String skipping can add more color to standard licks by automatically introducing wider intervals.


from David M. Brewster's Harmonics for Guitar
In this lesson, we’ll take a look at “string skipping” techniques. String skipping can add more color to standard licks by automatically introducing wider intervals. It also offers new insight into the layout of the fretboard, and opens a few more creative doorways. While string skipping is essentially a simple concept, there are a few obstacles to overcome. First, your fret hand has to be extremely accurate and work to mute all unwanted noise. (The picking hand has to “jump” over one or more strings, hindering its ability to mute.) Secondly, your pick hand’s movement should be as economical as possible to insure both lightning speed and precision. Keep these things in mind when working through this lesson and you’ll excel fairly quickly with minimal frustration.

We’ll start with a string-skipping exercise that’s played exclusively on the G and high-E strings. Using the C major scale as a catalyst, the example starts with a pick/hammer/hammer legato move on the G string, followed by three picked notes on the high-E. The pattern is then reversed, with the legato line (pick/pull/pull) on the high-E string, and the picked notes on the G string; this back-andforth sequence follows through the entire example. Experiment with different picking directions (outside picking, alternate picking, economy picking, etc.) until you find the one that suits you.


Listen

Fig. 2 expands on the legato/picking pattern from the previous example. Using E Phrygian dominant (E–F–Gb–A–B–C–D; fifth mode of A harmonic minor) as the scale source, the example rolls across the fretboard via non-adjacent string sets (low-E/D, A/G, D/B, and G/high-E).


Listen

Here’s a G minor scale (G–A–Bb–C–D–Eb–F) string-skipping lick that’s just dripping with legato moves (Fig. 3).


Listen

Fig. 4 applies string-skipping tactics to the A blues scale (A–C–D–Eb–E–G). You may find that a combination of sweep picking and outside picking works best for this one.


Listen

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