Hybrid Picking Overview | Hub Guitar

Hybrid Picking Overview

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Hi, this is Hub Guitar.

Hybrid picking is a technique for players that that want to accompany or play solo guitar with the texture of fingerstyle, but want to play lead guitar with the speed of pick style.

When you're holding the pick using the thumb and index finger, you still have your middle, ring and pinky fingers free. Hybrid pickers use the pick and these remaining 3 fingers to increase their flexibility.

I'm going to show you some basic hybrid picking exercises, and if you decide you want to build up this technique, you can take those exercises and elaborate on them and come up your own.

First let's do some chord pops. We'll just play all of the notes of a chord together at once.

Next, we'll do some rolls. This is similar to how you might practice fingerstyle guitar, but now you're using your pick instead of the thumb, and you are going to use your middle, ring and pinky fingers instead of index, middle and ring. And one more thing you can do , you can play multiple strings at once like this.

So try these out, and decide if the hybrid picking is a style you'll commit time to developing. If so, you can play most fingerstyle and solo guitar arrangements using this technique.

Hybrid Picking

  • Form a chord with the fretting hand.
  • Holding a pick in the picking hand, pluck the bass note with the pick and three additional notes with middle (m), ring (a) and pinky (q) fingers.
  • Take care to patiently practice with the pinky to get it up to speed.

Similar to fingerpicking, hybrid picking is a technique used by guitar players who want to have the advantage of being able to pick several different strings at a time, but without ever letting go of the pick.

Abbreviations Used

Finger:PickMiddle FingerRing FingerPinky

The hybrid picker holds the pick between the thumb and first finger, as normal, and uses the middle, ring and pinky fingers to pick other strings.

For the purpose of this tutorial, the designations will be used to distinguish the fingers from the plectrum. “v” will represent the pick; “m” will represent the middle finger; “a” will represent the ring finger and “q” will represent the pinky finger.

Exercises for Hybrid Picking

Chord Pops

Technique #1: Popping the chord
Form any chord, and play four of its notes at once. You can use this technique to pluck out particular rhythmic patterns instead of just strumming the chord. You can also intersperse these “pops” with chord strums, because you will have the pick in hand the entire time.

Arpeggiated Chords

Technique #2. Rolls
Play the chord straight up, one note at a time (v, m, a, q). Do this very slowly for a long time until you can do it cleanly and accurately. Then practice this roll in reverse (q, a, m, v) and then finally up and down (v, m, a, q, a, m, v). When you’ve mastered this hybrid picking pattern, play some of your favorite chord progressions with this technique.

Broken Chords

Technique #3. Combinations
Play the outer two notes of the chord together (v, q), followed by the inner two notes (m, a). Play (v, a) and (a, q) as well. Also try playing the bass note (v) followed by all three chord notes (m, a, q).

Key Points

  • Hybrid picking is a great compromise for players who want to use the pick for lead but also want to include finger-picking.

As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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