Hybrid Picking Lesson

This is the start of many lessons on how to use the awesome technique of Hyrid Picking in a more, unconvetional manner. Although this lesson centers more on the traditional use, ie in country and blues, I will be focusing on how to use Hyrib Picking in alternative rock and heavy metal.

Ultimate Guitar
1.) To begin, place your fingers around the plectrum in a normal fashion(between your thumb and index finger). Do not splay out your fingers across the strings like you see so many famous guitarist doing, you will not be able to complete this technique without tucking your fingers neatly underneath your palm. Control is the most important factor to remember. If you do not try and build the correct muscle memory through slow practise then you will not progress in an encouraging way. 2.) Play the open low E string with your plectrum and let it ring, now play the high E string with your ring finger. How easy was that? If it felt very unordinary and uncomfortable, don't worry. With time it will become natural. 3.) Now put your fingers in a A major chord postion. Let the notes ring throughout. This is of course a rough starting point. It is not musicaly accurate. It is only here so you understand the basic idea. Repeat this riff as many times as you need. You can adapt this lick into different chords as well like C major, A minor, D Minor(Bar chord version in the 5th postion), and so on. P = Plectrum I = Index finger M = Middle finger
      P   I  P   M   P/M
4.) Now that you have this passage learned off by memory and your fingers are tucked nicely away so that nothing is touching strings in the wrong places, but at the same time, the unwanted strings are mutted accurately to enhance the quality of the overall sound, you can move on. This is also a rough guide but requires a little more time. Use a slight palm mute for this passage so that the notes do not ring out, thus giving it an air of blues. This contains the chords E Major and A Major. Also, you may like to note that you can encorporate the use of "rolling" in your finger patterns in this passage. Try and practise this on it's own. Roll your ring finger on your fretting hard from the E note of the D string (second fret, third string down) to the D note on the G string (Second fret, fourth string down) Palm mute slightly; This section has a slight swaying feel to it. As if it's a carousel song. (finger roll)
    P  M/I  M/I  P  M  P
5.) This next lick is based more on country rather than blues but it still is interlinked. I will be dealing with how you can use Hybrid Picking in rock and in more obscure ways in later articles. This lick is designed so that the strings ring out in the appropriate places. Try and figure those instances out yourself through your own ears, it's good practise. it's not always best to have everything handed to you, an accomplished guitarist is an original, intelligent guitarist. Now this lick is much harder than the previous as it involves, finger rolling, pull offs, slides and palm mutting. It's important that you make this riff sound accurate, and you can do that by muting the most characteristic notes and letting the others ring out cleanly. This will require thought, along with practise. You must concentrate on what you are doing, as if you were putting together a complicated Lego model or an engine, or massaging your ladies feet! You have to pay attention or else your muscles will not respond as quickly.
  P   P  M  P   P   M  I  
G--------0----------0------------| Right hand picking pattern
Fingers 1 and 3 are used only in this.
  3         1   3      1
G--------0----------0------------| Left hand fingerings (optional)

  P     M   I  P     P   M       P  M   P  P
D-3s5------------------------------------------| Right Hand picking pattern
Fingers 1,3 and 4 are used in this.
  3            1     3   3 1     3      4  1
D-3s5------------------------------------------| Left Hand fingerings
Odd rythme section: (Triplet)
    P     M   P    P  M   I  P/M/I
Three notes per beat(Triplets):
   M   P I   P  I   P        M   P I   P  I   P
Start slowly and do it properly, no distortion, no reverb and no silly hand positions. Remember to keep your fingers folded under your palm and try and imagine your fingers "dancing" on the strings that aren't being struck. This will take determination and practise, just like anything! There will be more examples of how you can use this wonderful technique to jump strings more effectively and thus creating more interesting sounds for your playing. The next article will be based on a lesson I learned from John 5(ex Marilyn Manson guitarist) and something I picked up through my own accord from Brent Hinds from Mastodon who uses this technique to create huge epic soundscapes!

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Excellent lesson! I love how you used more complex chordal shapes rather than sticking to generic, basic chords. Can't wait for the next lesson. BRENT IS MY HERO.
    i think that you made one mistake... wenn your holding your plectrum with your index and thumb you can't use your index finger to play notes, or do you?
    this lesson blows! it makes no sense, and how do you use the pick? it should be a thumb pick, shouldn't it?
    Hybrid Picking is when you combine both a plectrum and fingers. I obviously made a typo with the patterns. You cannot use both the index finger to play notes, and hold a plectrum at the same time. Sorry folks. If anyone is interested, I will make a follow up. Maybe it won't take UG two years to actually post it, and I will be more thorough and precise.
    Ohh, I understand now. The plectrum is one of those things that you slip on your thumb, like a ring! So he doesn't have to hold it with his index finger. Pretty good lesson, should have explained the plectrum part, would have prevented a lot of confusion.
    I have had a lot of success with learning classical pieces, treating the pick and index finger as "p', the middle finger as "i", the ring finger as "m" and the pinky as "a". Mauro Giuliani's arpeggio studies are a great place to start for this approach, though you may wish to change to the chords around a bit for variety's sake. For those who don't know, p, i, m, and and a, conventionally refer to the thumb(p), index(i), middle(m), and ring(a) digits of the right hand