Today we’re going to look at some basic string skipping drills to help improve your speed and precision. The string skipping technique, as the name suggests, involves skipping over one or more strings to the next.
For example you might be playing on the low E string and then skip the A string and move straight to the D string. Remember to practice these string skipping basics slowly until you have built up your ‘muscle memory’. In this lesson we will be focusing on string skipping whilst alternate picking.
Technique slowing you down?
When you skip over a string your pick has further to travel. However by utilizing different parts of your arm to cover the extra distance you can maintain a decent speed. Let’s say you are using a combination of wrist and elbow to pick. Maintain the same movement, and therefore speed, whilst picking. To cover the extra distance you can bring your shoulder into play.
String Skipping Basics: Exercise #1
Exercise 1 is derived from the B harmonic minor scale. We’re going to play the first 3 notes of the scale, then skip to the 7th and the octave. Playing this as 16th notes we get 2 repetitions per bar. This makes it easy to repeat on a loop which will help you to develop ‘muscle memory’.
String Skipping Basics: Exercise #2
Exercise 2 is an extension of exercise 1. We’re starting with the first 3 notes again, then skipping to the octaves of those notes. When descending we play a melodic line using the 7th, 6th and 5th notes of the scale.
Exercise 3 is in C# minor. This one has been adapted from an excellent picking lesson by guitarist Paul Gilbert to include a string skip. By alternating between the G and B string this will really help you to pick more precisely!
Remember to start slow and build up the speed gradually. You’ll be blazing through these string skipping runs in no time!
Footnote: The guitar used in this cover images for this post is the RC One which is Rusty Cooley’s custom 7 string from Ormsby Guitars
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