This post concludes my “Rock Triage”,3 technique exercises
that cover the main challenges guitarists face;
1.- They can’t stretch far enough.
2.- They can’t play fast enough.
3.- They keep picking the wrong strings.
All 3 exercises are simple and cover the problems in a
general way. Once you get them down, you can do all 3 in
10-15 minutes a day, 4 or 5 days a week. You should start
seeing progress in a few weeks. In this post I will focus
on the 3rd exercise, cross-picking. I basically got the
idea for this one from a Berklee Book exercise called,
“Endurance Etude”. I took the basic idea and switched it
to a pentatonic scale and simplified it a bunch! This is
done using the 1st position of the pentatonic scale, I
have written it in the key of Amin/Cmaj because why not?
You should leave your 4th finger planted on the 1st
string, 8th fret through out the exercise. Use the other
3 fingers to play the rest of the scale. Pick 100% down
and up(down=v and up=^).
v ^ v ^ etc.
At first, you will probably need to look at your pick (to
hit the correct strings) but try to play without looking
as soon as you can, even with a few mistakes. Learn how
to play by feel! Speed is not the main goal here, picking
the strings cleanly is.
This wraps up the technique stuff. I still do all 3
exercises first thing in my morning practice routine, it
takes 5-10 minutes and allows me to warm up and stretch
out for the rest of the day. Good luck!