Alternate Picking C Major

Mastered and memorized the C major scale? Let's check out some alternate picking!

View the full lesson at Alternate Picking C Major | JustinGuitar

Took me a while to get this. I found I was essentially doing economy picking. If my last pick on the B string was a down pick I would continue with a down pick to the E string. While not alternate picking, it seems more correct than to pass over the string to come back. Thoughts?

Hello @timjthomas and welcome to the community. There are reasons Justin teaches alternate as the first, default, standard method of learning to pick single notes. Economy picking becomes a subsequent and conscious choice of moving away from convention for specific reasons or just by natural feel. Get the fundamental skill learned methodically rather than just having an instinctual style.

Cheers :blush:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

If I make a mistake in the middle of picking a major scale, should I start over from the beginning or correct the mistake and keep going? I keep thinking of that “perfect practice makes permanent” quote and thought I’d start back at the beginning. But what I found was that I got disproportionally good at part of the practice and only marginally better in the area I was having trouble with. So, I thought maybe I should focus on that troublesome bit specifically. I figure it will probably even-out over the course of my guitar learning but figured I’d ask in case the way definitely one way that was recommended. Not necessarily a question specific to this lesson, but I thought about it more during this lesson than I had in previous lessons.

Welcome to the community JohnPaul @NightCheese79
Once you have identified a mistake you need to do what ever
it takes to fix it.
If that means practicing just the part of the scale where you go wrong then that’s what you need to do.
It’s also important to practice the whole scale very slow with no
A good piece of advice I received when playing in a band was
Don’t practice something until you can play it right
Practice it until you can’t play it wrong.


Hello @NightCheese79 and welcome to the community.

Perfect practice makes perfect.
Practice makes permanent.
Also - practice what you can’t do, not what you can.

With a song, if there is a tricky bit that needs a lot of attention to learn properly without mistakes, you practice that section repeatedly without always going back to the beginning of the song.
It is the same with a scale. Start from the string sets you are finding tricky, for a little while. And do it slow. Justin’s recommendation is that you should be able to play a full scale from lowest root note, to highest pattern note, down to lowest pattern note and round again three times with no mistakes.

Cheers :blush:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

Feel free to pop in to the Community Hub and introduce yourself there. Community Hub - JustinGuitar Community


I’ve been doing what you call economy picking (didn’t even know it had a name) as it just feels natural (and economical) to pick that way.

Now I have to consciously learn to do alternate picking and it is tripping me up. So have to do it slowly.

I recorded a video of myself doing this and didn’t want to say “down up down up” on the video as I thought it will sound goofy and tried saying it in my mind… but not saying it out loud was tripping me up.

I think I will have to say “down up down up” out loud for some time to get it right. Day 334: What Am I Doing Today: C Major Scale - YouTube


Hi Mangesh

Good and steady there. Have you recorded all 334 days of progress ? We have a section specifically for that style of post

Feel free to populate.



1 Like

Hello @gmangesh welcome to the Community.
If that is your habit - recording a daily practice - then I say wow, that is amazing.
As Toby suggests, I would recommend you pst such videos in the Learning Log section. Not every day perhaps as that is overkill and people won’t have time to keep up and help out if you want critique. But periodically for sure.

Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

There are so many reasons why strict alternate picking is preferable to economy picking. One of my favorites is that it helps your timing. Just as your hand should keep moving for strumming, keeping a metronomic rhythm, the same can be said for single note picking.

Thanks DA, I knew Justin would have good reasons for insisting on learning strict alternate picking. Will keep at it. :+1:

Thanks for the pointer Toby. I haven’t explored this forum structure so wasn’t aware of the “Learning Log” area… will open a thread there.
And no, I haven’t recorded even close to all 334 days. But I want to get to a “daily” log video just so I can look back it it some day.

1 Like

I can’t use a pick so I downstrum with my thumb and upstrum with my index finger. How should I be doing the upstrums for this exercise?