the beginning and working the lessons through. Very helpful.
    Steve Thompson
    Sun Valley, Idaho


    Guitars: Fender 60th Anniversary Std. Strat, Squier CVC Tele Hagstrom Viking Semi-hollow, Joshua beach guitar, Martin SPD-16TR Dreadnought
    Amphs: Peavey Classic 30, '61 Fender Concert
    Effects and such: Boss: DS-1, CE-5, NS-2 and RC20XL looper, Digitech Bad Monkey, Korg AX1G Multi-effects, Berhinger: TU100 tuner, PB100 Clean Boost, Line 6 Toneport UX2, Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff Pi, DuhVoodooMan's Rabid Rodent Rat Clone, Zonkin Yellow Screamer Mk. II, MXR Carbon Copy Delay


    love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart. . .
    - j. johnson

  8. #8
    Displaced Texan bcdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    1,528

    Default

    Thanks, Steve. I really need work on my timing.. Mark has excellent lessons, I'll go check those out!

  9. #9
    Master Fretter Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cleveland
    Posts
    3,906

    Default

    Depends on what I'm trying to play. I don't think I palm mute and alternate on power chords too much, but if the song calls for it...I think I just sort of do what's needed.

    Now I'll probably start paying attention to that.

  10. #10
    Regular Fretter Jimi75's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    2,959

    Default

    To be honest, I've never seen someone play palm muted powerchords with alternate picking. As long as you are not playing high speed paml muting like for modern Metal, you can easily downstroke your chords which also sounds much better.

  11. #11
    Master Fretter Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cleveland
    Posts
    3,906

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimi75 View Post
    To be honest, I've never seen someone play palm muted powerchords with alternate picking. As long as you are not playing high speed paml muting like for modern Metal, you can easily downstroke your chords which also sounds much better.
    Hmm. Something about the way you phrased it made me realize there's a difference between alternate picking a chord and strumming up and down. I think I missed that.

  12. #12
    Displaced Texan bcdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    1,528

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimi75 View Post
    To be honest, I've never seen someone play palm muted powerchords with alternate picking. As long as you are not playing high speed paml muting like for modern Metal, you can easily downstroke your chords which also sounds much better.
    Ahh, but that is precisely what I'm trying to do. I've been watching some videos to try and figure out if these fast metal chugs are alt-picking but they're so fast I can't tell! :-)

  13. #13
    Regular Fretter Duffy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    W. Branch of Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,035

    Default Alternate

    I alternate pick non palm muted power chords a lot, especially when getting a more complicated rythym going. I sometimes mix downstrokes with alternate picking.

    I played mandolin for many years and developed alternate picking over double strings a long time ago, of course this is a little different than alternate picking power chords, but the method is the same.

    It takes me practice to get an even down and up stroke going that is balanced and good sounding. A soft pick hand definitely helps and not digging in also is important for me. It may be that heavy duty players like SRV or Kenny Wayne Shepherd could/can dig in and alternate pick power chords with no problem. I wouldn't doubt that the same is true for many other expert players.

    I would guess that you can alternate pick power chords with increasing accuracy and good results with lots of practice, starting with a soft hand and not digging in too deep.

    Just watched Kenny Wayne Shepherd on Direct TV Sessions and he does some serious guitar playing, one of his inspirations being SRV and a lot of the old blues greats. In fact he mentions that when he was 13 a fairly big blues star let him sit in on stage for his first stage performance and that he played with a lot of semi famous and famous blues players, including some of the surviving members of some of the greatest old school American blues players. A great performance if you can still catch it on channel 101 on Direct TV. It was really fun watching him play, you can really see his influences coming thru. "Blue on Black" is really a cool song.

    My first guitar teacher, that I eventually fired, never even taught me any alternate picking. My next teacher said he couldn't have been much of a teacher. Since then I have been working on my alternate picking whenever I can and it definitely saves energy.

  14. #14
    Displaced Texan bcdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    1,528

    Default

    Thanks, Duffy. I played a little bit this morning trying to use a soft pick and not digging in too much and it is much easier. I'll keep chugging along with that technique (poor pun intended). :-)

  15. #15

    Default

    Actually, I'll often play blues shuffles (the ones with power chords and hammer-ons) with alternate picking. Just works out easier for me.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, modded Squier '51, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Boss DD-6 Digital Delay, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  16. #16
    Regular Fretter
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    East Lansing, MI
    Posts
    34

    Default

    There isn't really any special trick to making it work. Just a lot of repitition. I wouldn't be surprised though if many of the things that you think need to be alt picked powerchords are actually alt picked muted single note rhythms that are tabbed incorrectly as powerchords. Thats assuming you're reading from tab. I'm not great at it, but its very doable, just keep on keepin' on! It'll come eventually. I've never really thought about it too much to be honest.

  17. #17
    Displaced Texan bcdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    1,528

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by groverj3 View Post
    There isn't really any special trick to making it work. Just a lot of repitition. I wouldn't be surprised though if many of the things that you think need to be alt picked powerchords are actually alt picked muted single note rhythms that are tabbed incorrectly as powerchords. Thats assuming you're reading from tab. I'm not great at it, but its very doable, just keep on keepin' on! It'll come eventually. I've never really thought about it too much to be honest.
    Thanks, groverj3! Just like I thought, practice. What I'm working on really are powerchords, there is no indication that they should be alt-picked, but I was thinking to go really fast they might need to be.

  18. #18
    Regular Fretter
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    East Lansing, MI
    Posts
    34

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bcdon View Post
    Thanks, groverj3! Just like I thought, practice. What I'm working on really are powerchords, there is no indication that they should be alt-picked, but I was thinking to go really fast they might need to be.
    I'm assuming you're talking about palm muting while picking them, right? If so, maybe trying not to tighten the muscles in your hand while playing as much. Keeping your picking hand loose and avoiding a death grip on your pick can help when trying to play anything fast. That, or maybe applying less pressure against the strings while muting too. In any case, keep on rocking .

  19. #19
    Displaced Texan bcdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    1,528

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by groverj3 View Post
    I'm assuming you're talking about palm muting while picking them, right? If so, maybe trying not to tighten the muscles in your hand while playing as much. Keeping your picking hand loose and avoiding a death grip on your pick can help when trying to play anything fast. That, or maybe applying less pressure against the strings while muting too. In any case, keep on rocking .
    Yep, they are palm mutted. And I do need to watch myself with the Vulcan-deathgrip on the pick. Great advise, thanks again!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •