Bluegrass, country, jazz; these are three genres that many guitarists, especially those brought up on radio-friendly classic rock and modern rock, either overlook, or simply look at with distaste.
However, these are also three genres that have some of the best guitar playing in modern music. In fact, these three genres employ techniques that rock and roll musicians often pick up on and twist to their own purposes.
In this article, we’ll talk about one of the most popular of these techniques, hybrid guitar picking.
Well, to put it quite simply, hybrid picking is a combination of finger picking and picking with a guitar pick. This is one of those techniques that—because it is so different from most modern techniques and because it takes two different common techniques and puts them together, making on technique—is difficult to get a hang of at first.
The first thing that you should focus on is simply holding the pick. Many guitarists have issues with their picking hands at first, so if you haven’t developed a basic picking technique beforehand, it is best that you do so before approaching hybrid picking.
The same goes for finger picking; if you don’t have any experience with finger picking, or if you struggle with the basics of finger picking, then it will be best for you to take the time to develop your technique, as it won’t get any easier by combining it with another technique—it will get harder.
The pick should be held between your thumb and your index finger. Your middle finger and your ring finger will be the fingers that do the finger picking portion of the hybrid picking technique.
The hybrid guitar picking technique is, in retrospect, simply a finger picking technique that uses a pick for the bass strings instead of the thumb. So, take for instance a basic walking bass line melody with some treble strings thrown in.
If you are playing between the low E string and the B string and high E strings, the pick will act as the thumb would if you were to play using a finger picking technique; it is dedicated to the low E string.
The middle finger and the ring finger would play the same role as they would if this were a finger picking piece as well; they would alternate between the B string and the high E string. Sounds simple enough, right? Well it is; the only hard part is getting used to using the pick as a thumb and keeping the middle finger and the ring finger independent. And trust us, that isn’t easy at first.
The best way to get better at the hybrid guitar picking technique is to simply practice. Take some time each day to work on your technique, playing along to a metronome so that you keep a steady rhythm throughout your playing. When you get a bit of confidence, try speeding up a little and play at a higher tempo. Have fun, and good luck!
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