One of the major advantages of working with a guitar teacher instead of trying to learn the instrument yourself is that you'll get help with the long list of challenging techniques that you need to master. As you improve your skills, your teacher will continue to introduce you to new techniques that you can add to your repertoire. One such skill is string skipping — a technique in which you jump over one string instead of picking strings that are side by side. For example, you might learn a rhythm in which you alternately pick the first and third strings, which is significantly harder than picking the first and second strings. Here are some keys to mastering string skipping.
Use Your Pick
As you begin to work on your string skipping exercises, you may be tempted to set your guitar pick down and use your fingers because doing so can seem easier. While finger picking is an important skill to develop, your guitar teacher will likely encourage you to work on your string skipping with your pick. You may find that this is hard, but your patience and persistence will pay off. Many well-known songs include string skipping, and you want to be able to play these with your pick — especially if you're using the pick for the other parts of the song.
Slow Your Tempo
Becoming competent at string skipping can take a long time, so you must work on developing your fundamentals before you worry about speed. Your natural inclination may be to attempt to pick the strings of your instrument quickly, especially if you're following along with an up-tempo song. Doing so will likely result in you picking the wrong strings and getting frustrated. Lower your tempo considerably as you work on this technique. For example, your guitar teacher might advocate beginning a rhythm with whole notes, and then moving to half notes.
Keep Your Fretting Hand Still
A good way to improve your string skipping and build confidence is to keep your fretting hand still as you work on your picking. For example, consider fretting a specific chord, and then picking alternate strings. If you fret an "E" chord, you might pick the "E" and "D" strings, which means that you're skipping the "A" string. This approach allows you to focus on your picking hand while your fretting hand remains stationary. As you get better, you can begin to move your fretting hand around.
For more information about guitar lessons, contact a company such as Guitar Works, Ltd.