Down Picking Endurance Exercises for Metal Genres

Downpicking is a technique in which the strings are struck in a downward motion to emphasize the tones generated. Because of the kind of note dynamics it creates, down picking is typically used in metal style genres of music.

One thing you need to be aware about downpicking is that it can be taxing on your picking hand and unlike alternate picking, it can’t be played at extremely high speeds. Basically, you can expect to downpick at half the speed you can perform alternate picking.

In this lesson, I will show you how to perform the downstroke motion of your picking hand by using a riff from “Ovum” as an example. This is a song written by Emil Werstler’s band; Daath. You will also get some useful tips on building stamina and endurance with your picking hand.

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In heavy metal and rock, downpicking (down stroking) is frequently used by bands like Metallica & Arch Enemy. If you are familiar with economy picking where you minimize hand motion in order to achieve higher speed, downpicking may seem to contradict everything you had been doing thus far.


Because of its single directional motion, downpicking requires alot of effort and relatively large hand motions. So, if it sounds so clunky, why do bands still employ this technique? The answer is simple. Downpicking gives the guitarists to create aggressive tones and string attacks that can never be achieved by other techniques.

When learning down picking, it is important that you start slow and always play with a metronome to keep time. Once you are capable of playing in time, you should then slowly work your way to speed.

Here Are Some Tips to Help You Out

– Always start slow and ensure your movements are minimized and relaxed.

– To build up your stamina, you can challenge yourself by playing at the highest possible tempo you can with a metronome. Let the lactic acid set into your picking hand, take a break, shake off the soreness and repeat the workout. Gradually, your finger memory and muscle strength will improve.

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