Single-String Speed-Picking

Whether you’re playing riffs, melody lines, rhythm parts, or solos, when it comes to shred there’s probably no more useful technique than that of fast and accurate alternate picking. But it’s important to note that if you can’t play fast on one string, you’re certainly not going to be able to do so on multiple strings. Borrowing from my new instructional DVD, Basic Training [], here are a few cool single-string exercises that are sure to get you up to speed.
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jOnce you get ’em dialed and can perform them with the requisite string muting, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a monster speed picker. Each exercise involves three notes from the A natural minor scale. Practice each pattern on all six strings using different scale tones and scales. Keeping track of the downbeats on odd groupings like “fives” [Ex. 5] and “sevens” [Ex. 7]—both of which I love, because they sound so unpredictable when played in 4/4 time—can be tricky. A metronome will help.