Fast Picking Sequence on 2 Strings

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Ok, I have a nice little lesson for you today… The last few lessons were
mostly geared toward beginners so I thought I would teach something more
advanced today.

I was playing around in the key of C major. The first thing I will mention
is the incredible value of learning a scale (such as C major) EVERYWHERE
on the neck.

One great tool to help you learn your favorite scales all over the neck
in record time is the guitar scale system. You get that tool free when
you join the guitar god club.

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Join the Guitar God Club.

Ok, so anyway, back to the point – I was playing in C major and
I started playing some fast picking licks on the top 2 strings.
I wanted to come up with something cool that could be played fast,
and I came up with a pattern which is “symmetrical” in that
in can be moved up the neck “diatonically” and falls neatly within
a nice grouping of notes.

I am playing only on the B string and high E string for this entire
lesson.

Start off at the 10th fret, where I’m playing 3 notes (A, B, C),
and then 3 notes on the next string (D, E, F).

Straight up the scale, folks.

Then I turn around and go right back down, and go up one more
time… So the basic pattern is like this:

A B C D E F E D C B A B C D E F.

Notice that is 16 notes exactly. That is what I meant by
“falls neatly within a nice grouping of notes”.

Next, you repeat this idea but starting on the next note of
the scale, the B. We are still staying entirely inside the key
of C major. So, the intervals and the frets will change because
we are moving through the scale. In other words, we are not just
repeating the same shape, although we are repeating the same
basic pattern while staying in the scale. That is what I mean
when I say it moves up the neck diatonically.

If this is confusing, just follow the tabs.

We repeat this process two more times, so we are playing a 16-note
pattern starting on the A, then the B, then the C, and finally the D.
To end the lick, we go one fret higher and just play a final note, the
high C, which sounds great because its the root of the scale.

There’s a few tricks here to making this work.

First of all, you need to start on a downstroke and use
strict alternate picking. My personal tendency would be to
sweep from the 3rd note of the lick (a downstroke) into another
downstroke on the 4th note. But if you do that, you end up on the
16th note of the phrase doing a downstroke. And that makes it
extremely difficult to go into the next part of the lick smoothly.

Instead, use strict alternate picking – down, up, down, up, down, up.
That way, you’re playing the 16th note of the phrase with an upstroke
and you can play the next 16 notes exactly the same as the first 16 –
you’re just shifting position.

The key to making this sound musical and not like an exercise is to play
it fast. It’s one of those things that sounds better the faster you play it.
Not everything is like that, but this lick was designed for speed.

And finally, the key to building up your speed is to take it very slow
and accurate at first, and build your speed then. Again, if you don’t mind
me plugging my “guitar scale system” software, its a great way to build
any lick up to warp speed.

The example below is a MIDI file played at 160 bpm. If you can work it up even
faster, like 180 or 190 bpm, it really starts to smoke… Have fun.

I hope you enjoyed the lesson. Thanks for rocking with me.
Have a shreddin’ weekend.

[audio:https://www.claudejohnson.com/blog/audio/fast-picking-6-17-2010.mp3]

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