Intermediate - Pickin'

With all the things your left hand does while you play the guitar, you might inadvertently neglect your right hand ...your picking hand. A lot of guitarists (including myself) do focus on the left hand more when practicing a difficult piece. Don't do it. Your right hand technique is not only 50% of the battle, it's the birthplace of dynamics and feel.

Strings are picked many different ways, but here are three key styles I think you should know about.

1. Alternate picking - This is a good technique to incorporate into your playing because without it, no real speed is possible.

This is an alternate picking exercise. The down arrows mean pick towards the ground and the up arrows mean pick towards the sky.

2. Chicken Pickin' - Although this is primarily thought of as a country technique, it can be used in many interesting ways. In this next example you hold the pick normally (with your thumb and 1st finger) and pluck with your 2nd finger at the same time. It makes the string jumps so much easier.

3. Finger style / Flat picking - This style of picking uses no pick at all. In fact your entire right hand and all of your fingers are employed for maximum control and complete chordal freedom. In this example pay special attention to the letters and numbers at the top of the TAB staff. They are noted as...

"T" = thumb     "1" = first finger     "2" = second finger

 Everyone is different and only you can decide what works best for you. Some like to use floppy thin picks for a slippery clicky sound. Others prefer the precision of the heaviest picks possible. While still others choose to forgo the guitar pick altogether, thinking that the sounds achieved by using ones hands alone are superior. I suggest that you try them all.

Happy pickin'.

To learn more please schedule a lesson through

Faymous Music at 262.376.7688 and say you want to take lessons from Jeff.

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