First you should read this alternate picking article if you didn’t already.
Now I am going to show some very useful exercises that i still practice and that will increase your speed quickly if you devote to them at least 15 minutes a day.
For this alternate picking exercises you will need a metronome. When learning a new technique it is very important that you make the habit of practicing with a click because It will develop your sense of beat.
How to practice these alternate picking exercises :
1. You select a note value
2. Practice it on all strings.
3. When your just starting out with this technique you should focus on your picking hand so either play open strings or you fret hand mute them. That is the purpose of these alternate picking exercises, to isolate your picking hand and train it individually.
4. Play 10 measures in which you have to play them perfectly. If you mess up start counting from 1 again. This will be annoying but believe me with discipline in your practicing your results will surprise you BIG TIME.
5. Play a runs of the exercise starting with an down stroke, then do the same exercise starting with an up stroke. This way you will not be dependent on only one pattern of picking the notes and you will remove the inconvenience that many guitarists have when facing new picking patterns. This alternate picking exercises also focus on this aspect
1. 8th notes
and know the same exercise starting with an up stroke
As you see this I placed the picking after each note. Do this exercise 10 times starting with a down stroke, and 10 times starting with an upstroke. The next exercises are variations of this one.
This one is a little tricky because when moving from one string to another you will also have to change the stroke direction. I also want you to start s series of 10 with a down stroke, then do another series starting with an upstroke. Triplets are very useful when it comes to learning the alternate picking technique because it forces you to alternate the picking direction often.
3. 16th notes
When practiced at high speed this is also called tremolo picking. I am sure that you heard of this term and it used mainly in metal and heavy music in general. Also practicing them starting with an up stroke.
You can do the same thing with 5, 6, 7 or even 8 notes per BPM and per string, the sky is the limit.
Alternate Picking Exercises Conclusion
Alternate picking is one of the most used techniques by guitarists no matter what genre of music they play. Practicing it takes time but if you practice these exercises each day and you use a metronome you will see results very soon. Just choose only one note value per day and practice it 15 minutes. You must select a bpm that allows you to pick cleanly and effortlessly. In my opinion developing picking hand speed is much more rapid and lasting then fret hand speed.
In the end i would like to wish you all the best with your alternate picking exercises practice and i hope that you enjoyed them .