Picking Hand Basics

by Ben Higgins

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  • Difficulty: 2
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  • Hi GMC and welcome to my latest lesson. I created a lesson that focuses entirely on the picking hand because I felt there were too many added difficulties and distractions with lessons and exercises that have various fretting hand patterns to combine with the picking hand. The fretting hand work is minimal, just requiring you to shift position in time.

    By allowing ourselves to narrow down our focus, we can theoretically make better progress than if we widen our focus to include too many actions. This approach works well for me and it may work well for you too.

    This is aimed at players that are taking their first steps in alternate picking. I want to help you encourage a natural, flowing picking action which derives from your natural hand position. A lot of players may sometimes change their hand/thumb/pick positions when they encounter higher speeds without realizing it. I want you to identify with the natural, comfortable hand position that your body gravitates towards and use that as your starting point.

    We're not tackling very high speeds.. we start off slow with 8th notes then slightly speed up with some 8th note triplets and then we shift to a combination of 8th notes and 16th notes which takes us to the end.

    Throughout this lesson, I want you to concentrate on keeping in time and staying relaxed but keeping the picking positive, not lazy. You may find that if you are new to alternate picking, you may grip your pick harder because you're concentrating so much. This is natural and normal. However, after you get used to the motions you can ease off your pick grip a little and relax more.

    I also recommend practicing whilst standing up as this allows all your joints and muscles from your neck, through your shoulders, elbows and down to your hands to be in their most natural and neutral position. Gravity is on your side to help stay relaxed.

    If you need any help you can message me anytime.

    Enjoy !


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