Picking Archives - Riff Ninja

Category Archives for "Picking"

Intermediate Guitar Riffs – Open Flat Picking Riffs

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This lesson will be discussing flat picking, and combining relative major and minor scales. The subject of relative major and minor scales is something that you need to know to get started on your flat picking. This lesson will really improve your guitar riffs.

Flat picking is basically just using a flat pick. You can use your fingers too if you want, but this lesson will be dealing strictly with the pick.

Let’s start with the key of C, and use the I – IV – V. This lesson is not for beginners, but for someone who has played for a little while and knows some chords and scales. The I – IV – V of C is C (I), F (IV), and G (V).

Any picking using open strings and chords is flat picking.

You’ve probably seen the Am chord in a lot of C major songs. That is because Am is the relative minor of C major.

A lot times, people will teach the C major scale in the open position. It’s right, it’s the correct scale. But what about lower and higher notes? The best way to do it is to play the relative minor scale – this gives you the full spectrum.

The secret is that you have to end on the C note, not on the A or any other note. That’s because even though you are in the key of Am for your scale, C major is still your relative major.

So the Am scale works really well over the chords of C – F – G, because it’s the relative minor of C major. Just make sure you resolve your soloing on the C note.

The way to practice it is to loop a chord progression; get a friend to play the C – F – G, and then start messing with the Am scale. Play it over top of the chords and you’ll discover that the notes all fit in – they’re all relative. So any Am scale will work with C major because it’s relative.

Watch on Youtube

Intro to Fingerstyle Guitar

Fingerstyle guitar can look quite complicated to newcomers, but it is mainly about following patterns. Coordination and patience are the two keys to getting a good technique.

There are plenty of myths concerning the ‘right approach’ for fingerstyle guitar, and some guitar lessons will say you will need long nails in order to pluck the strings properly. But this is not the case; many players will incorporate different styles that will require shorter nails on the picking hand, And if you think of all the different finger-picking styles out there – folk, blues, flamenco, jazz to name a few – you will see it is more important to develop a style that suits the music you want to play.

Intro to Fingerstyle Guitar:

Watch on Youtube


Alternate Picking Guitar Lesson

If you want to speed up your picking speed, there is no better way than to learn alternate picking.

Alternate picking is the key to increasing your speed, because it ensures accuracy. If you’re constantly deciding (or just letting your hand figure it out!) which direction to pick, you’re not going to hit your optimal speed – you have to remove this decision by making it in advance!

Alternate picking is sometimes referred to as “Down – Up” picking, because that’s basically what it is. Alternate picking is simple making sure that your hand is always going down up down up down up, regardless of the direction you’re actually moving on the fretboard.

Hand in hand (pun intended) with alternate picking is the function of your left hand -the hand on the fretboard. You need to have good technique there as well, or else any speed you attain with the alternate picking will somewhat useless.

What’s the best way to practice alternate picking? Repetition! And lots of it! 🙂 Trust us on this one, because if you don’t deal with bad picking habits now, a few years down the road you’ll be kicking yourself and have to relearn how to pick through your scales! Not so much fun… This is one of those guitar lessons that really pays off further down the road.

So use a metronome, or play along with a jam track…

The Alternate Picking Guitar Lesson:

Watch the Alternate Picking Lesson on Youtube