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The Techniques Portal


Welcome to the techniques portal!

The guitar is such a cool instrument because it allows for so many different techniques. Typical shred techniques are sweep picking and tapping, while most guitar styles use alternate picking. Classical guitarists often use fingerstyle technique - while rock guitarists use a pick.

Featured Article

Todd Simpson
Todd Simpson

Todd Simpson - Shred Journey


In this course, I'll be showing you how to get started with "Alternate Picking". In this lesson, I will try to assume nothing. We will start at the very beginning and work out way up. The goal of this series is to take you from 0 to 60 BPM (Beats Per Minute) and beyond. Once you can keep your alternate your picking steady and go across strings, you are ready to begin working up your speed. All it takes is practice.

Please do not use any sort of profanity or try to start any off topic discussions that don't pertain to our coursework here. If you fail to adhere to this policy, you may be removed from participating in this class. I can't wait to get started and begin hearing feedback from you. Lets do it!

As we go through these lessons, I really do hope that you will feel free to participate and share your attempts at the lessons with me for review and feedback. I'll check in to answer questions and provide feedback on a regular basis, so if you have questions as you go, please ask user posted image If you have a camera/web cam of your own, think about recording your lessons and posting them to a site like YouTube.com. It's free and it's a great way to track your progress and for me to be able to see you play and provide feedback and further instruction. Also, it's a great way to get used to playing under pressure so to speak. Eventually, as you play in front of audiences, you will get your "Stage Legs". This just means that you won't as nervous playing in front of people as you may initially be. With video, it's a good way to start heading that direction. You may find that something you could play very well, suddenly seems harder once there is a camera on you. This is not true for everyone, but it is a common theme. If you can get used to playing in front of a camera and learn to summon your talent at will, it can serve as a great way to get used to playing at your best level despite being filmed, watched, critiqued, applauded, or even heckled. So start recording yourself playing and start posting it to a video sharing site. It's a great way to connect with other players as well as to track your own progress. After a while, you will be able to look back on your older videos and see how much you've improved and that is a great feeling.

Before we begin, let's talk a bit about time and practice. Life is a bussy thing and the only way to get better is to take control of your time and carve out time to practice each day. It is not easy in our hectic lives to find that time, but it is critical that you manage your time in such a way as to allow for daily practice, seven days a week if at all possible. Five days a week at a minimum. If you can, try to spend an hour each day with your instrument.

Before playing, always try to do some gentle stretches with your hands and wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the bane of any musician. Avoid it by stretching lightly before and after playing. Also, do the usual things to help maintain yourself like getting enough sleep, and not over doing it when going out when friends. Learning an instrument can be made much easier by taking care of yourself so that your mind is clear and focused when you sit down to practice and learn.

I'm looking forward to teaching you how to get from 0 to 60 and beyond!


The Lessons

LESSON #1 - Getting Started With Alternate Picking
LESSON #2 - Adding Notes
LESSON #3 - Reversing Patterns /Changing Strings
LESSON #4 - Right Hand / Left Hand Synchronization
LESSON #5 - Back and Forth
LESSON #6 - Pedal Point/Tone
LESSON #7 - Back and Forth Revisted from lower to higher strings
LESSON #8 - Different shapes on different strings
LESSON #9 - Building speed
LESSON #10 - Incorporating Inversions
LESSON #11 - Inverting Inversions
LESSON #12 - Sliding
LESSON #13 - Using Full Scales and Inversions
LESSON #14 - Building Speed on Open Strings
LESSON #15 - Introduction to "Economic Picking / Directional Picking"
LESSON #16 - Triad Shapes Across 3 Strings
LESSON #17 - Using "Back and Forth" techniques in full scales
And More!

Lesson Series by Todd Simpson

Important Articles

Sweep Picking FAQ

Having trouble with sweep picking? See if this Sweep Picking FAQ answers any of your questions.

Pick Holding

Not sure how to hold a pick? Check out this article on Pick Holding.

Tips for developing an accurate and fast left hand technique

Want to improve your left hand technique? Check out these Tips for developing an accurate and fast left hand technique.

Palm Muting

Want to learn about a cool rhythm guitar technique? Have a look at this awesome article by Azzaboi on Palm Muting.

Left Hand FAQ

Got any queries or worries about your fretting hand technique? Then check out this Left Hand FAQ.

Right Hand FAQ

Got any queries or worries about your picking hand technique? Then check out this Right Hand FAQ.

An A to Z of picking techniques

"There are several formerly recognised picking techniques, yet it is surprising how many guitar players, even experienced ones, do not even know they exist. Or to put things more correctly, they know they exist as they have probably developed the same picking techniques themselves, yet they are unaware that they are actual recognised and named techniques. more"

Avoid Injuries!

  • We all want to practice for as long as we have spare time, but that might be a very costly mistake! Read more in Guitar and Injury.

Check our Guitar Glossary

Things you can do!

  • Why not create or expand an article about your favourite technique?