May 20th, 2012, 11:15 PM
Hey everyone. Lets see if i can phrase this right (pardon the pun). I've been working on hybrid picking for a while now and seem to only use it on the flashy chicken picking type licks in 2/4 time. (or cut time?) For everything else i just alternate pick. I would like to hybrid pick all of it but it just doesn't come out right. It all sounds like wannabe funk. I cant seem to get the technique(which i'm more comfortable with) to match the style i get alternate picking. Im sure its because most of the hybrid licks on Youtube and the like are geared towards chicking picking.No doubt it's a timing issue so i've spent the last few hours with the trusty drum machine trying to figure this out with no luck.Anybody have any suggestions? Any insight would be appreciated.thanks in advance, john
May 20th, 2012, 11:44 PM
This guy has a great site for finger picking. You can alter the right hand technique for pick and fingers. The exercises are a great place to start. http://guitarfingerpicking.tripod.com/id28.html
May 21st, 2012, 12:34 AM
First, why do you want to use hybrid picking over alternate if your alternate picking is working fine? If it's not broke, don't fix it-no one knows if you're hybrid picking or not while listening so don't worry about it. You should really use hybrid picking only for times where you need 2 notes simultaneously. Playing good sounding lines using a new right hand technique will probably take a long time to get sounding really smooth.
If there is a reason, start with the Guiliani (I think!) arpeggio exercises and adjust them for hybrid picking.
Stairway is an obvious choice for practicing since it's the pick de jour for learning the style in the first place. Maybe try songs like Blackbird and Dear Prudence as well.
Hope that helps, I'd be glad to talk more so just ask anything else you like.
May 21st, 2012, 10:28 AM
Thanks for your reply sam. I think you may have changed my original thoughts on this and i'm not opposed to that at all. This started originally when i was playing a lick using sixteenth notes on non adjacent strings.No way i can do this without hybrid picking it. It just got me to thinking that with that kind of economy of motion I could really get some speed up in my playing. But it seems that only works for certain phrases so maybe i should be asking if you seasoned guys change picking styles for different licks or how that works. If i have this completely wrong, i wont be offended. thanks, john
May 21st, 2012, 11:46 AM
Whatever works and sounds right.
May 21st, 2012, 11:52 AM
John, I do change depending on what I want to play. I usually hold the pick first and thumb, so if I need to grab notes with m it's not a big deal. I really think just use it whenever you need it will work, and do what works for you.
I checked out the Brent Mason video where he explains his picking technique and tried to incorporate it thinking I'd be able to pull off some of his stuff. Thing is I could do my own way and trying to pick his way just messed me up-and I wouldn't get significantly better results by changing, so I did it my way.
You won't sound like Wes just because you use your thumb and you won't sound like Chet just because you use a thumbpick. So do what works for you and adjust whenever you need to get the extra notes.
Glad it made sense!
May 21st, 2012, 05:57 PM
That is not a strange problem to have and I did too in the beginning. But instead of fight with hybrid picking with a flat pick. I just said screw the pick altogther, then started adapting my already adept alternate finger picking to clawing, banjo rolling and chicken pickin with thumb and fingers. Later when I had that down, I learned to use a thumb pick.
I'm assuming when you say "alternate picking" you mean finger picking, not "alternate flatpicking". If you can alrready alternate finger pick, your almost vall the way there anyway. Now you just need to do lots of banjo rolls with the thumb and your two fastest other fingers for say, doing the outro to "Sultans of Swing" that's a great little outro to build on thumb and two fingers on two strings. Instead of alternating thumb on string and each finger on a string each, alternate pick only two strings with the thumb picking the lowest string an the index and middle finger alterantely rolling one right after the other on only one high string.
Another thing to do is learn to claw on your double stops. Its easy to practice this in the open A position using the thumb to drone the open A string as you do double stop hammer-ons and pull-offs up and down the neck from open A. It sounds good and does the job for learning to use your fingers intead of Hybrid picking with a flat pick.
I can hybrid pick just okay on some tunes, but nothing like I can do with a free thumb and fingers, because like you, I learned to alternate pick with my fingers. Why fix what isn't broken? You can always slap a thumb pick on your thumb.......only takes about 2-3 months to be cool with it being there. You can even grab it with the index and strum like you are holding a flat pick.
I battled this for a couple years thinking I was an odd ball because everyone seemed to hybrid pick. But they all started out as flat pickers, I started right off with fingers and wasted time by trying to be like everyone else at the time using a flat pick. When I started learning country stuff, I was already a few steps ahead of those flat pickers.
I still don't know how Albert Lee flat picks as fast as he does, looks like so much work.
But I noticed watching him play recently, he hybrid picks way more these days than he used to. So even he adapted to use his fingers. Unless I miss your meaning of "alternate picking" I just don't know why in the world you want to change your whole technique so completely. If you can alternate finger pick, your halfway home. If anything I'd use a thumbpick, but you don't even have to have a pick at all.
May 21st, 2012, 08:56 PM
Wow thanks guys. Lots to digest there.Chabby, I see what you are saying and youre right but I was talking about alternating with a flat pick. Im sorry I didn't make that clearer. It just seems that i have more dexterity and speed hybrid picking but cant seem to utilize it in anything except for Workin Man Blues or brad paisley type stuff. I just dont understand if hybrid picking (pick and fingers) lends itsself to that snappy,percussive sound only or is it universally a very efficient way to play everything. I watch videos and swear people are hybrid picking these fiddle tune,bluegrass kinds of runs with lighting speed that are traditionally flatpicked.I was just confused because, like I said, I only see it being taught as chickin pickin technique.
