The Solution To Your Guitar String Skipping Problems

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Published: 29th August 2012
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String skipping on guitar may be the least complicated technique available. Not even! Just about every guitarist can have certain string skipping difficulties during the learning process. And yet with only a little focused work, the willingness to make a great deal of errors, plus the simple routines you are going to read about, you'll be bouncing over strings with confidence and sticking those landings just like an Olympic gymnast.

"String skipping" means picking notes on strings that aren't right next to each other. For instance, picking a note on the second string, then one at the fourth string. In order to help you correct the technique we'll focus on the right-hand playing single note melodies.

You will see me frequently describe constraining the range of movement of your right-hand. It sounds like a negative thing to do. But we will use it for the forces of good to allow your right hand a finite space to operate within in order to build muscle memories for the space between the strings.

1. Rest stroke. In a "rest stroke" you'll pick the string then allow the pick to come to rest on the subsequent guitar string. For instance: Play your open 4th string then let the pick come to rest against the 3rd guitar string.

This is that limited mobility in operation. The plectrum is going to go the same distance every single time and your muscles will learn this length very easily. As you become comfortable with the rest stroke, your hand should be able to judge the length among multiple strings effortlessly.

As a bonus, the rest stroke also will help your tone and right-hand consistency all round.

2. Anchor. I am not referring to the three-ton nautical device. Even though that may make you stay in a single spot to practice longer! Working with a right hand anchor means sitting the right-hand pinkie finger on the body of your guitar. Whenever you are using the bottom guitar strings it is possible to attach it to the first string. Exact same point here. This restricts your range of motion to a more compact space on the guitar.

A lot of guitarists will probably disagree with me on the usage of an anchor. Many don't use one at all. Even so, during my 20 years of teaching guitar I've seen anchors easily improve shoddy right-hand technique countless times.

3. Those blind men had the right idea. Now that you've got a great rest stroke plus pinkie anchor we're going to do a bit of actual string skipping, though with your eyes closed. This is really a trust exercise. Sort of that exercise in which your buddy falls backwards and you're expected to catch him. However there is no possibility of a concussion in our situation. Instead you will be able to learn to have confidence in your hands. You WILL make mistakes a lot to start with, yet that's absolutely okay. Just ignore them all and attempt it once more. Your hands will learn and respond faster if you don't let the mistakes frustrate you.

To keep things manageable, we will just employ the open strings for this exercise. Close your eyes and begin with your 6th string. Keep your pinkie anchor and rest strokes in mind. Now pluck every other string: 6th, 4th, 2nd. And then start off at the first string and play every other string coming down: 1st, 3rd, 5th.

Keep it slow, mess up a lot, then simply try again.

Now reverse it. Come down on strings 2, 4, 6 and go up on strings 5, 3, 1.

When you're able to execute this effortlessly, try out skipping a couple of strings: 6th/3rd, 5th/2nd, 4th/1st. Exact same thing in reverse. Then you can try skipping three guitar strings, etcetera.

Any time you close your eyes, your brain changes gears and puts extra focus on your senses of hearing and touch (and scent, but we hope you will not need that here). That's the reason why playing with your eyes closed will let you develop this technique quicker. All those ridiculous "guitar player rocking out/having a bowel movement" facial looks are optional, yet appear to come with the territory.

When you've got it down, give it a try with your eyes open, but do not look at your hands. You don't have to anymore. While you're playing, your eyes should be on the written music or the thousands of screaming fans in front of the stage.

Just abide by these steps and fight through the mistakes. You might realize that guitar string skipping really is pretty easy after all!

Learn lots more guitar brain hacks and pro guitar practice tips at Guitar Notes For Beginners

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