Jun 30, 2008

String Skipping

In this lesson we're going to take a look at a very helpful tactic. That tactic is string skipping. What is string skipping? well, its quite self explanatory. It literally is the process of skipping a string and sometimes even multiple strings. The more strings the harder, but don't let this deter you, for with a little practice, this technique can be as easy as pie.

Let's say that in a common scenario, there were some notes that you wanted to reach in a guitar passage. Let us also theorize that these notes were all on the same string, which is a common scenario, considering that all notes can be found on any string on the guitar. However, it is also uneconomical to try and move the hand up to a fret that is 8 frets away, when playing a fast passage. Generally, these notes that are conveniently out of reach, can be found on another string, but in some cases those notes are so high, or low that they can only be reached by skipping a string in between.

In other words, you would have to skip a string to reach these notes, in order to keep a close "tab" on these notes for purposes of economical picking.

The fastest and most fluid guitarists know, that when it comes to picking, it is always a matter of economical picking. To refine that thought, they realize that playing at incredibly fast speeds is enough of a challenge, (a challenge worth pursuing), but also that no composer would ever say that "that series of notes would be amazing together, but I cannot chain them together, so I will forget about it". There ARE solutions.

The limitations only reside in the mind. Remember, someone came up with this idea, as simple as it is, which means that where you find limitations yourself, you can surely find answers. In other words, man will not take no for an answer.

I have developed a simple exercise to counteract this problem, and again, the key is to start slow. Get the coordination down and slowly increase your speed.

Take comfort in knowing that when I incorporate string skipping into my own playing, I generally have to work with it as well, because it generally involves a new collection of notes for a specific piece that I am working on.

Take sweep picking for instance. A guitarist could be outstanding at the general approach to sweep picking, but when that guitarist hears something that must be recorded, in his or her head, they will generally encounter something new and challenging. They will work with it, and cannot let it go. To do so, would mean that they would never know, just how beautiful a passage could have been.

So, also take comfort in knowing that even the best guitarists are being constantly challenged with something that would seem unattainable, yet is always realistically achievable.

As a side note. There is no video for this lesson. At least for right now. The reason for this is because I strained my picking hand and I know better than to push things, so I'm going to take a couple of days off from playing (which is going to kill me), but I'm not going to take a couple of days off from GuitArticles.

I'm not really sure how I did it, but I live on a farm and there's a lot of physical work to be done, so chances are it happened that way.

This can be educational as well. If you have this kind of stress in your hands, just refrain and relax. Allow the muscles to soften and release from a spasmed state. Give yourself a few days and think about other things. I've talked for long enough. Start skippin' away.

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