Guitar Smith Online® Blog

Better String Movement for Beginners



It can be difficult for a beginner to move from one string to the next when starting out on guitar. This is an issue I frequently see in private lessons with new students, and it’s what led me to create an exercise that emphasizes pick-hand development. This exercise is simple and has proven to be very effective. I’m confident that, like my private guitar students, you will quickly see progress in this area of your guitar playing!

Outside Picking

Exercise 1 starts on the low E/6th string and moves up to the high E/1st string. To direct your attention strictly to your picking technique, I suggest lightly muting the strings with your playing hand to produce a thud sound when playing. At this point in time, getting the right sound isn’t important; the right sound will come as your technique improves. Notice that, in Exercise 1, you must skip over the string on the up pick. This method is referred to as outside picking because you pick outside each pair of strings.




Inside Picking

The style of picking in Exercise 2 flips when moving from the high E/1st string to the low E/6th string. You now begin to pick in between strings. Beginners usually find this easier than the outside picking pattern.

Ex. 2



When you are comfortable with both exercises, add a metronome to your practice session. This will add a way to measure your progress over time. With just a few minutes a day, you will find that moving across the strings will become second nature.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *