Welcome to episode 3 of Power Up! This time we’ll be looking at a simple picking lick. The idea is to repeat this slowly over and over to develop coordination between your fretboard hand and your picking hand.
Developing coordination with this odd time alternate picking idea across all 4 fingers on your fretboard hand will help not only with picking ideas like this but also many other aspects of your playing, from advanced chords to riffs and of course shred techniques.
Picking in G# Minor
We’ll be using the G# minor scale to create our odd time signature alternate picking sequence. The sequence starts on the 9th fret B string and we’re staying in one ‘4 notes per string’ position, ending on the 14th fret E string:
Odd Time Signature Alternate Picking – The Sequence
Practicing these odd groupings of notes slowly will help you to develop your timing. There are a few ways we can count these notes. Once you get the feel for the timing you won’t need to count it out but to start with it will help. Remember to START SLOW.
The sequence uses ‘Tuplets’. These are groupings of notes that differ from straight 8th or 16th notes. We’re using 8th note ‘Septuplets’ meaning each beat has 7 notes. As a result this will be quite fast even at a slow tempo as we have 28 notes par bar!
We’re going to ascend, descend and then ascend again for the first two sequences. At high speeds this will give an effect similar to an engine revving up. The third sequence will descend and then finally we will ascend up and back down in the fourth sequence. If you find it tricky try practicing each sequence separately and then combining them.
Counting Odd Timings
One way of counting the timing would be to use a word or phrase which contains 7 syllables. For example “I will learn to pick real fast”, where you say each syllable for each note.
Another method is to use the Konnakol method or something similar. In Konnakol you use different syllables to help count the timing. For groups of 7 notes this would be:
Ta – Ka – Di – Mi – Ta – Ki – Ta
However, once you get to higher speeds you don’t want to have to count out each note. Use this to help with your timing whilst practicing slowly. Try to reach a point where it becomes second nature to ‘feel’ the timing.
Odd Time Signature Alternate Picking Tab
Use all four fingers and practice looping the lick. This will help with your coordination and picking speed. Once you start to get the hang of this you can start to move the sequence around the neck and string it together with other ideas. Have fun seeing what you can come up with!
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