Lesson Series: “0 To 60, An Introduction to Alternate Picking” - Lesson 92

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Todd Simpson
Todd Simpson

LESSON #92 - Speed is a byproduct of precision

Lesson Series by Todd Simpson

Today's Lesson is PART II of LESSON 88. We are going to break down the rather complex backing and use it to stuffy alternate picking/economic picking while traversing strings. It's using 16th notes @ 120 Beats a minute. In other words, we are going to work on precision. After that, speed will just sorta "Happen"!

Here is a sample of what we are going to be working on with a bonus lead on it for extra fun smile.gif

FINGER YOGA! - Let’s do our usual Finger Yoga stretches. Here is a link to the video for reference.


OVERLOUD TH1 is just amazing and I"m using it for today's lesson. I"ve made a patch for you that needs no extra pre-amps or what not. Just plug in your guitar to your recording interface. No Amps were harmed in the making of this patch user posted image

Patch File (Zipped)
Patch Audio Demo


First up, let's do a warm up our fingers. We are going to do some Hybrid picking here to help increase our speed moving between strings. This is often the barrier between a player and his goal speed.

  • QUICK TIP: Take note of the pick stroke indicators in the tablature. It's the entire point of the pattern and of today's lesson.

Let's march this down the neck. Play it twice, then move down a fret. Start around 90 BPM and work as far up in speed as you can. Then slow down the metronome again to 90 and Double Pick the shape (play each note twice) this will further work your inside/outside picking.

Guitar Pro/Tux File (Tablature)



Let's try something a bit harder. This pattern is an extension of the first. Make sure to use "ECONOMIC PICKING" (Two of the same types of pick strokes in a row, in this case two down strokes.) per the tablature. It will make playing this shape at speed much simpler. (16th Notes @ 120 BPM) This speed doesn't seem that fast on one string. It's the constant back and forth between strings that makes it hard.

Don't forget to PALM MUTE every note.

Let's march this down the neck. Play it twice, then move down a fret. Start around 90 BPM and work as far up in speed as you can. Then slow down the metronome again to 90 and Double Pick the shape (play each note twice)

Guitar Pro/Tux File (Tablature)



It's time to work our stretch a bit! Let's extend this shape and put our finger yoga to good use!

Guitar Pro/Tux File (Tablature)



This version of the shape may feel a bit cramped as it requires a very short fret span. Also, I've changed the pattern a bit. Once all three shapes are put together, they are the backing track for today. A palm muted riff in E Minor. This riff has a Progressive Metal sort of vibe to it. Feel free to use it as a backing or for whatever you like once you can play it. It's under creative commons license so you can use it freely.

Guitar Pro/Tux File (Tablature)



Here is an alternate rythm to play in the B position on the way back up to the A. It provides a bit of variation. This is the way I'm playing it in the recorded backing for today. However, you can skip this if it makes the rythm to hard for now. It's up to you.

Guitar Pro/Tux File (Tablature)


Here is the backing with drums/bass.


Let's put all these bits together now and try to play with our backing. Start on the 5th Fret and play the parts one after another. Then back up to resolve on the A. So 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 would be the play order. You can use the alternate version of the middle lick on the way up if you like, as in the example, to provide a slightly differnt feel to the lick. But it will work without doing so as well.


Let's bring back our "TRIPEGGIOs"! Hopefully these are well under your control at this point. If you are new to these, they are just a mix between an Arpeggio and a Triad. They will fit well with our backing.

Use a down stroke to "Sweep" the first two notes, as you would in sweep picking. Then hammer on/pull off the rest, landing on the starting note. All three shapes are in the tablature below.

Guitar Pro/Tux File (Tablature)


Now experiment with the backing and come up with your own solo. Be sure to post it and share!