The 7 Best Hybrid Picking Exercises for Guitar

Aug 10, 2021 12:00 · 5002 words · 24 minute read

welcome in this lesson i’m going to show you the seven best hybrid picking exercises for guitar hybrid picking is the technique where we use the pick and the fingers with the right hand at the same time if you want to seamlessly switch between a pick style playing and a finger style playing hybrid picking is really great for that also if you’re a pick player and you want to play some chords then you don’t want to always have to strum them then hybrid picking is also really great for that or also if you just want to speed up your lead line playing for single note playing for soloing and improvising on the guitar then a hybrid picking technique for alternating some of those single notes is also really useful for that and all of these things and all of these hybrid picking techniques work equally well if you’re playing acoustic guitar or electric guitar so first i’m going to introduce and explain the absolute foundation of solid finger style playing and hybrid picking playing and this comes straight from the tried and true pedagogy of classical guitar training so it’s going to be an excellent foundation to have then i’m going to show you five really fun and really straightforward kind of difficult but very useful hybrid picking exercises for the right hand that can be applied to playing chords and kind of finger picking in any situation and then lastly i’m going to show you two ways to use hybrid picking to speed up uh single note playing and improvising on the guitar in like a soloing context we have a lot to cover let’s get into it i’m jared borkowski from soundguitarlessons.

com on this channel i teach on a wide variety of topics a lot of music theory mapping out the fretboard improvisation some jazz guitar some finger style some songwriting all kind of aimed at getting the fundamentals down so we can express ourselves more freely so we can get after those feelings that we want from music so if you’re new here welcome please subscribe and hit the bell i put out a video every tuesday so this foundational technique that i want to introduce to you first and then we’ll get to those seven specific exercises is something called planting with the right hand this is absolutely crucial for right hand technique for solo guitar technique because what it does is it gives us the security the confidence the consistency the tone the timbre the control over these things when we do what’s called planting with the right hand so this has to do with finger picking finger style using finger picks using your nails not using this uh your your just the skin of your fingers or with hybrid picking in this context all of that kind of all applies planting is this powerful powerful technique most people haven’t heard of it unless they’ve studied classical guitar that’s why i like to grab from these other all these areas of guitar and apply it to every other area so we can get the most out of our practice but planting is simply the idea that you have this tiny moment of preparing a note where you’re placing it where you’re where your finger is physically on the string you have this moment of just kind of checking in securely am i there am i on that spot does it feel the same does it feel right you know kind of like stabilizing yourself with finger style and hybrid picking alike we often just kind of swoop in and tr and grab for a note and hope and hope uh it’s the way we want it to sound well it’s mostly not going to be unless we do this planting thing because we sometimes scrape the note in a different way or land on it slightly differently so planting is you land on it in this way where you you are creating this habit and this knowledge and i’ll do it really slowly and kind of show you how at first you might like land on it and then shift right you might land on a note and i’m just doing these open strings so the exercise i’m going to give you first is just you pluck the pick and then you plant and you pluck on the next string and then you plant and you pluck on the next string now at first this might be like how is it possible that this is what we’re supposed to do well notice how i’m kind of like adapting sometimes with my fingers well if you need to adapt your finger to get it to that spot where you know it’s going to get the sound that you want why in the world would you get that same consistent sound all the time if you don’t get used to that right so planting is really happening all the time technically in in especially a classical guitar context or for anyone who’s worked on it but sometimes it’s just such a quick moment that it’s not necessarily audible so i’m doing it right now and you can actually see that i’m doing it right now i’ll slow it down a little bit as soon as i pluck the previous note i’m preparing so the plant of the next note is actually i think of it as more kind of connected to the previous note notice i stopped but i landed on this next planted note because i’m thinking as soon as i pluck the previous note i plant on the next note so if i pause i’m ready i’m planted i’m stable right so right here i can have this feeling of is this where i want my finger to be with classical guitar it makes sense because you want to have such a specific spot of landing on the flesh and a little bit of touching the nail and then so you can pluck off with the nail i just recently um after uh 20 years of playing with my nails um i recently chopped them off a few months ago i’m going to do a video on that experience and playing classical guitar with fingertips soon but right now the technique of planting and kind of getting familiar with whatever way we’re doing fingerstyle and hybrid the planting is always relevant it’s always there right so i am muting the string a little bit i’m muting the string just a little bit um for a moment because i’m because i’m because i’m preparing it right so i hope that makes sense how are we going to get a consistent sound without that knowledge of yes i’m physically right where i want to be at the right spot of the finger right angle and everything needs to be the same every time to get the same sound every time it makes perfect sense but we don’t often practice that way so you want this consistency of yup every time notice how kind of full and clear those sounds are if i