Pick and Choose

So much emphasis is placed on playing well with your fingering hand that often our rhythm hand technique falls behind the curve.

For example; can you play faster and cleaner notes using hammer-ons and pull-offs rather than picking each note individually?

Using your pick and choosing what strings to play is extremely important in developing your overall technique.

Picking the proper strings precisely enables you to add more depth and color to your music.

One of the most useful ways I applied this to my playing was with distinct sounding power chords. This involves playing only the notes of a chord that produce the heavy sound we rockers like so much.

For example, one of the ways an A power chord can be played is like this using only 2 strings:

 A Power Chord
         6 5 4 3 2 1
         E A D G B E

         X o   x x x
Fret 1   | | | | | |
         - - - - - -
Fret 2   | | 1 | | |
         - - - - - -
Fret 3   | | | | | |
         - - - - - -

See how, in order to get the proper sound, you must be accurate and play only the 5th and 4th strings, keeping the others quiet.

Another advantage is the ability to accurately pick individual strings when fingering chords. This also adds a lot of flavor to your playing and, when mixed with alternately picked scales, can really allow your creativity to soar!

I've tabbed out the intro to one my tunes, "Over Age" that will help you focus on your picking accuracy. It involves manipulating the basic Am and Em open chords using string skipping and single note runs.

         A minor        E minor
         6 5 4 3 2 1    6 5 4 3 2 1
         E A D G B E    E A D G B E

         X o       o    o     o o o
Fret 1   | | | | 1 |    | | | | | |
         - - - - - -    - - - - - -
Fret 2   | | 2 3 | |    | 2 2 | | |
         - - - - - -    - - - - - -
Fret 3   | | | | | |    | | | | | |
         - - - - - -    - - - - - -

Need help reading Tablature?

This is played in 4/4 time and the general feel of the notes are 16ths.

LEGATO
Am form
          p
E ----------------------------o---------------------
B ------1-o-------------o-------o-------------------
G ----2-----2---------2---2-------------------------
D --2---------2-----2-------2-----------------------
A o-------------------------------------------------
E --------------o-1---------------------------------



Am form
                            h p
E ------1---o---------------------------------------
B ------------o---3---2---o-1-o---------------------
G ----2---2-----2---------------2-------------------
D --2---------------2---2---------------------------
A o-------------------------------------------------
E --------------------------------------------------



Am form             Em form

E --------------------------------------------------
B ------------------------o-----2-----o-----3-------
G --------------------------o-----o-----o-----o-----
D 2-3-2-o---------------2-----2-----2-----2-----2---
A --------3-2-o-------2-----------------------------
E --------------3-1-o-------------------------------



E -------------------------------------------------
B o-----2-----o-----3------------------------------
G --o-----o-----o----------------------------------
D ----2-----2-----2--------------------------------
A -------------------------------------------------
E -------------------------------------------------



FIRST ENDING
E ---------------------------
B ---------------------------
G o--------------------------
D --3-2-o--------------------
A --------3-2-o--------------
E --------------3------------
REPEAT



SECOND ENDING

Am form

    h     h p h p h p h p  ~~~~
E ---------------------------
B o-2---o-2-o-2-o-2-o-2-o----
G o-----o--------------------
D 2-----o--------------------
A 2-----2--------------------
E ---------------------------
END

Remember, your goal is a clear crisp sound as well as keeping all the notes flowing, especially when the single note runs kick in.

by Will Landrum
www.guitarconsultant.com

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