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Thread: Alternate picking and the rest stroke

  1. #1
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Alternate picking and the rest stroke

    Has any 1 utilized the rest stroke with alternate picking? In Flamenco and classical the picking hand rests the finger on the adjacent string going in a motion toward the low E string. I just thought about it and am going to start a week long committment to see if this idea helps my picking wrist in some weak areas by appliyng it to alternate picking exercises.

    I think this concept can be applied to alternate picking by simply practicing with deliberate strokes and resting the pick on the adjacent string. During the practice the stroke is somewhat exaggerated by gently pushing on and resting on the adjacent string. This can also be practiced with SWEEP picking.

    In order to alternate pick with this concept, you will find a constant need to jump over the string you are now resting against in order to get the next note if it is on a string requiring you to alternate pick to the next note.

    An example would be like this..
    You pick the A string and rest on the D string. Now if you need to play a note on the low E string you have to jump over the string you just picked by physically thinking about it.

    Trying carefully NOT to hit the A string on your way over to E is where you are forced to use muscles in your wrist to get the minte upward motion needed to get over the strig you want to skip. Using a metronome is important to keep the rhythm steady.

    I tried it for about 15 minutes and my wrist started to feel like it was using muscle groups in different ways. You can just slow down a bit if it starts to freeze up from not being in muscle memory yet.

    Here is a link to a short clip I did to demonstrate. You can see the adjacent string move a little each time I rest against it with the pick. On the end strings just make the stroke more controlled like normally would so you can switch directions..

    Here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPSE6S9KAQ0
    Last edited by joeyd929; 12-28-2007 at 12:19 AM. Reason: better wording needed..

  2. #2
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    I dabble with this method every now and again. To me, the obvious advantage is that the picking hand is no longer responsible for stopping its own momentum. In theory, the player should see an increase in comfort and stamina.

    The counter-argument to this method is that economy of motion is thrown out the window. The pick strokes are, in most cases, too broad. Any advantage gained is offset by the additional distance the pick must now cover to compensate for the broader stroke.

    I also find that groove is adversely affected by the halting of the natural, pendular motion.

    The exception, as you mentioned, is in sweep picking. Since the pick will generally be crossing the strings in a linear fashion and with a constant motion, the rest stroke serves as a great aid in establshing the technique at lower tempos.

  3. #3
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magpie74
    I dabble with this method every now and again. To me, the obvious advantage is that the picking hand is no longer responsible for stopping its own momentum. In theory, the player should see an increase in comfort and stamina.

    The counter-argument to this method is that economy of motion is thrown out the window. The pick strokes are, in most cases, too broad. Any advantage gained is offset by the additional distance the pick must now cover to compensate for the broader stroke.

    I also find that groove is adversely affected by the halting of the natural, pendular motion.

    The exception, as you mentioned, is in sweep picking. Since the pick will generally be crossing the strings in a linear fashion and with a constant motion, the rest stroke serves as a great aid in establshing the technique at lower tempos.
    True about the counter argument but this is really only an exercise to increase comfort and stamina, as you stated in the first paragraph.. For me, it seems to strengthen my wrist muscles because my biggest problem is hitting the string I am trying to skip over. This method of practice forces me to lift my wrist high enough over the string I am skipping.

    I am still in two minds about weather or not to switch over to all sweep because if you master sweep picking you can really make it sound like straight ahead alternate picking if you are deliberate with every stroke.

    Eric Johnson and Steve Morse seem to have mastered the art of alternate picking arpeggios whereas Frank Gambale pretty much strictly uses sweep but he sounds very smooth.

    Overall this is probably a better workout for sweep style but definitely good for improving alternate picking..
    Last edited by joeyd929; 12-28-2007 at 03:21 AM.

  4. #4
    I am not very nice DemonSorcerer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyd929
    Has any 1 utilized the rest stroke with alternate picking? In Flamenco and classical the picking hand rests the finger on the adjacent string going in a motion toward the low E string. I just thought about it and am going to start a week long committment to see if this idea helps my picking wrist in some weak areas by appliyng it to alternate picking exercises.

