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Paul Gilbert picking technique question

Grun

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,094
Anyone know why Paul Gilbert starts many of his runs with an upstroke even when its on the one? He will follow with two downstrokes. He emphasizes using what seem to be awkward combinations of up/down stroke. I was taught to alternate pick or at least down on the beats and up on the 'ands'. What am I missing? Thanks.

Here is an example:

 

vintagelove

Member
Messages
2,639
I used to start on upstrokes on 3NPS patterns. I abandoned that approach because patterns are only 1/10 of the battle.

Ideally, you can start on any direction and go anywhere. Honestly, picking a Bach invention will do far more for your ability than exercises or easy patterns.
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,301
Anyone know why Paul Gilbert starts many of his runs with an upstroke even when its on the one? He will follow with two downstrokes. He emphasizes using what seem to be awkward combinations of up/down stroke. I was taught to alternate pick or at least down on the beats and up on the 'ands'. What am I missing? Thanks.

Here is an example:

It isn't very typical for him to start on upstrokes, I think it's more because of the mechanics of that particular phrese, he is a pretty strick alternate picker and what he does here still follows that actually.
Imagine picking everything and just "delete" the pickstrokes where he pulls or hammer yet still follow the pattern of strick alternate, then it all makes sense. :)
And it isn't awkward anymore.
 

Richard Elg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
81
Paul, and many other players prefer "outside picking " to "inside picking ". It means when he changes to a lower string he likes to go from an upstroke to a downstroke, and vice-versa if he's changing to a higher string. This keeps the pick outside of the strings and is generally more comfortable for most players. Inside picking feels like the pick is trapped between the two strings.

When you are doing a lick with hammer-ons and pull-offs, you have time to really use whatever pick stroke you like.
 

alfaphlex

Member
Messages
234
Paul, and many other players prefer "outside picking " to "inside picking ".
I never really thought about it as outside/inside picking, but this makes sense for me. I generally find it more comfortable to to start picking in the direction I'm moving.

Where I 1st noticed this was after watching a play-in-the-style-of vid on EJ (I think Andy Wood). Apparently the way most people play his descending 5 note pentatonic lick is by going d,u,d,u,d and economy pick d to repeat.

I thought to myself, "I do that all the time, no prob" and then got stuck. That's when I realized I always start descending on an upstroke, so for me it's u,d,u,d,u, then I go d,u,u,d,u and repeat that.

So most people economy pick the 1 note on the repeating pattern, I economy pick the 2nd. I practice it the other way as an exercise and can do either at speed, but I'm still more comfortable starting on an upstroke.

Also, if anyone wants to get better at starting w/ an upstroke and string skipping, learn the intro to Fuzz Universe. The first 4 bars naturally make you want to start with an upstroke on the beat 1.
 
Last edited:

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,757
.

This is a great series on picking technique -- it's also entertaining as a historical documentary


Pebber Brown has a couple of series on picking techniques. One of his notable students is Buckethead. If the video looks blocked, it's because he cusses a bit here and there, not a teacher for kids, lol. Just open it up in its own window.

.
 

thumperjack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
712
same reason gene hooglan leads kick singles with his left foot. upstroke is the weakest link, if you lead with the weakest link and develop the rest trailing behind the weaker capability, you'll never have a weak link poking out or dragging behind
 
Messages
1,050
Anyone know why Paul Gilbert starts many of his runs with an upstroke even when its on the one?
He's got a story about teaching himself from zero on an acoustic and using upstrokes exclusively. Later a teacher showed him downstrokes were possible. One version here (Andertons).

My theory is upstrokes are his mother tongue, starting a phrase up is more natural for him than most people.
 

Grun

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,094
He's got a story about teaching himself from zero on an acoustic and using upstrokes exclusively. Later a teacher showed him downstrokes were possible. One version here (Andertons).

My theory is upstrokes are his mother tongue, starting a phrase up is more natural for him than most people.
I suspect this is it. He relates a similar anecdote early on in his Artistworks series. He definitely favors the upstroke. My natural inclination is for downstrokes. I've seen many comments on this topic on his Artistworks lesson site. I questioned him directly there on his forum. He got right back to me:) Unfortunately he did not really answer. He requested that I send him a video so he could analyze my playing. Which is kind of an answer.
 

fatbagg

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,055
As a kid paul would play through his chords and arpeggios using up picking, just a comfort for him at the time. He later had to go back and work on correcting that, but it still shows and has played into part of his uniqueness.
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,267
It literally is a matter of clearing the string and articulation.
And whether a phrase starts on a strong or weak rhythmic slot is less important than the pull off starting with a down stroke.
It can be practiced by going...

E--8
B----11-10-9-8
G------------------10-9-8-7
D------------------------------10-9-8-7--

Straight up 16th....
U
D p d p
D p d p
D p d p

For extra articulation milage alternate pick or use hammer on from now where on the pull off.
 

jackaroo

Member
Messages
5,010
@Ed DeGenaro

Can you please eleborate?

In the first example...where are the pickstrokes and what are their directions?

Always looking for a good exercise!

thnx,

j
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,267
Duh!

I thought that it was for something else. So stupid of me!
You found them, good.
It came from Randy Vincent who slides or hammer/pulls from the upbeats ton strong beats.
I had the hardest time doing that until i divorced my pick strokes from down being locked to string beat and flipping them.
This came by way of Benson as much as logic. Since on triplet stuff the strong to down stroke link swaps every 3 notes.
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,267
Regarding the guys that talk about economy picking in the above PG video it certainly is not.
His picking pattern is actually strict alter nate picking with the hammered/pulled notes accounted. Just that it starts on an upstroke...
U d p d u h
U d p d u h
U d p d
If you replace the pull off with an upstroke and the hammer with a down stroke it becomes strict alternate picking started on the up.
Lots of Gilbert picking patterns are based on the continued up/down pattern without actually picking everything.
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,732
A beneficial thing to do is flip your picking so you're forcing yourself out of a pattern of comfort - the starting point in alternate picking would be opposite so you have to accent with the up stroke if you typically do this with the down stroke.
I've found it as a benefit anyway.

Perhaps it makes sense for something later on the pattern?
Even the intro to sweet child of mine - start on the up stroke because you need it for outside picking later on in that little etude thing.
 




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