Speed Picking

In this lesson I will be showing you some speed picking drills that will help increase your speed and technical facility. Over the years, being an instructor, many students have asked me how can they increase their speed. There are many drills you can practice to help you get faster.

Here, I will be just giving you a few small examples you can expand on and turn them into long lines you can apply to your playing in any scale or key. For the purpose of this lesson most of these will be based from the D melodic minor scale (D, E, F, G, A, B, C#). You may not be used to using the melodic minor scale, it is a scale you should know. I'm a firm believer in practicing a couple things at once, why not increase your speed and learn the melodic minor scale all over the neck? Be sure to play these very slowly and cleanly at first and then gradually build speed.

Example 1. This first example is just a single string 16th note triplet exercise in the D melodic minor scale. You're just repeating three notes twice off each scale step moving down the neck in a sequential pattern. You should practice this on all strings and make sure both hands are totally in sync. I like to palm mute these type of examples, because it makes the notes pop out more.

MP3 - Speed Picking, Example 1

Example 2. This next example is similar to the previous one. Instead of playing only on one string, now we are moving up and down the D melodic minor scale on all strings. You can apply this pattern to any scale backwards or forwards.

MP3 - Speed Picking, Example 2

Example 3. Now we will move on to a two string picking pattern in D melodic minor. It would be a good idea to keep repeating the pattern in one spot and then move it down each scale step. This one sounds cool at high speeds with a lot of distortion.

MP3 - Speed Picking, Example 3

Example 4. Let's take the pattern from the previous example and construct a long ascending line from it. You will notice the same pattern repeats up an octave and is constructed from a three note per string D melodic minor scale pattern beginning with G on the 6th string. Apply this pattern to all your scale positions.

MP3 - Speed Picking, Example 4



OK, that is it for now! Be sure to make up your own speed picking drills, be sure to make music instead of just exercises, and be sure to visit mikecampese.com for more information.

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

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