Young Guitar magazine (Japan)
OCT 2008



Original text sent to magazine:

In your early days, have you ever care about the inside or outside picking?

In the early days, it wasn't something I thought about often, but I did work on the technique. I would play scales, down-up-don-up, and then play them again with reversed picking up-down-up-down, just to make sure I could stay comfortable leading with up-strokes or down-strokes.

Did any guitarists, songs or phrases inspire you regarding those techniques?

When I was learning some early Yngwie solos, I was never sure if I should play his descending patterns starting with up-strokes or down-strokes. I found that switching strings was more natural when I started with an up-stroke. I think Yngwie's playing made me think about it, and work on it. (Ex - A)

Other than Tapping, which do you prefer outside or inside picking?

They both are preferred at different times, it depends on what comes before and after. Sometimes it depends on where you're playing rhythmically - you may want to start with an up-stroke if your rhythm begins on the 2nd 16th note, so you are anchored to the first beat of each measure with a down-stroke. (Ex - B)

I prefer using outside picking for string-skipping riffs, when they begin with a note on a higher pitched string than the note after it - like hitting a note on the 2rd string, then a note on the 4th string. Here's an outside picking riff that shows this... (Ex - C)

What do you think of the merit of outside or inside picking?

If you want to have better command of the instrument, it is important to master as many techniques as you can, and have less limitations. It can only help, being able to do both.

What do you think: should beginner guitarists learn both outside and inside pickings or should they choose one of them and be good at it?

I think they should start with inside picking, but they shouldn't wait long before working on outside picking. But this is not a rule, just a general opinion. I think a teacher must quickly find their student's strengths and weaknesses, see what is more natural for the student and what is more of a challenge, and develop a plan that will be best for each individual student.

Lastly, if there are any, please give us some of your solo phrases that features outside or outside picking.

Most of my solos combine inside picking with finger-picking and tapping. There is some outside picking, but but only in small moments, not of enough to truly call it an "outside picking riff". But there was one from a song I wrote and played with my band when I was 16. There was this outside-picking riff in it, steady 16th notes at 156bpm... (Ex - D)

Here's a riff with slides between groups of outside picking... (Ex - E)