Alternate Picking No 1

In this lesson, Charlie will take us through a simple exercise to practice alternate picking.

You will practice alternate picking ascending and descending up and down the guitar neck. We are not concentrating on new chords here, just on the use of the pick.

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This is an exercise for your left and right hand. We'll work on our coordination between both. We'll start the exercise off quite slowly and then what you do is you gradually pick up speed. Let's get into it.

We have a look at the notes on my left hand. I'm starting out with my fourth finger, up here on the sixth fret, playing that note ... I go to my first finger on the third fret, this is on the first string, then I go immediately up to the second string, fourth finger again on the sixth fret, back to the third fret with my first finger. So it's six, , six, three, first string, first string, second string, second string.

Make sure you are coming down on the very tips of your fingers...

We'll just have a little bit of a look at our thumb position at the back of the neck. Just keep your thumb fairly straight at the back of the neck pointing upwards. Don't let it lay across, on that angle otherwise you'll find that you don't quite achieve the stretch required with your left hand, so just keep it fairly straight. A little up and down isn't really all that important, wherever is comfortable depending on the size of your hand and the size of the neck on the guitar that you are playing, but just watch out carefully that it doesn't go wondering towards the head stock of the guitar.

The alternate picking starts with a downstroke, followed by an upstroke, downstroke on the B string, followed by an upstroke on the B string. E string, B string. You repeat that motion, slowly picking up the momentum until you create a little bit of a rhythm with it ... And then, once we've achieved a little bit of accuracy with that, we're just going to play through the four notes twice, and then gradually step up one fret at a time...

And taking a look at our left hand...

The important thing to remember is we keep it nice and even, especially when you are changing frets. We don't want to have groups of four stopping and starting... we want to make sure that that flows...

Another thing to do is work through the exercise using the metronome. Mark down the speed that you finished off at, and gradually increase the speed until you get a nice, fluent, even alternate pattern happening. Good luck with it, practice hard, and we'll talk to you soon.

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