with 4 picks per note (down-up-down-up) may seem like an unnecessary
step back from the first lesson, but actually this is a technique you
may want to use as part of your lead harmonies. It stretches the
harmony out a bit more than one pick per note, and offers a different
Take a look at the tab below. We're first going to play 4 picks per
note, then 3, 2 and finally 1.
These kind of lead lines have become
popularly used in the "indie" and punk pop music scene. Very simple,
but their aim is to carry a harmony through a chord progression more in
sync with the rhythm playing.
As an exercise, we could use 3 picks per note on the same lick,
changing the rhythm...
this is a great process to use when practising alternate picking, as
as providing you with several rhythmic options for how you play a lead
phrase. Try writing
your own licks and breaking up your exercises in this way.
it with arpeggios that mostly use one note per string, therefore you
have to negotiate more of a vertical movement. For example...
Remember, every picking exercise we look at in this lesson can be
broken up using the above 4, 3, 2, 1 pick-per-note process!
Use a metronome to start slow and speed
String skipping alternate picking exercises
skipping is simply where you... skip a string in your
movements. For example, you could jump from a note on the D string to a
note on the B string, "skipping" the G string in your soloing phrase.
This makes the phrase sound less linear and introduces
larger intervals to your playing. But what doesn't change is the
picking pattern which should remain constant.
When practising your scales, try skipping around like this, because it
can really add life to your solos.
Alternate picking your runs
I've devoted an entire series of lessons to scale
runs, but let's just look at
a couple of run-based alternate picking exercises to get us going.
Runs involve moving up and/or down a scale, usually at a moderate to
fast tempo, in a linear or "staggered" pattern.
can also turn these kind of open string phrases into full-on tapping
licks by using hammer-ons and pull-offs and just picking the occasional
note. More on that in another lesson!
the lead guitar and
scales sections for more ideas
you learn a new scale, you have a new pattern to play around with and
apply alternate picking to, and with the techniques we look at in the
lead guitar section on the site, it's not that difficult to come up
with your own alternate picking exercises.
The key thing is to
get all your fingers involved, variate your picking attack, both with
tempo and technique (e.g. runs, string skipping, 3 picks per note
etc.). Really diversify your exercises so you're covering as much
ground as possible.
Oh, and always use a metronome to start slow and
gradually speed up, but only speed up when you're 100% confident with
the current speed.