Before we get stuck into some increasingly challenging string skipping
please make sure you've been through the introductory string
if you're already familiar with the technique, the below exercises will
get you up to speed and confident with using string skips in your licks.
enjoy) these exercises. Work on one exercise per day (or as often as
you can) and you'll soon be navigating scales in new and far more
melodically interesting ways. Try mixing these exercises with regular
scale runs and other movements to build meaningful phrases.
Oh, and don't forget to use a metronome!
Start slow and speed up gradually
(I use increments of 10 BPM).
skipping exercises set #1
Most of your lead/solo playing will use scales as the scaffolding for
your note selection. We're going to play some scale phrases the involve
string skipping, starting with skips over one string at a time.
Suggested fingering is in blue.
Feel free to modify to a fingering more comfortable to you if necessary.
also that you can move these patterns to different postions on the
neck, depending on the key in which you're playing. In fact, I
recommend you do this as the pattern will feel different, say, down at
the first few frets than it will higher up the neck.
Harmonic minor pattern. A bit of a wider stretch this time...
Jazzy blues (or is that bluesy jazz?) lick around the Mixolydian
This one makes use of pedal point (the last nine notes of the lick) - a
repeating sequence built around a stationary note.
This one will really test your pick hand co-oridination. In this
example, we're moving down the A mixolydian scale (don't forget to work
back up as well!)...
This is quite an awkward one, but sounds great as well as being a good
exercise. We're effectively playing a slightly embellished dominant 7th
#11 (in this case Bb7#11) arpeggio. As we're jumping around quite
erratically, it's best to use a more syncopated timing with this kind
Try reversing the lick, descending back down the pattern using the same
More of a run down the major scale (or any of its related
modes depending on where you see its root). Having the string skips in
there will give it a fresh sound. This is one with which you'll want to
get up to a decent speed (metronome!).
Ah, now things are about to get a little trickier. We're now skipping
over two and three strings, using a bass pedal note (6th fret, index
finger). Great little exercise that can work at any fret.
Try and create your own string skipping exercises, based around any
scale patterns you know. Hopefully, it will encourage you to explore
scales in a new, less linear way, as well as get your pick hand used to
physically jumping over strings.