do this pretty much the same every time right so try that for yourself and see if just with one plucking finger in this case with your middle finger because we’re going to be holding the pick because we’re doing hybrid does it sound the same every time if not continuing to work on planting is the answer i had a classical guitar teacher that talked about how the right hand and this applies to hybrid picking of course the right hand is the expressive hand we don’t you know we think so much about what notes are we playing what frets are we playing we’re watching people’s left hands all the time stuff like that but the right hand is the is the emotional one the right hand is what gives you the goosebumps and and gets you to express things because all the dynamics are there the tone is there the you know your your speed your timbre you know all of this even though you have to change speed with the left hand too but so much of the expression is the right hand so again just emphasizing how important this control and stability is with the right hand okay so the first exercise is just exactly what i already showed you already you’re sold on planting now so you got to make sure you’re planting but it’s simply this you’re going to pluck with the pick on the on the fourth string and then finger finger finger with your middle and then while this would be um the m finger the a finger and i think sometimes it’s referred to as e the the pinky finger is not a classical guitar it’s not used in classical guitar so it’s kind of um has its own labeling we’ll just call it the pinky but you’re going to use middle finger ring finger pinky after that so pick middle ring pinky and you’re just going to go ascending okay nice and boring exercise to get that down okay once you can do that though i want you to take that fourth string and play around with an e natural minor scale along the fourth string and if you don’t know the structure of that then this is great to get you to oops i played the wrong out there to get you to study that one two flat three four five flat six flat seven one uh one one seven flat six five four flat three two one flat seven one so you can really do that on any other strings too you can you can play along the fifth string or whatever but the point is we need to repeat this right hand thing so much um that once you can do it reasonably well and you just need to practice it a lot i want you to start making music with it as soon as possible so this is a fun way to improvise it’s really fun to do this and if you watch my right hand look how i’m kind of like jolting the jump to the next note that’s the planting i’m preparing that next note definitely before i have to play it okay so this is a nice lovely way to make some music you can sit for hours and just improvise with that and feel like you’re expressing something with it while getting that really necessary just physical conditioning that we need with the right hand which is very much gonna take some time to kind of build the muscles build the independence build the dexterity that you need after that this is still with exercise one i just want you to take other chords so i’m taking a c chord then a first inversion g chord and then an a minor chord and practicing just that that up and down do any any chords you want kind of a minor a minor over g just kind of practicing with that you can go you know any any four uh chords that use four strings somewhere um practice around with that in some other way so those we’re going to practice several kind of patterns with the right hand and um do that do those different things each time with it so the other one is just descending so we don’t need to go over it too much because you just you’re just repeating that same kind of work but with you’re playing the pick first and then you’re going pinky ring middle so of course do it just with open strings first always and we’re listening for how consistent is it does it feel the same does it sound the same every time and you got to be planting okay once you can do that then you add the scale so i hiccuped a little that’s fine of course do this you know you can slow down you can speed up don’t use a metronome with this it’s metronome’s only good if you’re needing to work on time for some reason we’re working on this right now just the security the consistency if you’re in time a little bit of course great but pause slow down feel that consistency then try speeding up a little okay so then take some other chords and take that c chord again and that g chord again cool now it’s feeling like i’m getting warmed up into i’m really feeling better about the tone that i’m getting with the hybrid so the next exercise is going to be ascending and descending combination so you’re gonna go uh pick middle ring pinky ring metal but there’s a big twist to it that’s going to make it harder and very very powerful to practice and that’s what that we’re going to do something called a full plant okay so you’re going to pluck with the pig and then right away you’re going to plant all three of the next fingers all at once okay this is going to be hard um and then you’re going to control the release of each of those the pluck of each of those in time right so you’re going to pluck plant plug plug plug and then on the way down it’s just what’s called sequential planting you just pluck and plant you plant and then pluck the same way that we were doing before so uh pluck plant pluck pluck pluck plant plug plant plug and repeating so i’ll do it nice and slow so you can see in here okay notice i’m planting all three of those at once and then plucking them off this is amazing control for the right hand and forgetting the plant so we could skip this part but you you’d be missing out this is really powerful to get used to and there are many reasons in classical guitar why that comes in handy for some specific arpeggiating techniques that can get very fast and the only way to do it fast enough is to do the full plant we’re not really working towards that in this exercise but i’m just throwing it in here so you can get exposed to it and get even more control okay so then you’re going to add these notes improvising around as soon as i play the note with the pick i hop onto all those those other three strings with the planned very hard to do uh really really worth practicing you can then do