May 21st, 2012, 09:10 PM
Johnny Hiland gives a nice talk on hybrid picking here
May 22nd, 2012, 12:18 AM
I see - I thought there was a chance you meant alternate flatpicking. When I think of alternate picking I usually think of finger picking because alternate flatpicking is such a given. I mean there is no other way to use a flat pick, but alternate. I guessa staunch rookie might just strum on the down stroke though -lol.
So you mean you've learned to alternate the pick back and forth with proper technique. which is called flat picking usually, that it's "alternate" is usually assumed, at all but the very beginnerist of beginnerisms. But yeah, I get it now, hybrid picking can be a tough nut to crack for a while then. You've gotta just work hard as heck on it and get a teacheer to give you some excericizes. It's something you want to make certain you are practicing perfectly, so as to not develop bad habits. So if you have never done any finger picking, it's harder to learn hybrid picking.......some pretty good players could never do it at all-lol At least until later on in their playing life. It will give you a nice advantage to learn it though.
I'm so different from most in that way, I never owned a flat pick until years after I learned with fingers. It took me longer to learn how to use a flat pick properly. That is usally the reverse in learning for most people, because most start right off with the pick. I can hybrid pick with a flatpick but it's not nearly as fast for me as without one, or a thumbpick. I thought you might already be a finger picker and you were considering giving up two fingers to hold the flatpick.
I definitely could never understand why anyone would ever do that, unless they just never really got very good as a finger picker. But it happens more than you'd think. Some peoplere can coordiate their wrist better than their fingers, or vice versa. One's no better than the other if you're good at it. There's been ome great players that hybrid pick and some great that use fingers..........and even some that use only a pick, pray tell.
May 22nd, 2012, 12:35 AM
Hiland seems to really only use his middle finger and the pick it's all he needs he's so fast.
At least in the above video he only uses the middle finger. BTW - the hammer on excercize Jonny shows is a good basic excercize to get the middle finger going.
He must use the ring finger too though - how else can you do banjo rolls?
Johninet- it does lend itself good to the percussive chicken pickn thing. But thats because of the pop you get with the fingers clawing the strings and snapping them.
Also makes palm muting a breeze too which can add some more slap too.
Funny - but when I hybrid pick with a flat pick, the flat pick doesn't alternate much anymore, except when playing some bvery specific stuff. Usually it's down strokes with the flatpick and the fingers forward or backward, depending on the lick.
I'm very inconsistent as an alternate picker when hybrid picking a tune I've noticed - I don't always alternate the pick, it just depends. Same thing with a thumb pick.
May 22nd, 2012, 01:04 AM
Hiland uses a pick and has crazy long nails on his fingers. I think he uses a style close to danny gatton's. Jim campilongo said that he uses a pick on single note lines, but his middle and ring fingers on double-stops.
May 22nd, 2012, 08:58 PM
As the Wolf told Hubert,,,, "Get rid of the pick,"
May 22nd, 2012, 11:04 PM
Flatpicking,yeah that would have been more accurate and a whole lot less confusing.My first guitar book said in big letters,"always try to use alternating, up down strokes while flatpicking." Guess i got confused....sorry again. I messed around a little bit and realized that my hybrid picking always sounds funk like is because im constantly snapping the strings on to the fretboard. I just want to learn to play the toned down, normal country stuff with hybrid picking because i can go faster that way. But most licks ( like the video of Johnny Hiland ) is the super flashy stuff.I guess some woodshedding is in order and once i figure out the best way for me, that'll be close enough... thanks for your help, john
May 23rd, 2012, 04:43 PM
Johninet - if that little bit Hiland shows in that video was "flashy" to you, you got a long way to go. I may get some controvery stirred up here, but for your sake there's only one method I can almost promise you will get you there the fastest.
Dump the pick and learn to play with at least your thumb and middle finger, focus on that middle and ring finger because the index will later be clamping the pick. Then for a while, just play on two strings one being hit with your thumb and the next one up with both middle and ring finger striking the string just a second apart. Start out slow, tehn build in speed over time. Don't speed up until you can do it perfectly at the slower speed, then gradually build up speed until your index can strike the intended string first, or you can lead with the ring finger, followed by the middle finger. That way, you'll have both the forward and backward finger rolls down cold, before you pick up the flat pick again.
If you really want to learn it fast and thoroughly, it ain't alot of fun, but it is once you get to a certain level of proficiency. It's time well spent. It's that kind of dedication and hard work that is sometimes neccesary to advance your picking. If you refuse to do that then just keep doing what your doing until you get it like you want. Do nothing else for awhile.
I've had to do that many times in my guitar playing life to advance, just work on one thing until I've got it. In fact, I just finished doing just that with regard to hybrid picking. Now it seems to feel better every day.
That said, I could already finger pick with a thumbpick and just taught myself hybrid by pinching the thumb pick and using ony the middle and ring fingers. My whole motive behind doing this tedious thing was to strengthen my ring finger. Before that, I was relying almost totally on my index and middle finger, with the index being the best. Now the middle and ring are my preferred speed fingers whereas before it was the index and middle.
The benefit comes from getting a better angle of attack by hoverin g the middle finger much like Brent Mason does when he's speed picking, or doing harmonics. For some weird reason (and I think it's attack angle) the middle and ring fingers are faster for me.It also helps get the pinky involved too. Several other side benefits came in the process because to progress in a way I wanted, involved practicing alot of open scales and arpeggios. It added new and increased vocabulary and freshness to all my playing.
Now I've launched into learning more advanced theory and I'm finding that some of it my brain already knows, just has never verbalized. Very weird going from an all ear guy to applying theory, though I've always used theory, I didn't know it. The theory has provided more knowing and knowing has provided more learning.
That's what's so cool abhout music and especially the guitar.