Bing Hodneland logo

Bestsellers

Books

List Bestselling Books

DVDs

List Bestselling DVDs

Google

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
In Association with Amazon.co.uk

All the information on this site is free. But if it is of value to you, I appreciate a tip.


Previous page:

Lesson 21 - String Skipping

Next page:
Previous page: Lesson 20 - Heavy Metal Guitar, Lesson I: The Basics Next page: Lesson 22 - Technique from Hell

Lessons of The Week was a series of guitar lessons circulated in "News", in the pre-web days of the Internet. 29 lessons were written before it died out, and I happende to write the first three. They represent a little bit of internet history, as they may have been the first guitar lessons written for the internet.

The lessons were all written in txt format - they were written around the same time as Tim Berners Lee were sitting in Switzerland specifing the first version of html. I have converted them to html, and may have added a few links from the lessons.

Lesson: 21
Title: STRING SKIPPING
Level: Beginner
Style: Technique
Instructor: Geoff Thorpe (and laboriously proof read by Dan Brough!)

Hi everyone. This lesson serves as an introduction to the idea of string skipping. This is by no means an exclusive tool, indeed its best applications are usually tied in with sweeps, tapping, alternate-picking and loads of other things. Most of the material here is not intended, in itself, to be used in a musical sense, but to develop the technique. Although this is a foundation in skipping, some of the exercises would be considered a handful for most players. Don't lose hope! Also, if you have any ideas or suggestions to make, or any queries, e-mail me at:

gthorpe@comp.vuw.ac.nz

:--=====================--:

Ok, to start with, I have included some fairly basic warm-ups, that should get the muscles loosened, and are relevant to the later skipping exercises.

String Skipping exercise 1.
===========================

Theoretically this isn't a 'skip' but it is a good warm-up!

    D  U  D  U  D  U      (D=down stroke, U=up stroke)
e-----------12-------
B--12-13-15----15-13-
G--------------------   keep repeating.
D--------------------
A--------------------
E--------------------

this should be very even and uniform before continuing.

String Skipping exercise 2.
===========================

This is also a warm-up

    U  D  U  D  U  D
e--15-13-12----12-13-
B-----------15-------
G--------------------   keep repeating
D--------------------
A--------------------
E--------------------

both exercise 1 and 2 should be played on all strings with the fretting structure changed and all finger combinations used.

String Skipping exercise 3.
===========================

This is a natural extension to ex1 for 'real' skipping

    D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U
e-----------------------------12-------
B-----------12-------------------------
G--12-14-16----16-14-12-14-16----16-14-   keep repeating
D--------------------------------------
A--------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------
String Skipping exercise 4.
===========================

Then a further extension for all the strings, (Great warm-up exercise!) Picking is straight alternate picking as above.

e-------------------------------------|------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------|------------------------------------
G-------------------------------------|----------------------------12------
D----------------------------12-------|----------12-------------------16-14
A----------12-------------------15-14-|-12-14-15----15-14-12-14-15---------
E-12-14-15----15-14-12-14-15----------|------------------------------------
e-------------------------------------|----------------------------14------
B----------------------------13-------|----------13-------------------17-15
G----------12-------------------16-14-|-12-14-16----16-14-12-14-16---------
D-12-14-16----16-14-12-14-16----------|------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------|------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------|------------------------------------
e------
B-17---
G------
A------
E------
String Skipping exercise 5.
===========================

This similarly, is an extension of ex2

    U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D
e--15-14-12----12-14-15-14-12----12-14-
B-----------15-------------------------
G-----------------------------16-------   keep repeating
D--------------------------------------
A--------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------
String Skipping exercise 6.
===========================

This is the converse of ex4

e-15-14-12----12-14-15-14-12----------|------------------------------------
B----------15-------------------12-13-|-15-13-12----12-13-15-13-12---------
G----------------------------14-------|----------14-------------------11-12
D-------------------------------------|----------------------------14------
A-------------------------------------|------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------|------------------------------------
e-------------------------------------|------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------|------------------------------------
G-14-12-11----11-12-14-12-11----------|------------------------------------
D----------14-------------------10-12-|-14-12-10----10-12-14-12-10---------
A----------------------------14-------|----------14-------------------10-12
E-------------------------------------|----------------------------14------
e------
B------
G------
A-14---
E------

right, now we get down to some serious skips!!

The next idea is one that, I must confess, I 'nicked' off Paul Gilbert, though I've changed it a bit from the one I read of his. He is to my mind the pioneer of "serious skipping" although others have done it on a smaller 'scale' before.

This lick arpeggiates the E minor chord in the 12th position. This could take a while to get used to so practise it slow and don't play it any faster than you can play it confidently.

String Skipping exercise 7.
===========================
    D  p  D  p  D  U  h  U  D  p  D  p  D  U  h  U
e--15-12----------------12-15-12----------------12-
B--------------------------------------------------
G--------16-12----12-16----------16-12----12-16----   keep repeating
D--------------14----------------------------------
A--------------------------------------14----------
E--------------------------------------------------

Note, developing an efficient and almost subconsious technique for picking is essential with this. If I am not going to pick EVERY note, or I am not tapping everything, I employ the following technique.

