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Old 02-09-2007, 12:33 PM   #15
drew johnston
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the downpicking thing comes from how i taught myself how to play guitar; my first guitar was a piece of shit hondo acoustic with grand canyon-style action and high-tension thick guage strings. i could barely even form chords it was so stiff. to get any kind of acceptable sound out of it, i had to beat the shit out of the strings and press extremely hard on the fretboard to even fret the strings so they'd ring cleanly. i still use these "handicapped" techniques when i play any kind of guitar, acoustic or electric. i kind of choke the thing; it's intrinsic. i discovered that downpicking had a crunchy resonance and a certain, focused intensity that alternate picking lacked. for the more involved sections, it would make a lot more sense to alternate pick in terms of stamina and picking economy, but i get off on downpicking everything i write as it adds a sense of sharp urgency to the material. it'll give a riff a deeper growl and sharper claws. it's not like i'm writing steely dan martini suites either, so the shoe fits. it can also be attributed to learning many early metallica songs which were, for the most part, strictly downpicked. this conditioning during the initial stages of development have a definite lasting impact. i can actually alternate pick really well on the bass using thinner picks and have improved in this regard on the guitar. however, i still prefer to either downpick everything or use legato technique where i'm hardly picking at all.
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