Alternate Picking Exercise

This is a cool finger exercise for guitarists that helps with alternate picking. Here’s the first part of the pattern in tab:
Remember that slow is smooth

Now, here’s part two, which includes a little bit of string-skipping:
And smooth is fast

A couple of notes to keep in mind:

  • Start the first pattern with an upstroke. As you play each four note sequence, keep the pick between the two strings you’re hitting.
  • Start the second pattern with a downstroke.
  • It’s way way way more important to be smooth, clean, and perfectly timed than it is to go fast. You will get fast eventually, but only go as fast as you can still do it perfectly.
  • The synchronization between your right hand and your left hand is crucial – if they aren’t together as you’re doing this, you’re reinforcing the wrong things. Go slow and get it right.
  • If you have a metronome or a drum machine, use that as you do this exercise. You want to do this as rock steady as possible.
  • Run through this a couple of times a day. Be patient – you’ll get super-fast sooner with patience than with impatience.
  • Finally, please remember that this is an exercise that uses geometric patterns on the fretboard – it is not particularly musical. Do practice this. Don’t put it in your song or your guitar solo – that would sound dumb.

If you have any thoughts about this, please leave a comment – I’d love to know whether this was helpful (or a waste of time). I’m hoping to post more guitar exercises over time.

By the way, the tabs are drawn on the back of giraffe-pattern napkins. I’ll leave you with a shot of the front of the napkin:
Yes indeed.