Economy picking

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Economy picking is a guitar picking technique designed to maximize picking efficiency by combining alternate picking and sweep picking. Specifically:

  • When picking multiple notes on a string, alternate picking (alternating between down-strokes and upstrokes) is used.
  • When changing to a new string, sweep picking (picking in the direction of travel: down-stroke if moving down or upstroke when moving up) is used.

Rationale[edit]

This minimizes movement in the picking hand, and avoids the motion of "jumping" over a string prior to picking it, as often occurs in alternate-picking when changing strings. Thus the picking pattern of an ascending three-note-per-string scale would be: D-U-D-D-U-D-D-U-D, and the descending pattern would start just like alternate picking (up stroke first): U-D-U-U-D-U-U-D-U.

Pickers[edit]

Gypsy picking[edit]

The picking technique of gypsy jazz has been described[2] as similar to economy picking, but with the further requirement that the when pattern switches from string to string in either direction, a rest stroke is performed.

For example, on switching from the G to the B string, the plectrum moves in the same direction and comes to rest on the E string. However, on switching from the B to the G string, the plectrum moves upward and executes a down stroke on the G string, again coming to rest on the B string. This technique was employed by gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and has been preserved his successors. However, he did not invent it. He may have learned it from other gypsy players, of whom two of his chief influences were banjoist Gusti Mahla and guitarist Jean "Poulette" Castro.[3] However, this technique was commonly taught in numerous guitar methods in the early twentieth century and was employed by American jazz banjo players.[2]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]