String Skipping Technique For Guitar - Lesson 1

It's really funny when you hear some guitar players talk about string skipping. They talk about it as if it's some unusual, amazing (even magical) new thing. So what is it, I hear you ask?

String skipping is when you play a note one string and then move to play a note on a nonadjacent string. That's all!

One of the main reasons why you might want to learn string skipping is that it is a really convenient way to play large intervals. And also…it sounds cool. (Just by skipping over a string or two you can create a very angular sound).

In this string skipping lesson we'll take a look at two useful string skipping mechanics. We'll then apply those mechanics to a scale, which will allow us to create a cool-sounding string skipping exercise.

So, let's get started with the first mechanic…

String Skipping Mechanic #1:

String Skipping Mechanic 1

You might not have come across this sort of diagram before. It's the way that I write down mechanics. It makes total sense to me. But just in case your brain doesn't work the same way as mine, here's what it means…

  • On a string of your choice play a note using a downstroke.
  • Hammer-on to another note on the same string.
  • Skip over one string and move to a thinner string by playing a note on that string with a downstroke.
  • Hammer-on to another note on the same string.

Clear as mud? Don't panic. I'll be showing you a musical example soon. But before we look at that, we need to look at the second mechanic…

String Skipping Mechanic #2:

String Skipping Mechanic 2

This string skipping mechanic is the reverse version of the first mechanic. And here's what it means…

  • On a string of your choice play a note using a downstroke.
  • Pull-off to a second note on the same string.
  • Skip over one string and move to a thicker string by playing a note on the new string with a downstroke.
  • Pull-off to another note on the same string.

Right. Let's now take a look at an actual musical example. This will allow you to see the string skipping mechanics in action…

String Skipping Exercise 1:

String Skipping Exercise 1

Here are a few important points about this exercise…

  • The entire exercise is made up from notes of the B Minor Pentatonic scale. (This scale is constructed from the following notes: B D E F# and A).
  • The first measure of the exercise uses String Skipping Mechanic #1. Notice that I repeat the mechanic four times.
  • The second measure of the exercise uses String Skipping Mechanic #2. I repeat this mechanic four times.
  • All picking for the exercise is done using downstrokes.

To make things even clearer, here is the same exercise with boxes drawn around each repetition of the mechanics…

String Skipping Ex 1 Explained

Your Homework

Before you move onto the next string skipping lesson I recommend doing the following…

  • Read this lesson again and make sure that you understand the two string skipping mechanics that we looked at.
  • Memorize and practice String Skipping Exercise 1. Be sure that you can play it cleanly in a relaxed way before you start using a metronome. Once you can play it easily without your metronome, then you are ready to start metronoming it. I recommend practicing the exercise as quarter notes. This means that you will play one note per click of your metronome. (We will be looking at more advanced timings in the next lesson. But for now focus on slow, clean and even practice of the exercise).

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