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String Skipping Exercises - Build Speed & Co-ordination

Before we get stuck into some increasingly challenging string skipping exercises, please make sure you've been through the introductory string skipping lesson.

However, 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.

Persevere with (and 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).

numbered fret hand fingersString 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.

Remember 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.

Download the print sheet for this lesson which includes all 10 exercise tabs.

Exercise 1

Taken from the minor pentatonic scale...

minor pentatonic string skipping exercise

Exercise 2

Major 7th arpeggio pattern...

major 7th arpeggio string skipping

Exercise 3

Harmonic minor pattern. A bit of a wider stretch this time...

harmonic minor scale exercise

Exercise 4

Jazzy blues (or is that bluesy jazz?) lick around the Mixolydian scale...

jazzy mixolydian string skip

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Exercise 5

This one makes use of pedal point (the last nine notes of the lick) - a repeating sequence built around a stationary note.

pedal point exercise using string skipping

Exercise 6

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!)...

A mixolydian exercise tab

Exercise 7

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 of lick.

dominant 7th sharp 11 arpeggio exercise

Try reversing the lick, descending back down the pattern using the same fingering.

Exercise 8

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!).

string skipping down a major scale pattern

Exercise 9

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.

two and three string skipping

Exercise 10

minor scale exercise

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.

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