that with other chords just like we did the uh other exercises so just choose any chords kind of play around with that but i’ll move on to the next exercise this is number four out of seven now we’re just going to alternate the pick with all three of these as a chord so you’re going to go pick chord pick chord so of course we have to do a full plant because we’re going to pluck all of them at once so pick plant plug and then repeat one question that might come up is are you supposed to plant with the pick technically yes but we want to be so good at that so quick with that that it doesn’t feel necessarily um like a plant as much we’re really having to work on it with the fingers when you play with the pick you are going to get a little bit of a clicking sound but um really with the pick as well a consistent sound has this tiny moment of kind of check-in preparing am i doing you know am i going to get the tone that i know that i want so if you look i’m actually doing that i’m landing with the pick and then let me try to do it without i’m still planting a tiny bit even with the pig okay so we’re alternating now uh pick chord pick chord pick chord again planting i’m just gonna you’re gonna be sick of me talking about that it’s the secret so this is what you do after you get used to just doing it with the right hand i’m just doing any order of not just improvising having fun with it i have a bunch of videos on scales uh if you need to know the structure of the minor scale check out my theory series as well as my scale series i will put links to both of those in the description okay and then you do that with with some other chords i’m always just using those chords as an example but you know you might go um anything you want d minor seven here’s d diminished c major seven alternating between those okay in the fifth exercise and this is the last kind of chordal one then we’ll do the two lead guitar exercises for hybrid picking um this one we’re just plucking all of them at once right so they’re not necessarily an order of difficulty but they are all different and they are all important so we’re just this one can be it depends on what you’re used to this can be more difficult and so as you do this as boring as this can be with just the open strings you’re listening for is it consistent every time you know am i am am i prepared with the planting and knowing what i’m going to get and uh unique to this and very important and specific to this is are the notes even in this chord right is one popping out more than another can you get them all the velocity equal on every note there amazing practice to sit there and do that and someone might be like what are you practicing what are you doing like uh because it’s funny people around sometimes don’t they think you’re you’re not playing a song right what are you practicing but like if what’s going on in your head is the real practicing right it’s not this it’s listening for it feeling for it what note what notes are you hearing that balance between them all so of course once you get that and notice i get this kind of uh the shortness of it because there’s the space in between from the planting that’s good that’s on purpose and then you can try to you know do you have the control to not have that gap to still plant but have it be so brief and so secure with where you’re going to play that you don’t need to stop it so now you’re trying to play so i notice when i switch to that i’m a little less consistent so i’ll do a little more planting and then come back to it right so kind of like optimizing we are calibrating okay so again if we want to use some other chords whatever we want i do think this one is simple in concept but i think it’s harder than the others all right now for the lead guitar playing the single note playing for our solos for our improvisations depending on what you’re into what your goals are this might be the thing you’re waiting for with hybrid picking uh you know a lot of rock guitar or metal guitar hybrid picking is about using this technique to speed things up and it really does help um it’s great for any kind of lead playing any kind of improvisation um and so this is gonna the first way i’m gonna recommend doing this is that we first of all we need to know a scale form so i’m playing the c major scale form or a natural minor scale form uh in the fifth position again check out my scale series where i have a video for every scale type and how to map it out and how to specifically practice it all over the guitar if you need that but that’s the scale form i’m going to use and then i want you to practice with a melodic thirds pattern i sometimes call this the every other note pattern but people were kind of like hey that that label doesn’t make sense but i always called called it that but it’s a melodic thirds pattern where you go up a third and then you go down one note and you go up a third go down and now we should be able to do that with every single scale that we ever work on every scale position every all of that so so that’s the pattern i’m doing it with all with the pick right now but now when you are crossing strings i want to play the when i’m going to cross strings and play the bottom note and then the next note up is up a string you use one of your fingers i’m just going to use the m finger the the middle finger to hybrid pick so every time i’m crossing strings check it out i’ll do it nice and slow and if you’re watching for the planting the planting is definitely there when i pause i’m ready i’m sitting here ready it’s i had this down even before i put this note down because the left hand you want to put the note down right when you’re going to actually pluck it right right when the sound is going to come otherwise you get a sound ahead of time so this is down on the string before the left hand even goes down so okay so i’ll do a little faster just to demonstrate and you only can you only need to worry about doing that in a descending way you can work on it descending as well of course but i’ll recommend just specifically being able to do it ascending from the bottom so that’s with a major scale structure or natural minor scale structure same thing in this case depending on what you call the root um i want you to also do that with a pentatonic scale so we just take the pentatonic scale form we’ll take a minor pentatonic