A couple of questions.
When alternate picking notes does the up/down pattern generally hold? I find it relatively easy to hold the pattern doing a scale on one string but when I have to pick a note on a new string the urge is to repeat the pick direction used on the old string. ie: D/U (change string) U/D
And, any reasoning behind starting with D or U ?
Yes eventually it will slow you down if you can't alternate pick. There are times when you will do what I think your describing as economy picking but I think your best to practice the alternate picking when practicing.
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I personally never quite understood the whole deal about strict alternate picking, seems like a terrible waste of energy to me. But people much wiser and experiences then me swear by it so it's probably a good idea to practice it. In the worst case scenario you won't need it that often.
I personally never quite understood the whole deal about strict alternate picking, seems like a terrible waste of energy to me.Ditto. There are some things where it would be incredibly annoying to keep strict alternation (ie, difficult and with no benefit that I can see). Besides which, when I get to something where my picking hand has trouble keeping up with the fretting hand I tend to break into legato anyway, as I much prefer the sound. I'm currently putting my learning/practicing effort into cleaning up my hammer-ons and pull-offs instead :)
I play with strict economy picking, and it works pretty well for me. Took me awhile to make sure my upstrokes were as aggressive as the down though. Basically if the string is higher then the string I am currently playing on it gets an upstroke, if it is lower it gets a downstroke. Of course I alternate pick if its the same string. It works good for me, although anything would work well if you practiced it enough.