String Skipping Tips

Just a reminder of the main things to be thinking about when working on string skipping (i.e. when you’re using a pick and need to cross or change strings in the middle of a lick, solo or riff). At the end of the video, I take you through some exercises that you can use to work on your string skipping technique.

Here are the main things to think about when practising this technique:

  1. Don’t Tense Up

    I’ve said this so many times, I almost feel like a broken record! Tensing up will not only kill your speed, it’ll also mean your hand will want to “lock up” and stick to one string! Try it- when you tense up your hand, your fingers will tend to lock together (especially across the knuckle- the joint where you probably need the most flexiblity!).

    So, remember to relax!

  2. Muting

    Again, something you should always been doing in one form or another as it stops any potential stray strings causing havok. With string skipping, you should be hitting the right strings anyway, but just in case your pick is travelling over a string an slightly catches it, you should be muting properly. Even if it’s just as a kind of “safety net”.

    Then hitting random, unwanted stings is just one less thing to go wrong!

  3. Take the Shortest Route with your Pick

    This works nicely with the last tip. Obviously, the shortest (and therefore, quickest) distance between two points is a straight line, right? So, try not to lift your pick too far away from the strings at any one point.

    Going from the low E to the D string, as I do in the video, I only need to move my pick enough to just miss the A string- any more would be inefficient and a waste of time. Of course, if you do make the mistake of catching the string, you’re already muting it, right?

  4. Accuracy

    This almost goes without saying: make sure you work on your picking accuracy across the strings! Try practising as I show in the video- by jumping from string to string using just the picking hand. You can, of course, practise this using the fretting hand too, but I think picking accuracy is very important and probably not practised as much.

    Try playing the open, low E followed quickly by the B string, then the E again, then the D string. All the time you’re doing this, you should be avoiding anchoring your hand to the guitar. It’s really quite hard, but it’ll also really help your picking accuracy!

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