    I think this concept can be applied to alternate picking by simply practicing with deliberate strokes and resting the pick on the adjacent string. During the practice the stroke is somewhat exaggerated by gently pushing on and resting on the adjacent string. This can also be practiced with SWEEP picking.

    In order to alternate pick with this concept, you will find a constant need to jump over the string you are now resting against in order to get the next note if it is on a string requiring you to alternate pick to the next note.

    An example would be like this..
    You pick the A string and rest on the D string. Now if you need to play a note on the low E string you have to jump over the string you just picked by physically thinking about it.

    Trying carefully NOT to hit the A string on your way over to E is where you are forced to use muscles in your wrist to get the minte upward motion needed to get over the strig you want to skip. Using a metronome is important to keep the rhythm steady.

    I tried it for about 15 minutes and my wrist started to feel like it was using muscle groups in different ways. You can just slow down a bit if it starts to freeze up from not being in muscle memory yet.

    Here is a link to a short clip I did to demonstrate. You can see the adjacent string move a little each time I rest against it with the pick. On the end strings just make the stroke more controlled like normally would so you can switch directions..

    Here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPSE6S9KAQ0
    I saw your A string example and found it to be a lil nonsense...specially if you have to jump back to the 6th string...think about it, if you don´t rest the pick but instead leave it in between the 2 strings, you´ll have to jump ths string, al right, but the distance from the D to the 6th string will be shorter...in other words...if you´re looking for economy of motion and movement, why rest the pick??

    David
    Creativity without strategy is always annoying...Strategy wthout creativity is always mute.

  5. #5
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Missing the point

    Quote Originally Posted by DemonSorcerer
    I saw your A string example and found it to be a lil nonsense...specially if you have to jump back to the 6th string...think about it, if you don´t rest the pick but instead leave it in between the 2 strings, you´ll have to jump ths string, al right, but the distance from the D to the 6th string will be shorter...in other words...if you´re looking for economy of motion and movement, why rest the pick??

    David
    You are missing the point entirely.. This is an exercise to strengthen any weakness in the string skipping part of picking. In and of itself it is not practical.

    One mans treasure is another mans trash I guess...

  6. #6
    Registered User elmariachi's Avatar
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    I thought this was gonna be a thread on rest stroke with the fingers!! lol. Never heard of it being done with a pick before. I think i understand what you are trying to achieve here. (i may be wrong) Stetina recommends this approach to all exercises or songs you are learning. Its all about exaggerating the difficulty so that the original movement wil be easier once one has practice an exaggerated version of it.

    Is this the idea??

  7. #7
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Correct

    Quote Originally Posted by elmariachi
    I thought this was gonna be a thread on rest stroke with the fingers!! lol. Never heard of it being done with a pick before. I think i understand what you are trying to achieve here. (i may be wrong) Stetina recommends this approach to all exercises or songs you are learning. Its all about exaggerating the difficulty so that the original movement wil be easier once one has practice an exaggerated version of it.

    Is this the idea??
    YES, EXACTLY.

  8. #8
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    Rest strokes are one of the foundation techniques of bluegrass flatpicking.

    See heah:
    http://www.flatpick.com/Pages/FAQ/rest_stroke.html

  9. #9
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderdog
    Rest strokes are one of the foundation techniques of bluegrass flatpicking.

    See heah:
    http://www.flatpick.com/Pages/FAQ/rest_stroke.html
    Is bluegrass flatpicking strictly alternate picking?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyd929
    Is bluegrass flatpicking strictly alternate picking?
    Normally, yes. There are individual guitarists who are exceptions (notably Tony Rice, who economy picks), but alternate picking is the rule.

    Rest strokes are used for emphasis, e.g. the bass notes when playing rhythm or notes that you really want to pop out. And there are instances where many people break the normal alternate-picking scheme by playing all downstrokes using rest strokes, e.g. the Lester Flatt G-Run, which is the cliché bluegrass lick.

    I think in the example you gave (pick the A string and then low E), not many would use a rest stroke. Economy of motion says, why rest on the D string?

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