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Aug 25, 2019
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Picking Patterns – How Picking Patterns Work

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Picking Patterns

How picking patterns work

The notation for picking patterns is very similar to the notation used for strumming patterns. There are only a few basic ways to pick a string and then complex runs are made by alternating picking styles with rests (where no notes are played).
^ = pick upwards (towards the sky)
v = pick downwards (towards the floor)

Use the following tablature for examples and exercises.

G major scale: all downstrokes

——————————————————-2—3—-

———————————————–3—5————

———————————–2—4—5——————–

———————–2—4—5——————————–

———–2—3—5——————————————–

—3—5——————————————————–

v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v

C major scale: all upstrokes

———————————————–3—5—7—8—-

———————————–3—5—6——————–

———————–2—4—5——————————–

———–2—3—5——————————————–

—3—5——————————————————–

—————————————————————-

^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^   ^

One of the most important picking techniques to master called alternate picking. It involves picking the string alternatively up then down. This is one of the easiest ways to achieve a quick run (series of notes) on the freeboard.

Classic alternate picking exercise

————————————————————1–2–3–4

————————————————1–2–3–4————

————————————1–2–3–4————————

————————1–2–3–4————————————

————1–2–3–4————————————————

1–2–3–4————————————————————

v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^

 

5–4–3–2————————————————————

————5–4–3–2————————————————

————————5–4–3–2————————————

————————————5–4–3–2————————

————————————————5–4–3–2————

————————————————————5–4–3–2

v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^

 

————————————————————3–4–5–6

————————————————3–4–5–6————

————————————3–4–5–6————————

————————3–4–5–6————————————

————3–4–5–6————————————————

3–4–5–6————————————————————

v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^

 

7–6–5–4————————————————————

————7–6–5–4————————————————

————————7–6–5–4————————————

————————————7–6–5–4————————

————————————————7–6–5–4————

————————————————————7–6–5–4

v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^  v  ^

Continue the above pattern all the way to the 12th fret. This could consider a warm-up exercise. Warm-up exercises should do every time before you play in order to warm-up your fingers for playing. This can help avoid stress-related injuries to your wrist such as tendonitis and RSS.

Warm-up exercises can play along with a metronome. A metronome provides a steady pulse with which you can play the notes. This helps to build a sense of rhythm. Make sure to start at a tempo (speed) with which you can play without making mistakes. Slowly increase the tempo until you start making mistakes and practice at that tempo until you stop making mistakes. Using this method, you will be able to build your ability over time.

Exercise 1: Based on the G major scale

:———————————————————————-:

:———————————————————————-:

:——————————————-4—4———————-:

:———————————–5—5———–5—5————–:

:———–2—2—5—5—7—7—————————7—7——:

:—3—3————————————————————–:

v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^

Exercise 2: Based on the G major scale

:———————————————————————-:

:———————————————————————-:

:—————————5—5—8—8—5—5———————-:

:———–4—4—7—7—————————7—7—4—4——:

:—5—5————————————————————–:

:———————————————————————-:

^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v   ^   v

Exercise 3: G major scale

:——–5————————————————————-:

:—8b——-5–8p5—————————————————-:

:———————7—5——————————————–:

:———————————————————————-:

:———————————————————————-:

:———————————————————————-:

If there is no picking notation (which there probably won’t be on most tablature), play what sounds right to the song you’re trying to learn or whatever feels comfortable.

On top of playing scales like these, try playing a tune that you know to sing (like twinkle little star). Play along with that song, just the melody singing part. Try to start the song on any finger on any fret on any string.

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Guitar Lesson
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