or c major pentatonic same physical shape there and then we’re going to play no skip a note up down or no skipping it up this is no longer melodic thirds because the scale structure doesn’t allow it to be but i’m doing the same thing when i’m skipping up a string i’m hybrid picking check it out that’s a great way to work on this and you’ll get the habit down you can do all kinds of other exercises i’m just recommending these to get started but if you could you know start working on using that same intuition and skipping strings whatever you want uh skipping more strings having bigger jumps but that’s a great way to get started with using that this notation you see on the screen right here where i’m actually playing this and it’s all written out i have a pdf that you can grab of that if you just want the kind of the tab in front of you i’ll put a link in the description to that and that’s that’s why i have that written out you can download that so if i improvise a little bit and just throw that in every every time not maybe not every time but i very intuitively can now play with my finger when i’m crossing strings so i’m intentionally staying kind of next on consecutive strings but the same thing applies if i skip a string okay and the seventh hybrid picking exercise is to play harmonically uh with your lead playing so the way i’m going to recommend mapping that out at first is just taking that same pentatonic scale don’t need to do the diatonic scale the seven note scale with this but i want you to play those same two notes harmonically so at the same time so you’re playing those two notes within these then these every pair of two notes hybrid picking them this is very cool you’ll hear players like stevie ray vaughan use that all the time not so exclusively it takes warming up into so just be able to kind of go up and down with that take your time with it very cool sound you get a fourth interval and then you get a third interval and then a fourth again so you get very cool sound um the other way that’s harmonic uh that that is really common against stevie rayvan will do stuff like this all the time where where you use a drone note you hold a note say you’re going to hold this note with your pinky in the scale form right so i’m using a finger it really can be any finger you want i’m using a lot of the middle finger there um or okay this is what i did in the intro something like that right in it so in the intro lick of the lesson i did that right kind of droning this open d open e and playing with the blues scale there so this is a very cool uh really really sophisticated sounding way to use this we’re just adding that one drone note but it just one extra note really fills up the sound so if i improvise with those ideas a little bit i might just do some pretty straightforward single stuff single dough and try to throw those in right so it takes some getting used to and kind of exploring around with oh what am i going to like and i got to get in the zone of something like that sometimes so i just jump in and try a bunch of stuff and it kind of let it refine itself and even even kind of warming up to it in that way so you can make up your own finger combinations as well obviously you can do more than just up and down with the pick and then the sequential order you can start to mix it up a little bit or find your own things to do but that just gives you a nice really concrete structure of seven things to work on to be able to do if you get used to those you’re going to naturally find your own way to make the sound your own or break out of that and create your own finger patterns and and whatnot i already mentioned that you can get that pdf of the every other note pattern or the the melodic pattern for the pentatonic scale to do that another thing that might be really useful though is my chord chart that i made called chords with colors just a huge amazing chord chart with a lot of the theory knowledge um shown on the page but just a bunch of shapes and and just shapes that if you’re into kind of a finger picking style and wanting to do hybrid with chords it’ll just give you a bunch of vocabulary to do that with if you’re more interested in the lead stuff then grab the the pentatonic scale pattern pdf both of those things are totally free and they’ll be linked below in the description so question for you which of these seven hybrid picking exercises do you think will be the most useful and the most applicable for your playing and your goals is it just straight up the idea of planting is it maybe playing all the chords at once so you’re not always strumming is it maybe the lead stuff where you’re using the drone because that sounds like a cool bluesy sound that you like there’s a lot of directions and branches you can go with here so let me know which one of those is up your alley and going to help your playing out the most let me know in the comments below if you genuinely liked this hybrid picking lesson please hit that like button it really helps out the channel and it really helps other guitar students find the material that they’re looking for so they can keep getting better and enjoying music and thank you so much for all the wonderful comments i’m really doing this to help you out and help people out wanting to learn guitar so the comments really help me know that i’m on the right track with that vision special thanks to ashton harris who on my modes video commented and said wow i have been trying to study modes lately and have been very confused as to why half of guitar teachers are just saying to start on a different note and half are saying to actually change the notes four minutes into this video and it all makes sense thank you just wanted to feature that comment and say that it means a lot if you’re interested in checking out that video about modes and understanding how modes work on the guitar and what the heck they are or how to practice them then i’ll put a link in the description to that mode’s video and you can check it out there i put out a lesson every week next week i am starting a four part mini series on how to play a jazz guitar walking bass lines while playing chords at the same time a great thing to do if you’re interested in jazz to use hybrid picking for so i’m starting that next week hope to see you there thanks for watching take care and happy practicing.