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Single string picking


All exercises and solo will be written in tabs. Lower you see typical tabs example.


Six horizontal lines mean strings. The topmost and the thinnest line is the highest string in sounds. All tab is divided into equal duration`s bits called bars. Figures on the lines mean guitar`s key. You probably have observed points on your guitar, a point on the third, on the fifth, on the seventh and two points on the twelfth keys. Use them as guide.

Now about  durations` notes. They can be:






On the first example you see four quarters, on the second – eight eights, and on the last, you probably have guessed, sixteen sixteenth. Sign P and V under notes mean mediator`s stroke down (P) and crash up (V). Figures in the circles correspond to finger`s number that is pressed string. 1 – forefinger, 2 – middle finger, 3 – fourth finger, 4 – little finger.

To be sure playing is connected not only with notes. Between notes exists pause. Their designation you see lower.


In the first bar is the whole, in the second – two halves and so on. We have to turn out, what do two quarters mean that are at the beginning. This is bar`s size. The lower figure mean duration, the top means duration`s quantity in a bar. Our bar`s duration are four quarters. All is simply. It can contain either a whole, or two halves, or four quarters, or a half and two quarters, or four eighth and eight sixteenth. I think it`s clear. And now let`s move on to practice.



So, what do you begin with? To begin playing electric guitar is better with warm up. In the John Petrucci`s video lesson “Rock Discipline” I found some exercises for limbering up. At first lay the guitar.

The 1st exercise. Stretch your hand forward, with the right hand pull the left hand. And then do just the opposite.

The 2d exercise. Lift hands up and lay together under head. Stoop right and left.  Repeat it several times.

The 3rd exercise. With the right hand pull the left hand bending left hand`s wrist.  Then turn up a hand and do the same.

And now take a guitar and do some exercises. Attention! If you are holding a guitar in a first time, you probably can`t do the next exercises. Do better the first three, then move on to exercises that are lower. They will be as the first step to finger`s development. With time you can come back to this part.

This exercise is from the same John Petrucci`s video lesson. It`s not necessary to play every note separately. You can play chords.


The next is from Michael Angelo’s video lesson; he is one of the fastest guitarists in the world. Here you find the new notes designation, that are joined with an arc. So it marks Pull off and Hammer on.


These exercises are better to do in a clarion.  How I said, if you are holding a guitar in a first time, it will be problematical to play these exercises. But I didn`t say, that it`s easily to learn playing guitar.



At first, to play electric guitar masterly, you should begin with single string picking`s technique.  I would like to quote a passage from book called "Speed mechanics for lead guitar". The author of the book is Troy Stetina. He is a famous musician and a teacher which have gratuities about playing electric guitar:


"A further benefit of developing good alternate picking technique is with it you can play any sequence of notes without having to figure out a picking system for it beforehand. You will be more free when improvising, since you won't have to limit yourself to prearranged patterns. You will be able to create and play new ideas without having to practice that sequence specifically. When your picking requires no thought to execute, all you have to think about is music".

And now some rules, that you should remember by playing single string picking:

Firstly, you should play only single string picking. It`s important, because in the beginning it`s easy to get out of time. Quite often it happens, that after stroke down it`s easier play a note with stroke down. It`s inadmissible. You should always check what you are doing.

Secondly, you should stifle strings with a rib of the right hand. How is it doing? Just keep your hand near bridge and deaden all strings, that are lower (in a pitch and in a thickness of view) the sounding string.  I know, for beginner guitarists it`s difficult.

Thirdly, try to play slowly.  It`s not obligatory to play solo`s Joe Satriani or Chris Impellitteri after the first training week. Forget about duration and play in your tempo. You should do all right, because to improve the technique of single string picking is very complicated. And that`s why you should do all.

Fourthly, let`s speak about hand training and how to keep mediator. Every guitarist is of his own opinion. I advise you to watch your idol`s video taking note of these moments. Start your practice with great guitarists’ imitation. Try to notice how are keeping their mediators Steve Vai, Ingvie Malmsteen. With time you get used to certain hand`s position, to mediator`s position and you even won`t take note of this.  As for mediator you shouldn`t bend him very low or high. Try to keep mediator perpendicularly or under a little corner.

Fifthly. Play under metronomeIt helps you to develop a sense of rhythm. Many guitarists can play quickly. But not all give enough attention to play under metronome. Think, who need a guitarist that can play fifteen notes in a second, but that can`t play rhythmically.

Sixthly, you shouldn’t wave to and fro. See to it that mediator doesn`t keep from strings far. The less motion, the large speed. And as for speed, we will measure her in a stroke every second by playing sixteenth notes. So, if I say: «Play this exercise with a speed 140 you already know, that you should switch on the metronome 140 BPM and play Sixteenth.

Eventually, speaking about economical efficiency, let`s pick out the sixth rule – keep the left hand`s fingers in a big distance from a fingerboard. It will be two centimeters, not large. Here all is clear.

Let`s see the exercises. The first part is from Troy Stetina’s book.

Exercise 1. Repeat in all strings.


Exercise 2. Repeat in all strings.


Exercise 3. A short melodic sequence.  Play only in the first string. Don`t forget to look at fingering.


Exercise 4. A longer sequence. Try to learn every bar without metronome, and then play whole.


Exercise 5. The same.

And some exercises from Terry Sairek`s book called “Shred is not dead”.

Exercise 6. Play only in the first string.

Exercise 7. Fingers stretching. Play in the second string. And don`t forget to look at fingering.

Now I can to congratulate you. The first lesson is over. Some words about playing. At first you should become clear with a speed. You are a beginner, and what is your maximum? – 70 BPM? Ok! You should play different tempo: slowly, briskly, and normally. And alternate, a slow tempo let be 50 BPM, a brisk tempo – 60. For example play five minutes slowly, then five minutes briskly and so on. The last, what I want to supplement, play better an hour every day, than twelve hours at Sunday. You can make a schedule, if you want. That`s all depends on your imagination and on your aspiration for perfection.  Don`t forget to write a commentary or reference in a forum. It helps to make the next lessons more informative. Move up to the lesson Cross string picking only after then you can play all exercises with a speed 70. Good luck!


Переменный штрих на одной струне
Переменный штрих. Гаммы.
Штрих при переходе со струны на струну
Упражнения из ада
Переменный штрих. Секвенции.
Теппинг на одной струне
Как написать убийственную ритм партию?
Трехструнный свип
Введение в ритм гитару
Теппинг на всем грифе
Переменный штрих. Первая ступень.
Основы легато
Краткий обзор
Даунстрок риффы
Три способа взять флажолет
Технические приемы. Основы.
Четырехструнный свип
От Хэви к Трешу

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