(1) Every time you jump to a new string, pick the first note. (Even if you are just jumping to an adjacent string).

(2) If a note is on the same string as the previous note, hammer-on or pull-off to it. (Unless the line is too long, then pick a couple of them)

(3) Decide on the rhythmic structure (ie. groups of 3 or 4) and if the picked note lies on a "down" beat, use a down stroke, otherwise use an "up" stroke.

This will take a while to get used to, but I strongly endorse practising it religiously! I'm now able to do this whenever I want as a second nature and in almost all applications of skipping, this proves to be the most efficient and articulate way of playing. Of course, keep the rut-busters going by making yourself do things differently now and then. You want this as a skill, not as master. Aim to get it down, but always have control of it and make sure you are able to alter things if you wish.

The above idea can be manipulated for different voicings, chord types, strings and time signatures. Keep reformulating new ones otherwise you will go STALE!

Here is a pentatonic idea which is in the same key and position for the purposes of consistency, but play around with it to really get to grips with the idea.

String Skipping exercise 8.
===========================
    D  p  D  p  D  U  D  p    D  p  D  p  D  U  h  D
e--17-12-15-12----12---------------------------------
B-------------------------------------------------12-
G--------------16----14-12---15-12-14-12-------------
D-------------------------------------------12-14----
A----------------------------------------14----------
E----------------------------------------------------

[Note.. The last note is a Down stroke rather than an up-stroke. If you look at the next note (ie. the first note of the exercise), an up-stroke would involve a tricky bit of inside picking, so the down allows you to sweep the two strings. If you prefer, use the up-stroke for the sake of consistency]

To illustrate the possibilities of skipping in a chordal sense, I have scratched together a little exercise which utilises two-string sweeps (easy), 1 string skips, and open strings. Note that this can easily be constructed for a sweep picking exercise (that's what I originally created it as) but it's easy to keep it rhythmic with the skips.

String Skipping exercise 8.
===========================
    B 6/9(no 3)
   D D U h U D p U
e------------------
B----------0-------
G------6-9---9-6---  4 times
D------------------
A----9-----------9-
E--7---------------

similarly, repeat the remaining chords 4 times, with same picking,

   C major 9 (#11)         C# minor 9              D 6/9
e----------------------|----------------------|------------------------
B------------0---------|------------0---------|-------------0----------
G-------7-11---11-7----|----------------------|--------9-11---11-9-----
D----------------------|-------9-13---13-9----|------------------------
A----10-------------10-|----11-------------11-|-----12-------------12--
E--8-------------------|--9-------------------|--10--------------------

keep repeating the whole exercise until you've had enough then do one of those posey retardando's with the over-dramatised emotional thing on the final D chord. Great Stuff!

String Skipping exercise 9.
===========================

Ok, if you can get this one working well at even a moderate speed, you're a certified "Skipper"! It involves some wild left hand stretches and giant picking! Also, the timing is fairly regular, so concentrate on getting it even, play it with a metronome if so desire! Either economy pick (as described above), or pick every note. Either would do, but I would recommend getting both variations down, and perhaps the ability to interchange at will would be useful also.

e--------7-----------| R |----------10------------| R |
B--------------------| e |------------------------| e |
G-7-9-12---12-9-7----| p |--9-12-14----14-12-9----| p |
D--------------------| e |------------------------| e |
A-----------------10-| a |---------------------12-| a |
E--------------------| t |------------------------| t |
e----------12-------------| R |-----------15-------------| R |
B-------------------------| e |--------------------------| e |
G-12-14-16----16-14-12----| p |--14-16-19----19-16-14----| p |
D-------------------------| e |--------------------------| e |
A----------------------14-| a |-----------------------17-| a |
E-------------------------| t |--------------------------| t |

Then repeat back down the positions. You can extend this over the whole fretboard in any key, with all your own special little blues scale modifications.

Happy picking everyone, and I hope to send you some more soon with some other practical angles to this subject, particularly arpeggiation and tapping.

Au Revoir,
Geoff Thorpe

Symbols: D = down stroke
         U = up stroke
         h = hammer-on
         p = pull-off
           ------------------------------------------------------
          |    Geoff Thorpe     |                                |
          | Victoria University | e-mail: gthorpe@comp.vuw.ac.nz |
          |     Wellington,     |                                |
          |     NEW ZEALAND     |                                |
           ------------------------------------------------------

copyright 1993, G. Thorpe
Redistribution of this article is permitted provided, in part or in full, it remains unaltered from the original presented here.

Previous page: Previous page: Lesson 20 - Heavy Metal Guitar, Lesson I: The BasicsNext page: Lesson 22 - Technique from Hell Next page:

Previous page: Next page:
Previous page: Lesson 20 - Heavy Metal Guitar, Lesson I: The Basics Next page: Lesson 22 - Technique from Hell