String Skipping for Lead Guitar | Hub Guitar

String Skipping for Lead Guitar

How to Skip Strings

  1. This technique works well on patterns with two notes per scale, such as pentatonic scales.
  2. Using an alternate picking pattern for each string, first pluck string 6, then 4, then 5 and 3, 4 and 3, 3 and 1.
  3. Reverse the pattern

Why Learn String Skipping?

String skipping, just as the name sounds, involves “skipping” over strings. This is useful because we won’t always want to move across the strings in a perfectly linear fashion. We may sometimes want to pluck the lowest string, and then the highest string immediately after. Jumping over strings can be difficult. Without accuracy, we’re sure to hit the wrong string. Practicing string skipping is a very powerful way to build your picking hand accuracy and control.

Let’s start with a simple warm-up. The purpose of this is to test the distances of the various skips, trying them all repeatedly. It’s probably best to stick to alternate picking for this.

String Skipping Warmup

Fret the E major chord (left). Make sure all of the notes ring clearly. Now, alternate between playing the sixth string and fifth, sixth and fourth. The note on the sixth string is a “drone” note. You can also change the drone note to any other string, such as the fifth string.

String Skipping Scales

String skipping can be difficult to master during single lines, where errors are more obvious than they are for chords. Try playing this pentatonic scale using a string-skipping pattern, and then adapt it to the other four pentatonic scale positions.

String Skipping Etudes

If you’re looking for a way to really improve your coordination on the guitar, one of the best ways in the world is to classical music single-note etudes. They are highly technically demanding and require many different string skips. Many amazing players from all styles (rock, jazz, country, etc.) have benefited from practicing classical guitar etudes. For string skipping, why not try Carcassi’s Opus 60, No. 7?

Key Points

  • Memorize the fret-hand part of the exercise. When you practice string skipping, you should be looking at your picking hand.
  • String skipping can significantly improve your picking accuracy, allowing you to play more quickly and fluently.
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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