Articles, Blog

Economy Picking Lesson | World’s Fastest Guitar Technique?

February 20, 2020

What’s up YouTube community, Bernth here – welcome back to another video lesson! This week we finally tackle the much
requested topic of economy picking! You guys wrote me a lot of requests for
this technique after I brought it up in the four techniques you need to play
fast video a couple of months ago – there we only discussed one economy picking
lick and I quickly compared it to alternate picking so there is still a
lot to talk about and right now I’d like to focus on where to get started with
this technique – for this week’s practical example I prepared a really cool
pentatonic two note per string lick that is descending chromatically and it
serves as a pretty good introduction to economy picking since it’s pretty hard
to perform very fast if alternate picking – so economy picking really helps you with licks like that and the two note per string approaches where we get started with this video – some players see
economy peaking as a super fast technique that offers a lot of creative
possibilities but other players dismiss it as cheating and as a cheap trick – so
let’s see this picking style in detail in this week’s practical example and
decide for ourselves! So for this quick demonstration I was
playing a basic pentatonic style lick that was descending chromatically… so the same lick repeated in different
positions – we want to keep it simple this week for our left hand since we need all
our brain power for the right one – you can find the tabs, guitar pro files and
the practice backing track on my Patreon page – I also made sure to write down even more economy picking exercises in
the files for this lesson so that all my shred guitar community members get a
head start into learning this technique So head over to my Patreon page right
now get all the files and start practicing to the backing track that I
uploaded – so for the first example I was playing… …and so on and that
can be quite challenging because I have to
switch between two different strings and that is quite difficult as soon as it
gets a bit faster… it’s still possible to play around this
tempo, especially with this kind of picking angle that we are already
discussed – for this lick I want my pick to point away from the
guitar like that so I don’t get stuck between the strings – if I would pick an
angle like that I’d be stuck right here between the B and G string and I will
have to jump over the string to perform the next downstroke and upstroke so if you
attempt to play this with alternate picking go for this kind of angle so
your pick can escape from the strings after the upstroke – not like that, over
exaggerated But when I play it that fast I can’t
really say that my right hand is relaxed… To avoid all those string transitions
with our right hand somebody had the amazing idea to combine alternate
picking with sweep picking – so for sweep picking we essentially have this kind of
movement where we don’t pick every single individual string, it’s more like
arpeggiating a chord… So when I play an arpeggio with sweep
picking it would sound something like that… So I would never be able to achieve the
sound with alternate picking or only downstrokes, it will be just like playing
a chord with individual picking strokes… So when we combine that concept with
alternate picking for those two note per string phrases we could play… …and so on – and for the up strokes and down strokes that are happening in a row
I want to stay in this sweep picking mindset so I’m playing… and after this
first upstroke the second upstroke falls in a sweeping motion so I don’t pick
them individually… I stay in this sweep picking mindset with
my right hand, it’s just one connected stroke that is gliding or sweeping
across the strings – and the same goes for the down strokes too of course… …as you can see here I’m also
sweeping I’m not playing individual down strokes, it’s just one movement so… and once you speed it up it starts to
sound like that… So immediately you can see the biggest
benefit from this technique – my right hand is very relaxed when we compare it
to alternate picking my hand has to work much harder and it’s also difficult to
perform the string transitions for me since I’m only playing two notes per
string – I’m much more comfortable with three notes per string as you might know… But one of the downsides and big
challenges with economy picking for me personally is nailing the timing correctly -with alternate picking it’s a bit easier for me to really nail the
timing in the studio because I’m in the mindset of down stroke up stroke down
stroke up stroke all the time and can really focus on hitting the quarter
notes that the click is counting from me With the economy picking timing can be
very confusing when you start out… kinda seems counterintuitive when you
play it slow… It’s much easier with alternate picking
but as soon as you speed it up the string transitions are much easier
with the sweep picking aspect in there… …so it really starts making sense as soon as you start speeding things up – another
misconception that I often use that you have to use legato techniques like
hammer-ons and pull-offs when you want to play alternate picking licks with
economy picking – but I hope I could clear that one up with the practical example
for this week – as you see every single note is picked, the downstrokes and
upstrokes are simply placed in a different way – so if you’ve never worked
with economy picking before and it sounds interesting for you and you want
to learn it just keep it small and pick one position of the exercise playing… …for example here in the A minor
pentatonic scale box and play… and so on and pay really close attention
to not separating those two upstrokes they are not played separately, they are
completely connected, it’s the same motion just like when you’re sweep
picking and that also goes for the downstrokes of course – so for starters you can just work on this phrase…
to get a feeling for the technique before you start with the repeating
pattern… and as we said timing is actually the
hardest factor right here so please start slow and focus on playing clean
and tight! That’s it for this week’s small
introduction to economy picking, please let me know if this topic is interesting
for you and if you’d like to see more lessons and more licks concerning that – I
am by no means an expert when it comes to economy picking but I find myself
using this technique more and more over the years so I really recommend checking
it out – please don’t dismiss it as a cheap trick or anything like that, there
are a lot of creative possibilities right here since you’re distributing
you’re up and down strokes differently you might come up with some really cool
licks that way – in the end make sure to subscribe to join this community so you’ll
never miss a lesson video again, leave a like if you enjoyed the lesson or if you
learn something new that always means a lot to me or a comment in case you have
any questions about economy picking, I try to answer as many as I can – remember
to get all your lesson files for this week on Patreon if you’re already a
member, I will see you next week all the best until then and have fun practicing!


