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Improv and alternating

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Tupac, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Whenever I improvise things or just play a song for the first time, I always resort to a sloppy raking/alternating hybrid. Is there any tips for getting good enough at it to be able to do it strictly and on the fly? I've been alternating for almost a year now.
  2. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    I assume you mean you want to alternate strictly M-I-M-I...

    Does what you are doing now sound bad? is it causing you problems?

    Raking often sounds better than alternating anyway - and in any case, the most important thing is the rhythmic feel of the song, which might sound better if you don't strictly alternate.

    So you might start out playing a song with the easiest fingering, and then start working out finger patterns that sound better - and at no point find that you're doing strict alternating. That's perfectly reasonable.
  3. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Raking is the most economical way to play the next string up. Keep doing it, try and get a consistent tone/output.
  4. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    Just do scales and string skipping excercises while maintaining a steady alternate picking pattern.

    Start slow as usual and gradually speed up. Look for kinks in your playing and make those your focus next practice. If your going, M-I-M-I, make sure to practice going I-M-I-M.

    I am a hybrid picker. Raking just comes more naturally, but I do use alternate picking pretty regularly. You'll find places in your songs that require alternating. That's when being able to count your index as 'one' comes in handy. You could tryo looking up some rudiments that drummers use and apply that to your middle and index fingers. Then try to work that ring finger in there too.
  5. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    There is nothing wrong with using a mix of both techniques - I think you'll find most players do that.

    It only becomes an issue if you're having tonal problems - in which case I'd say just go back to basics and repeat, repeat, repeat until it becomes second nature. Learning a new technique takes longer if you have to unlearn another one.
  6. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I find that I actually don't think about it too much. My plucking fingers kinda do their thing automatically. When I have thought about it I've noticed that I mix it up some. But, on parts like straight eight notes on one note (like ZZ Top) it's probably best to pick a finger to always lead with.
  7. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Aug 23, 2011
    keep rakin man....Up to a certain speed I'll use only 1 finger. Some parts at faster paces (especially when its a string a triplets with random eigths thrown in) I'll hit three or four notes in a row with the same finger. It's all about making it sound good. I stopped focusing so much on my right hand and more on my left.
  8. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Bajo Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Wait until Jimmy gets here.
  9. Who opened the can of worms?