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Guitar Picking Exercises
Learn how to use the guitar pick

Now that you're a little more familiar with the fretboard and know the strings, we can move on to some picking exercises. A good idea is to get both hands working together. The picking hand has to know what the fretting hand is doing. To get these two in sync, we need to do a few exercises. When you alternate your picking down and up, this will help build up speed and dexterity. One of the hardest things to learn on the guitar is how to properly pick each note. The next couple lessons will be some of the most challenging and important to learn and must be practiced everyday.

Your first exercise is for your picking hand only. You will be starting with the Low E string. Remember to alternate the pick down and then up. I personally use a pick, but some musicians choose not to. However, there are some songs that I use my fingers to pick. In time you will find your style. Some guitars may not have a pick guard, maybe a classical guitar, so be careful with the pick if you use one. Once you become comfortable with these exercises, start from the High E = thinnest string and work your way back up. Don't worry about fretting the guitar, this is just for the picking hand. However, if you would like to fret notes, go for it. In our next lesson we will do the exercises to build up the fretting hand.

Guitar picking and holding the guitar pick

The illustration below, shows how I hold the pick. It takes time to get use to holding the pick, but in time it will become more comfortable. If you need to learn how to read tablature, you can go to that lesson first. The letters below represent the picking motion, d equals pick down and u equals pick up. Each letter is placed on the particular string you pick. Start on the Low E string which is the largest string, on the illustration below, then move to the A string next. You will be picking each string only once on the first exercise.

A -------u------------------
E --d-----------------------

Now you will be picking each string 2 times, each time you will alternate the picking motion down then up. Once again you will start with the Low E string or largest string.

A --------d-u---------------------------
E --d-u---------------------------------

Now you will pick each string 3 times.

A -----------u-d-u------------------------------------
E --d-u-d---------------------------------------------

Now you will pick each string 4 times.

A -------------d-u-d-u----------------------------------------------
E --d-u-d-u---------------------------------------------------------


Tune your guitar

Practice each picking exercise as much as possible. Remember to alternate the pick.

Review the guitar fretboard chapter each day or until you have it memorized.

If your up to it, check out the finger exercises at that particular chapter.

If your really up to it, pick the Am pentatonic scale, root note fret but not required yet.

Lesson 4

In our last lesson you were asked to fill in the notes of the Low and High E Strings. Your illustration should look something like the one below. Notice that both E strings have the same notes, located at the same frets. Notice how each note repeats after 12 frets.

In our last lesson you were also asked to tune your guitar. It's a good idea to always tune your guitar while increasing the tension. Tuning the guitar is not an easy task and it will take sometime to learn. Don't let this discourage you. Every step along the way will need time to learn. Each day you should practice something new. Always go back to the previous lessons and you will notice how much you have actually learned. I believe everyone should own a guitar tuner. They work great for both acoustic and electric.

Good Luck,

Guitar Secrets


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