  • Reply Bernth Brodträger February 15, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    Today we check out economy picking – is it really the world's fastest guitar technique or just a cheap trick or shortcut to speed? As always we check out the biggest benefits, advantages and disadvantages and after this video you can decide if you want to use this technique yourself. 🙂
    The tabs, guitar pro files and practice backing tracks are online on my Patreon page:

  • Reply SickoMoe February 15, 2020 at 5:01 pm


  • Reply Planeta Kanassa February 15, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    My Saturdays are always better with this videos! Thanks Bernth!

  • Reply 97 Stratocaster February 15, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    And just when I thought I was going to have a mellow, lazy weekend……along comes Bernth with something new and practical to learn.

    As always, thank you sir.

  • Reply David Oliveira February 15, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Come to Brazil

  • Reply Hetriani February 15, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    Again, amazing job with this lesson man…you are a wealth of knowledge thanks for taking the time to make these videos! Much respect!

  • Reply Mohit Choudhari February 15, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    thanks birnth!

  • Reply Christoph Selucky February 15, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Hi. Your way of showing the same thing with different techniques is really very impressive…

  • Reply Music. February 15, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    It's best to
    Learn both ways .

  • Reply Никита Иванов February 15, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks! I thought that it works with 3 notes per string patterns. Very interesting;)

  • Reply Renato Machado February 15, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Randy umds

  • Reply Rob Leroux February 15, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    This looks like it might be fun to try with "spirit of radio" beginning from Rush….or a complete pain in the ass lol

  • Reply Michael Iadevaio February 15, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    Your awesome Bernth🤘🏻🤘🏻

  • Reply Paul King February 15, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    Economy picking just feels so natural to me.

  • Reply anuraj Lepcha February 16, 2020 at 3:54 am


  • Reply Furryz February 16, 2020 at 4:30 am

    Great stuff Bernth your channel is vey good compared to most I see on YouTube so Best of luck…I never thought of economy picking as cheating I learned the technique right from Frank Gambale at a very young age here in the states so it’s second nature to me and I’m most comfortable with it for most scenarios although I have met guitar purists who do feel it’s cheating which is interesting since sweeping is acceptable to them, even Eddie VanHalen believed his tapping was cheating so often he would turn his back on his audience so he wouldn’t be judged by other players and after his fame you couldn’t find a player who wasn’t tapping or using a vibrato bar, so in my opinion one should learn every style they can and use them as tools to achieve various textures, speeds or phrases that may otherwise be “unplayable” even after hours or days with the metronome, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a great lick or run in your head and not being able to play it due to lack of technical proficiency.

  • Reply Tony Powell February 16, 2020 at 6:29 am

    Funny how some people think a technique is cheating.

  • Reply Kohav Buskila February 16, 2020 at 7:04 am

    Could you tell me in which video you touch on the picking angle?

  • Reply DJ Schmolli February 16, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Guada Typ dieser Bernth! ❤️

  • Reply Deepu Entertainment February 16, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Namaste 🙏🙏🙏master 💓💓🙌🙌🙌🙌

  • Reply Neth BT February 16, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Cross string Alternate picking just requires more hours of practice and I don't think it's worth it so for every guitar beginners they can totally skip it. Economy picking is the technique to learn

  • Reply Maxime Jerjise February 16, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    You keep saving my life, thank you so much

  • Reply avenged_ markus February 16, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Awesome timing. I was beginnig to learn this technique just a few days ago and BOOM here you come with a lesson. THX

  • Reply Foxy zorritoplayer February 17, 2020 at 12:33 am

    Omg just found this account, this is gold

  • Reply Sean Miller February 17, 2020 at 2:21 am

    What do you do to not get so much noise from the attack of the pick? Some call it the chirp. I am trying to clean up my playing and I am having problems with this. Thanks Bernth.

  • Reply todd plymale February 17, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Bernth, As always I love your lesson, there is always something new to learn for me! It's great to see how you breakdown and dissect each lesson in a way that's easier to understand, just what is really going on!
    Just from watching your channel over the past five months, I already can see improvement in my playing! Plus I've been trying to extending my practicing time, because I have so much new material to memorize, between you and other guitar lesson channel that I watch! Like Uptempo Lessons, Steve Stine, and some others.! I'm sorry that I haven't been totally faithful to you but I'm trying to learn as much as I can, because time is of the essence for me!
    Thank you for a great lesson !
    I'll see you next time.
    Todd P./USA

  • Reply Tombledore February 20, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for this lesson! Economy picking has been my go to for a year now since its way more flued technique than alternating everything. Btw short review on your shredding course. Im currently on arpeggios part and its so well put down. I highly recommend your course to anyone from beginner to more advanced since you have covered it all. Personally cause i'm mainly rhythm player and singer i loved the first parts, so i understood how to divide hard sections for smaller parts in certain songs. And now im in time with our drummer! Your course has concepts that you can spend years to practise and still with your explaining get the basics quite easily. I can finally PLAY atleast some of the music that I have listened and sang for my life. Thanks Bernth!

  • Leave a Reply