Picking secuence (on riffs)

In a scale of 1 to 10, how important is to pick the strings always the same way (up or down)? I struggle on this and when playing a blues riff i sometimes pick one soecific string up and next time i pick it down. I think its definitely better to do it the same every time but i am not sure how important is to do it like this and is going to take at least double the time to learn the riffs, so is it necessary to master a riff?

Welcome David!

you talking chords or notes/lead?

I stopped thinking about picking direction ages ago. My fingers just seem to do what works for them (and sometimes doesn’t work!). I probably don’t have the most efficient picking technique, but I don’t aspire to play very fast anyway.


My opinion? 1-2/10.
Might get a slightly different sound here and there, depending on the song, but in the end I think doing what feels most natural, and what serves the piece is best - assuming your actual technique is solid.



Agree with above comments. I also tend to go with what feels right to me for the specific song or what is easiest/most efficient. Sometimes it could be useful to use consistent up/down strum or alternate picking for maintaining rhythm but otherwise… :man_shrugging:
In terms of doing the same thing each time (whatever you decide on doing) then I kinda feel that maybe important, at least earlier on in the journey, as I do find I can get a bit lost in a song if I randomly change direction on a string or end up with the pick in a bad spot on a certain transition between strings making it harder, especially if it’s a faster riff (i.e. I have picked downwards on say the B/2nd string then need to hit the D/4th string next that makes the transition longer/harder than if I had gone up on the B, if that makes sense?). Not always possible to be efficient like this I guess but worth keeping in mind perhaps.

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Hi Rob. Lead

Ah probably doesnt make a heap of difference then, you can introduce difference if you want

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Thanks for the help :blush:

up if your going to an above string next, down if your going to a string below. up/downs if your staying on same string. its really intuitive, do what feels best and gets you there faster.


Hello @Davidpe and welcome to the community.

For your first learning in picking individual strings Justin teaches all down picking.
But, once comfortable, he introduces and emphasises the importance of learning strict alternate picking. Alternate picking is how you should discipline yourself to play scales, arpeggios, lead etc.
Once you have mastered the technique you can transcend the technique and move to economy picking - picking in the direction of your next note / string.

What stage of learning are you at?
Have you learned through Justin’s courses so far?

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Hi Richard. i am learning with Justin mostly, and i noticed how much he insist on having a constant picking order so my question came from there as i was learning the riffs but not paying to much attention to that part of the video and then i found myself picking the wrong string, so i understand that is important in my level but then watching economy picking i saw that doesn´t follow the order Justin explains so thats why i wanted to know your opinions. its been really helpful .

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