In The Wood­shed

If your al­ter­nate pick­ing is in con­fu­sion, this work­out by Char­lie Grif­fiths will help you master the ins and outs of this vi­tal tech­nique.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON IN THE WOODSHED -

Al­ter­nate pick­ing means mov­ing your pick in al­ter­nate down and up­strokes through­out a pas­sage of notes, re­gard­less of whether those notes are all on the same string or on dif­fer­ent strings. Play­ers like Al Di Me­ola, Steve Morse, John Petrucci and Paul Gil­bert are pos­si­bly the most well-known mem­bers of the al­ter­nate pick­ing fra­ter­nity. The tech­nique of­fers a more weighty, con­sis­tent sound due to the mo­men­tum of the hand pro­pel­ling the pick through the strings. When al­ter­nate pick­ing suc­ces­sive notes on a sin­gle string, the ap­proach could not be more sim­ple as al­ter­nat­ing down and up­strokes fol­low one another nat­u­rally and ef­fi­ciently. When mov­ing the pick from string to string, how­ever, a bit more prac­tise is re­quired. There are two ways of pick­ing string changes, known as ‘out­side’ and ‘inside’ pick­ing.

Out­side pick­ing means mov­ing the pick around the two strings in ques­tion, so the pick hits the ‘outer edges’ of the strings first. This is of­ten de­scribed as hook­ing around the strings. For prac­ti­cal pur­poses we can re­duce this mo­tion down to just two notes. An ex­am­ple of this is play­ing a down­stroke on the fourth string and an up­stroke on the third string. Try re­peat­ing this us­ing just the open strings al­low­ing you to fo­cus solely on your pick­ing hand and let the pick move down and up smoothly in a re­laxed man­ner. Inside pick­ing is the ex­act op­po­site, so re­verse the pick­ing di­rec­tion. This time start with a down­stroke on the third string and an up­stroke on the fourth string. This means that the pick hits the in­ner edges of the strings and ef­fec­tively bounces be­tween them in ping-pong fash­ion.

Both pick­ing di­rec­tions should sound ex­actly the same, al­though one will in­evitably feel more nat­u­ral than the other. This is nor­mal and over time and with plenty of prac­tice they will even out and be­come sec­ond na­ture. We don’t have the lux­ury of favour­ing one over the other as some­thing as sim­ple as play­ing a Ma­jor scale re­quires both inside and out­side pick­ing through­out. The fol­low­ing ex­am­ples will help you prac­tise inside and out­side pick­ing me­thod­i­cally and even­tu­ally com­bine the two. No­tice that all of th­ese

AL DI ME­OLA, STEVE MORSE, JOHN PETRUCCI AND PAUL GIL­BERT ARE POS­SI­BLY THE MOST WELL­KNOWN MEM­BERS OF THE AL­TER­NATE PICK­ING FRA­TER­NITY ex­am­ples have an odd num­ber of notes per string: 1, 3 and 5, which is the first in­di­ca­tor that inside or out­side pick­ing is needed.

Ex­am­ple 1 is an out­side pick­ing lick start­ing with a down­stroke on the fourth string fol­lowed by an up­stroke on the third. This will help you prac­tise hook­ing around those strings. Ex­am­ple 2 is the same melody but dis­placed by an eighth-note, which switches the pick­ing to start with a down­stroke on the third string and an up­stroke on the fourth, ideal for bounc­ing that pick be­tween the strings. Ex­am­ples 3 and 4 are a bluesy lick, which re­quires three-pick-strokes-per-string - Ex­am­ple 3 be­ing inside pick­ing and Ex­am­ple 4 be­ing out­side pick­ing. The fi­nal ex­am­ple has five pick strokes per string and ac­tu­ally switches be­tween inside and out­side pick­ing. NEXT MONTH Char­lie hones your skills for mas­ter­ing 7/8 Time Sig­na­ture

Ded­i­cate your prac­tice time to inside and out­side pick­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.