This exercise may be a jump forward from the previous alternate picking lessons on this site. I make these lessons as and when the inspiration comes to me and the gaps will be filled in with time so stay patient! Any suggestions that anyone may have will be most welcome if there are any gaps you would like me to fill in immediately. Just use the comments section on this post or on YouTube. This exercise, or variants of it, is a main stay in my practice routine. I find that focusing on a single string when practicing my alternate picking keeps the fundamentals in check and ticks all the boxes before I move on to anything more ambitious.
3 Note Per String Exercise 2
As stated in the video talk-through, the exercise is in the key of B Minor/Aeolian. The parent key of B Aeolian is D Major, in other words, B Aeolian is the 6th Mode of D Major, also known as the Ionian mode. I will be picking up my Modal posts again (theory & practical) to explain this more thoroughly. Each string (of 6 even though I play on a 7 string) takes it’s turn in the exercise and, to keep things interesting, I have skipped over adjacent strings to each new string as the exercise progresses. This is to make sure that the right hand doesn’t get too comfortable with the gradual increase in string thickness if the exercise were to progress by moving to adjacent strings.
Careful memorization is required to commit each scale segment sequence, on each string to memory. There is, unfortunately, no short cut to doing this – it has to be done slowly and carefully. It will provide a challenge to a player who is used to playing 3 note-per-string scale shapes as ascending/descending through the 6 strings and not used to playing laterally – up and down the fret-board moving from head-stock to body and vice-versa.
There are only 3 individual scale segments. Starting from 7th fret, 1st string (and then diatonically playing the next 2 segments) they are played –
7th fret(1st finger), 9th fret(3rd finger) & 10th fret(4th finger)
9th fret(1st finger), 10th fret(2nd finger) & 12th fret(4th finger)
10th fret(1st finger), 12th fret(2nd finger) & 14th fret(4th finger)
The only variation that I see in other players is playing the top segment with 1st, 2nd & 3rd fingers. This is up to the individual.
The only remaining task for the player now is to put the segments together correctly along the length of each string in the exercise. Once this is achieved start slowly at around half the speed of the 120bpm (16th note triplets or 6 notes-per-beat) backing track and gradually build up following the tips in this post. Each string in the exercise has a 1 bar ‘rest’ note to gather stamina for the onslaught of the next string. Once the target speed is reached then use the backing track below to practice to on a regular basis and keep those alternate picking chops sharp.
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