Rock Guitar Lesson 6. Alternate Picking. Part 3. String Switching

Rock Guitar Lesson 6. Part 3

Exercising over smooth run over the strings in Alternate Picking


Are you new to alternate picking? - Click here to learn the basics of alternate picking technique

This third part of the Alternate Picking Lesson is dedicated to help you achieve accurate performance

in moments of switching between immediate strings (jumping from one to another next string while

performing alternate picking technique).

Notice that I've used two ways of fingering for the left hand. Fingering inside tabs is alternative to classical

fingering (4 fingers per 4 frets). I usually do not use pinky finger in my performances because of its

weakness and less control. If you find for yourself uncomfortable to play only with index, middle and

ring finger, perhaps you have a small hand or you just want to learn classical guitar fingering use the

fingering under the tabs.

First series of exercises will help you to gain control over the string switching withing little loops of notes.

It's always easy to get fast results with a few note sequence.

Here's the powerful tip:

Whatever you play and find that some element of the playing is difficult to you,

concentrate on the problematic part of the song, turn it to the loop of notes

and it will be your own perfect exercise to overtake your washy point.



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 1  3  1  2




tab exercise

Classical fingering: 1  3  1  4



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 4  1  4  1



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 3  1  4  1



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 4  3  4  1



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 4  3  4  3



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 3  1  3  1



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 1  3  1  3



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 1  3  1  3



tab exercise

Classical fingering: 3  1  3  1




Now let's look at the situation where there are three notes in the loop.

The pick strokes downwards, upwards and downwards again.

Because of alternate picking, on second time the phrase will begin with upbeat.

And on third time again with downbeat. See tab's picking notation.



three notes switch


In this exercise I do one trick with the index finger in order to jump from 4th to 3th string comfortably.

Because of both of notes located at the same fret, after the note on 4th string I sag the index finger

in the way that it pushes 3rd string with its side (watch the video example),

so it saves time just to sag finger instead of jumping from string to string.

You can perform this trick in any similar situation where two different notes are located at the same fret

on immediate strings.


video example





three notes switch

video example

Next exercise helps to improve multiple string switching.

You may play it with first and second, second and third, third and forth (if you use pinky) fingers.

It's not important where you begin on fingerboard, just move the pattern fret by fret forward.

Also you can reverse the exercise and go back towards headstock.

If you feel that playing with one combination of fingers is more difficult that with other.

Play it more often with more difficult combination in order to fix problematic areas in your performance.


two notes cromatic exercise


video example



Next jazz-like sounding exercise begins from any higher fret and goes towards first ones.

In order to keep jazz atmosphere begin the pattern two frets lower each time.



jazz lick sounding cromatic exercise


video example

After all the exercising, have fun with following alternate picking licks


Lick #1


alternate picking lick 1


video example

Lick #2
alternate picking lick 2

Let ring the notes on open B string (second string)

video example

Lick #3
alternate picking lick 3

This lick is a bit tricky for beginners. I play it with triplet notes.

The first note in the first and the third bars are played with laying down index finger (little barre)

simultaneously on the 1st and the 2nd strings, as we did in the exercise #11.

The same trick is applied to the 4th and the 10th notes in the second bar, but here use your middle finger.

After playing last two notes of the lick (again only with the 1st finger),

move the finger towards the guitar head while keeping some pressure.

It doesn't matter where on the fretboard you'll stop moving.

video example