Jamie Holroyd Guitar

Jamie Holroyd Guitar

2 Guitar Picking Exercises to Develop Technique

2 Guitar Picking Exercises to Develop Technique

Guitarists spend most of their practice time focusing on the left hand which is important when learning jazz guitar.

But time spent working on right hand guitar picking exercises can provide technique that will open up new possibilities on the instrument.

There are two guitar picking exercises in this article. The first one is a scale study and the second is a chord based study that uses triads.

Play through each guitar picking exercises example slowly at first before working up the tempo.

Use a metronome to ensure a solid time is kept throughout each right hand guitar exercises example and gradually increase the tempo.

To get the most from this guitar picking exercises article, students should create their own exercises after they have studied these.


Guitar Picking Exercises – Scale Study


This first guitar picking exercises example is a study that I teach for pick style guitar and combines practicing scales, alternate picking and string skipping.

I learnt this guitar picking exercises example recently from a YouTube video lesson that I found on the Reddit guitar lessons page.

Unfortunately I can’t find it now, please post the link in the comments if you have seen it.

This guitar picking exercises example can be applied to any jazz guitar scale. For this example, a two octave A major scale has been used.

The exercise uses the root of the scale, which is A in this example, as a pedal note between each note of the scale.

To play this guitar picking exercises example, pick the root of the scale before each new note. Start doing this with the first octave of the major scale and then move on to playing both octaves together.

If you are using a plectrum try alternating between down and upstrokes.

The hybrid picking right hand technique can also be used and especially useful when the distance between the notes gets further.


Guitar Picking Exercises 1 Ascending and Descending


Guitar Picking Exercises — Chord Study


The next guitar picking exercises example incorporates open triads, different rhythms, and string skipping. The study uses open or spread triads from the harmonized major scale.

I have used the F major scale and it’s triads for this example, but it can be applied in any key, on any string set, and with the different inversions of spread triads.

The guitar picking exercises example uses the same four note picking pattern, down, down, down, up over each triad.

Starting with three down strokes is the smoothest and easiest way to play the first three notes.


Guitar Picking Exercises  - Spread Triads


The notes in this etude can either be played separately or they can be sustained if the fingers are kept down for each triad to produce a piano-like effect.

These open triads can also be played ‘Eric Johnson style’ meaning that you have the 5th of each chord on the 2nd string instead of the 3rd.

Practicing a study in different rhythms and time signatures is a great way to combine technical and rhythmic practice.

Here is an exclusive down stroke guitar picking exercises example that uses triplets to conclude this article.


Guitar Picking Exercises  Spread Triads Advanced


I hope that you have enjoying playing through these guitar picking exercises.

Although they aren’t jazz, two classic rock riffs that are great for developing picking technique are Sweet Child of Mine by Guns n Roses and Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi.

What are some of your favorite ways to practice guitar picking exercises? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.



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Thanks, well done, good lessons.

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Max Brown

I enjoyed this series of exercises, but I just wanted to bring to your attention that in the second series of exercieses, when taking apart the chords up the Fmajor scale you accidentally labeled a Bb major chord as a B,

Anyway thanks!

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