Guitar Techniques - - NEWS - Neville Marten, Editor

OUR COVER FEA­TURE this month is all about pick­ing. Ac­tu­ally, it’s the lead fea­ture in a set of three that aims to hone your en­tire pick­ing reper­toire, since most play­ers want­ing to im­prove tell us that pick­ing is at the top of their tech­nique wish list. This month it’s that good old stal­wart: al­ter­nate pick­ing.

Now, stop me if I’ve men­tioned this be­fore, but I’ve al­ways said my own pick­ing is pretty weak (I can’t do Guthrie-style amaz­ing speed bursts, for in­stance), but my fret­ting hand is fairly good within my lim­ited style base.

A cou­ple of years ago, Shaun Bax­ter did a fea­ture in Cre­ative Rock where he said some­thing like: “You think it’s your pick­ing hand that’s at fault, when in all prob­a­bil­ity it’s ac­tu­ally your fret­ting hand not keep­ing up.” This stag­gered me and I im­me­di­ately picked up my guitar. He was right. That hor­ri­ble mis-match of pick­ing and fret­ting-hand speed in my own play­ing (where it seems like you’re fish­ing in a box of span­ners), was in­deed sloppy fret­ting. I was hon­estly stag­gered. Phil Capone men­tions this in his ex­cel­lent first pick­ing ar­ti­cle but all I’d add is, make sure you also con­cen­trate on your fret­ting in any and all of Phil’s ex­er­cises; you’ll soon see if it’s that side let­ting you down, and be able to up­grade both hands in one fell swoop. Es­pe­cially when it comes to cross­ing strings, we of­ten pre­sume it must be the pick­ing let­ting us down, since it has to jump across from one to another, but it’s just as likely that your first fret­ting fin­ger to land on the next string is late and the oth­ers are crash­ing in be­hind it also out of time, prob­a­bly rushed. But you’ll blame the pick ev­ery time!

If this phe­nom­e­non hadn’t crossed your mind (as it gen­uinely hadn’t mine), I’d be in­ter­ested to hear if Shaun’s point pro­vided food for thought and per­haps even as­sisted in get­ting you through this first pick­ing ar­ti­cle. Do let me know.

WIN! On page 74, you’ll no­tice a re-run of our amaz­ing com­pe­ti­tion to win thou­sands of £££s’ worth of group gear. Open to UK res­i­dents only, it’s an amaz­ing chance to kit your whole band out with top-of-the-range gear. Please do en­ter – and I’ll see you next month with more great stuff!

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