Including Hybrid Picking In Metal

including hybrid picking in metal

Welcome to the first post in my series of weekly videos on metal guitar techniques. These videos will cover a variety of technical exercises, improvisations and stylistic tips which I have put together to help other guitarists achieve technical proficiency.

 Including Hybrid Picking In Metal

In this short video I’ve included two exercises. I came up with the idea for this video whilst improvising, I am a habitual hybrid picker but wanted to write something more riff-based that could be incorporated into a metal song. If hybrid picking is new to you have read of this post and this post for a crash course before getting stuck in with this piece.

Exercise 1

0:14 – 0:25

This exercise puts the ‘pedal tone’ (the static note which is re-picked creating an effect which tricks the ear – it doesn’t necessarily take the pedal tone on board but would notice it’s absence immediately) under the control of the right hand middle finger (indicated as ‘m’ above the notation/tab). I have found that, in order to achieve good timing, my picking hand needs to make a rocking motion, a back and forth bouncing whereby the middle finger strike is a by-product of the upwards movement of my picking hand to perform the next strike with the pick (look for evidence of this in the video). The pick performs the downward motion and the middle finger the upward motion.

The left hand has a fair amount to do with regards to position shifting. This should be memorized very carefully at slow speeds and gradually increased using a metronome. I have left the finger choice for the left hand up to the individual. I personally use fingers 1, 2 & 3 only to get the notes which descend from the 22nd fret diatonically phrased as – down 4 notes, back 3 over a 16th note triplet rhythm. 

This exercise is in the key of but the rhythm guitar plays a B root note which makes the modal sound of the exercise B Phrygian – the 3rd mode of the Major Scale.

Exercise 2

0:25 – 0:48

This exercise flips the role of pick and middle finger from the first exercise. This time the static pedal tone is under the control of the pick and is the lowest note in the riff. The higher notes move within small, 2 string static scale positions – again careful memorization is necessary. This exercise has the same rhythmic feel as Exercise 1 – 16th note triplets, but plays over a different diatonic backing (still in G) which descends from a B minor through the other triads of G major and repeats. 

The two exercises are recorded at full and half speed in the video

Here are both exercises transcribed in tab and standard notation –

*My transcription software doesn’t go as far as the 24th fret so I have had to tab that note as a 1 fret bend on the 23rd fret


Download (PDF, 54KB)

Backing Track

The backing track begins with a 2 bar count in using the same rhythm that Exercise 1 is played to. There is then enough time to play 4 repetitions of the exercise. After repetition number 4 the track for Exercise 2 begins with another 4 repetitions before ending. The backing track can also be used for improvising ideas inspired by the exercises

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