String Skipping (Guitar Lesson)


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Brad Henecke

String Skipping

Brad covers proper string skipping technique and gives you some exercises that will speed up your playing.

Taught by Brad Henecke in Speed and Technique seriesLength: 8:10Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (08:15) String Skipping What Is String Skipping?

Quite simply, string skipping occurs when you pick a note on one string and the following note is not located on an adjacent string. Switching from one string to an adjacent string is known as a string crossing. You may be skipping from the 6th string to the fourth. Or, you may need to skip as far as the low E string to the E string. The more strings you skip, the harder it is to maintain a high level of exercise. With a little practice and proper technique however, all string skips will seem equally effortless.

String skipping occurs most frequently in arpeggiated chord progressions. Villa Lobos' Etude no. 1 consists almost entirely of arpeggiated chords. (A transcription of this piece can be found in the "Supplemental Content" section of Matt Brown's ninth jazz lesson.) "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" by Radiohead and "December" by Collective Soul are two popular songs in the rock genre that consist almost entirely of arpeggiated, string skipping patterns. Notated excerpts from these songs can be found in the "Supplemental Content" section of this lesson.

String skipping also occurs very frequently with in a melodic context. Estudios No. 1 by Dionisio Aguado is commonly used as a string skipping etude. An excerpt from this piece can be found in the "Supplemental Content" section as well. String skipping adds some larger intervals to a melodic line, which produce some unique colors. Most rock players only play seconds and thirds when playing a solo. This can create a rather stagnant and repetitious sound.

Rules for String Skipping

Do not let your wrist rest on the bridge when playing material that involves a large amount of string skipping. This technique is recommended by almost all guitarists when string skipping. Many players advocate that you play with this technique all the time EXCEPT when palm-muting. All of the old jazz greats played this way: Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery etc. This keeps the wrist most relaxed. It also gives you the widest and most unrestricted range of movement. Certain pieces of music are extremely difficult to play with the wrist anchored to the bridge. Anchoring fingers to the pickguard makes these pieces absolutely impossible. You may find it helpful to slightly tuck your fingers into the palm of your hand. DMAC exclusively plays with this technique.

Note: Check out Matt Brown's ninth jazz lesson pertaining to proper technique for more information about string skipping.

In all of the following exercises, pay very close attention to the left hand fingerings that Brad uses.

Exercise 1

This exercise takes you through the first box of the A minor pentatonic scale. In this exercise, you must only skip over one string. If the left hand is getting in the way, you can play this with just open strings. Then, add the left hand in later when you feel ready.

Exercise 2

This exercise is very similar to Exercise 1. This time however, start with the highest note on each string first, and play the lower note on each string second.

Exercise 3

This is the fifth box of the minor pentatonic scale played in second position. Similar to Exercise 1, you are starting with the lowest available note on each string.

Exercise 4

Similar to Exercise 2. Start with the highest available note on each string in this particular position of the pentatonic scale.

Build Your Own Licks

Use the examples that Brad has taught you to build your own licks. Experiment with string skipping in the context of the pentatonic scale. Let your ears guide you to some exciting new licks and sounds.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


Kingpin615Kingpin615 replied on November 25th, 2014

It almost sounds weird when played slow but the speed picking makes it really come to life

peterholsonpeterholson replied on June 4th, 2012

sonds great played fast

rblgeniusrblgenius replied on February 13th, 2008

I love how he makes jokes to himself throughout the lesson. Great lesson, something I need to work on. THANKS!

BodeyBodey replied on November 19th, 2007

k

Speed and Technique

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Technique is extremely important to playing in any style of music. Perfect technique combined with blazing speed can take your playing to a whole new level.



Lesson 1

Series Introduction

Brad introduces his Speed and Technique series.

Length: 1:15 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Picking and Timing

Brad Henecke covers proper picking technique and gives a basic lesson on notes/timing.

Length: 6:10 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Picking and Downstrokes

This lesson is all about the downstroke. Brad discusses technique and shows you how to pick in different rhythmic groupings.

Length: 5:20 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Upstrokes

Brad covers the proper way to perform an upstroke.

Length: 4:16 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Alternate Picking

Brad Henecke covers alternate picking and how it can speed up your guitar playing.

Length: 5:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Alternate Picking with Upstrokes

Brad Henecke presents alternate picking exercises that start with an upstroke.

Length: 3:26 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Sweep Picking

Brad explains the basics of sweep picking in this fun speed building guitar lesson.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Economy Picking

Brad explains the basics of a technique called economy picking.

Length: 5:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Series Review

Brad provides a brief review of this series. He gives information regarding why technique is so important.

Length: 2:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

String Skipping

Brad covers proper string skipping technique and gives you some exercises that will speed up your playing.

Length: 8:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Hammer-on / Pull-off

This lesson is all about improving speed by applying hammer-ons and pull-offs. Learn some exercises that sound great and boost speed.

Length: 11:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Hammer-On Lick

Brad Henecke demonstrates a speed building lick that makes heavy use of hammer-ons.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only

About Brad Henecke View Full Biography Brad Henecke was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on May 5th of 1963. He has been a fan of music for as long as he & his family can remember. You could always find him running around the farm wailing on his cardboard guitar, pretending to be a member of the rock band KISS. Additional inspiration came during his first concert when he got the chance to see Boston & Sammy Hagar in the early 1970's.

This opened up a whole new world of rock and roll music for him; his parents noticed his growing interest in music and enrolled him into guitar lessons when he was 13.

From there he jumped into two years of lessons at a local music store in Cedar Rapids. After discovering Eddie Van Halen, Brad knew that the guitar would always be a part of his life. He took his love throughout the city as he played as a pit musician & jammed at parties for friends.

This made him thirsty for more. He enrolled classes at Kirkwood Community College & also took lessons from the one & only Craig-Erickson (www.craig-erickson.com).

His love for music landed him a gig opening for Molly Hatchet in Cedar Rapids with a band called "Slap & Tickle". He has also played in the Greeley Stampede show for quite a few years with "True North".

Brad is currently playing in Greeley, Colorado with a rock band titled "Ragged Doll". They play a wide variety of music with an emphasis on classic rock from the 60's to present, with Brad playing electric guitar in the five piece lineup.

He currently jams on his all-time favorite guitar: a Paul Reed Smith Custom 24. Beyond guitar, he plays also plays drums & bass guitar. He has also been known to thrash a banjo from time to time. He is still actively playing & passing his 31 years of playing experience on to others (you!).

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