Hybrid picking technique question

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by frank1985, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. frank1985

    frank1985 TDPRI Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    I’m slowly making the transition to hybrid picking and have a question about four note arpeggios like the D chord below.

    I use travis picking as a basis, where the middle and ring fingers are assigned to the 3 treble strings, and the pick to the bass. I don’t use my pinky.

    For the D chord below, I would pick it as so up until the E String; (D)Pick, (G)m, (B)a...

    I realise this is down to personal preference, but what is typical, or advised for the final note; keeping the alternating motion going with the middle finger, or using the ring finger again?

  2. DSharp

    DSharp Tele-Holic

    Apr 26, 2003
    Southern Indiana
    Just picked up my guitar to see how I'd do it and I alternated my fingers and used my middle finger for the high E string when I forced myself to keep to "play by the rules." Left to my own devices, I'd play the first two notes with my pick and the last to with my index and middle fingers.
    frank1985 likes this.
  3. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    Just to verify... do you understand the notations and fingering that is in the music?

    There is no "pinky".... therefore I don't understand your reference "I don't use my pinky". Outside of special circumstances, nobody did/does. Not Merle, not Chet, not Tommy, etc...

    This also gets more complicated... since Merle Travis (Travis picking) used thumb and index only. He didn't use the middle and ring. I know it is continually written as such, but that is more a Chet approach, not Merle. Merle would have played the D passage as "Thumb, Index, Thumb, Index"... just rocking between the thumb and index at all times... jumping strings with the pick! CHET would have used all 4 as written.

    OK... Hybrid, being an Albert Lee nut I get that! IMO, approach it like Merle would have. Instead of "thumb, index, thumb, index" try "pick, middle, pick, middle". You can replace the middle with the ring any time you wish if it works better for you... but keep the pick constant on the alternating downbeat. Continue the pattern as such....

    Good luck...
    frank1985 likes this.
  4. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 7, 2016
    Frank, the image you posted seems to be an introductory exercise in fingerpicking rhythm guitar in D...and a very useful pattern! Not that you can't (or shouldn't try to) come up with a hybrid approach to the same exercise, but I would suggest first looking at an introductory hybrid picking rhythm exercise over the same chords. The chord shapes will be the same, but the picking, muting, syncopation, etc. will be different. May seem subtle, and it is, but...it can sound way different.

    EDIT: I will add that I was thinking about "hybrid picking" as the commonly discussed (here) country guitar technique. After thinking about it, I remembered that hybrid picking extends well beyond that, so...my comments may or may not apply :)
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  5. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

    Nov 16, 2018
    next to the burn zone
    I wouldn't play this D exercise with hybrid or with the four digit rt hand technique shown. Through decades of playing out I have found it very comfortable to play it like this,
    ----------2------ middle or ring
    -------3------ index or middle
    ----2------thumb or pick
    -0------thumb or pick

    I feel confident with this technique and can go from chords to single note lines to fingerpicking.

    And I use my ring finger as well as my pinky. My use of it is automatic for the most part,,, I don't think about it, I think about my chord choice and that's mostly done by ear.

    This auto stuff leaves me with so much extra time to actually play.

    All you need is the belief or confidence that what you're playing will go somewhere, and you play by ear to the destination you "future thought" on.
    And all the picking be it hybrid, full pick, full fingers, you just get a feel for the right picking solution, but you got to give if your hand permission, however you do that, I don't know, you may have a ritual you do? lol
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