Picking 17

Animated Picking 17 tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This exercise is from the Core Skills Picking Section.

Scales are essential. Few tunes are just scales, but all tunes come from them. Knowing them will help lots! Melodies and solos come from scales.

Although this section is not about scales specifically - that is in the Theory / Jamzone sections. Here we are concentrating on picking through them, because that is an important thing to know. Playing scales will involve alternate picking!

Alternate Picking means using consistent down / up / down / up strokes.

Here we will alternate pick through a C major scale from octave to octave. This is the easiest scale for many people because it doesn't contain #'s or b's (sharps of flats). The scale starts at C and then goes D E F G A B C (octave - same note, but a higher register). We only play these notes, in order, and skip all the other notes.

You can learn more about scales, how they are constructed etc in our Theory section. Here we are concentrating more on picking technique than theory.

It's important to learn alternate picking from the start. Remember to keep picking in a repetitive down / up strokes pattern no matter what note is next. Getting into this habit early on will make things easier for you later - especially when it comes down to gaining speed. That's when economy of pick movement is essential.

Learning scales is important, so this exercise will help you a great deal. The point of learning alternate picking is so that with enough practice your picking hand automatically does the right stroke. This leaves your mind freer to concentrate more on the music being produced with your other hand on the fretboard. Ultimately, this music will come from scales that you know.

Scales are repetitive, but learning them will help train your ear, help you with your musical understanding, and also train your fingers to go to the right places, almost automatically. When you are confident enough, you can go to the Jamzone and see how to use scales to make melodies by playing 'scale games' in the Jamzone. But for now, let's get the basics down tight....

Pay attention to the direction of each stroke played in this C major scale. We alternate pick the scale from low C to high C, then we pick up and down the scale again using alternate picking. Practice this until you get the timing and speed good. See if you can get as fast as the normal speed audio (under Tools in the Menu Bar) if you want a real challenge!

You may have problems moving across the strings at first and get 'gaps' or pauses as you move from one string to the next. Remember the golden rule - practice slowly and get it right, then start speeding it all up. Even if you have to play really slowly - just keep at it. With enough practice your fingers will find their way.

If it's very hard for you, then just try using one hand only. Forget about your picking hand. Just run through the notes on the fretboard until your fingers know their route well. Then start using your picking hand too. Move your fingers across the notes in time with the looped ActionTab, then start working on adding the picking afterwards.

Most people experience problems with the co-ordination between both hands, and dexterity / finger strength. Don't let this frustrate you - everybody gets it. Practice will get you through that. You are learning to do a lot of things at once:

1. Fret notes cleanly (requires dexterity and finger strength)
2. Learn note positions
3. Picking with down / up strokes on the correct string.
4. Playing each note at a regular pace (each note having the same duration).

Just keep at it...you will get it! You are learning fundamental techniques here, and they are often the biggest hurdles. Once you crack these early stages of skill development, you'll be surprised how fast you will pick up the other stuff!

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