5 Alternate Picking Exercises

Work on these five looping alternate picking exercises and begin improving your picking hand accuracy and overall synchronisation right now!

5 Alternate Picking Exercises
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Alternate picking for the lead guitar is where the picking hand executes alternating pickstrokes to play passages of notes. This down, up, down, up pattern is kept constant no matter what pattern the fretting hand is fingering or how many strings may be involved. This technique, while very tricky to master, can lead to a powerful sound and blistering high speed playing.

But a high level of picking hand accuracy must be established and synchronisation must be developed so that the two hands work together perfectly in time.

Remember to sometimes begin an exercise with a downstroke and sometimes with an upstroke to make sure that all strings crosses remain balanced.

Exercise 1: "PHI (Picking Hand Isolation) skipped all strings"


This works purely on the picking hand accuracy. Mute the strings by gently resting your fretting hand fingers across the strings. Rest your picking hand near the bridge and begin picking through the skipped pattern. This may be tricky at first and you may accidently hit the wrong strings as you skip. Slowly work on it until it's clean and you no longer make mistakes.

Exercise 2: "Back n Forth 2-string combination"


This is an absolute favourite of mine. It contains ascending and descending groups of six with parts changing direction. So many useful movements are encountered in this exercise.

Exercise 3: "Nimble Fingers single string sync"


This goes back and forth on one string bouncing between finger pairs to really get your hands synchronised together. Remember to give this a go on other strings too, not just the one string shown here.

Exercise 4: "Fmaj7 fractured 4 finger arpeggio"


Take this one very slowly. It's an absolute minefield of potential mistakes. But that's good, because once you get comfortable with it… that means you have improved! This is all string crosses and skips. If you can develop skill with this then most other exercises will seem much easier by comparison.

Exercise 5: "F6 skipped arpeggio"


This outlines an F6 chord. Apart from sounding cool, this forces you to cross to a string, then back, then skip over a string. All one after another. And will further improve your accuracy and string crosses.

Check out the video to see and hear these exercises in action!


By Alfred Potter
www.AlfredPotter.com

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