How to: Alternate picking Basics for newbies, beginners, starter guitarists!



Please watch the video below for the full demonstration of how to employ the basics and true mechanics of the strict “Alternate Picking” right hand guitar technique.

Open string exercise. Pluck “Down up” repetitively alternating strictly with the guitar pick. The plucking comes from the wrist. Also, do this exercise the other way with, “Up Down” alternating with the guitar plectrum. This is the basis of strict alternate picking right hand guitar technique.

alternate picking how to basics lesson

1 string alternate picking “Even” guitar Pattern/grouping of notes. ‘Down Up” etc

Alternate Picking “Even” grouping exercise [1 String]

With “Odd” groupings of notes notice that every time you pluck the pattern again you will be starting on a different picking stroke than you started with previously. So, “Down up down” will then become “Up down up”.

“Odd” Alternate Picking guitar pattern [1String]

Exercise: “Odd” grouping crossing 2 strings on the guitar. Again, notice the reversal of the pattern

Crossing 2 guitar string alternate picking “Odd” grouping

3 notes per string “Odd” pattern crossing all 6 guitar strings alternate picking strictly starting on a down stroke with the guitar pick. [Ascending and Descending].

Alternate Picking “Odd” grouping across 6 strings

“Even” grouping: Crossing all 6 strings ascending and descending employing strict alternate picking right hand guitar technique.

“Even” alternate picking guitar technique exercise

Final exercise: “Odd” pattern/grouping repeated.

IMPORTANT: This now becomes an “Even” pattern because it has been “Doubled”.

3 = odd But 2×3=6 which is now Even.

Meaning, that the two “Odd” patterns form one “Even” pattern which means that every time you cross the strings you will be “Repeating” the same strokes and not starting on a different one.

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Matteo Mancuso Guitar Style Lesson How to?



Matteo Mancuso’s guitar style is a mixture of Classical and the Jazz style of Wes Montgomery. I would look at it as more of a mixture of Flamenco “Picado” and a Bass 2 finger plucking concept though.

The main reason that guitar players may find this brilliant way of playing the guitar a bit confusing is that when it comes to “Jazz” or Improvisation you will need to be aware of “Odd and Even” patterns due to the “Chromaticism” inherent in the jazz line.

Fingerstyle Consideration 1:

Notice that every time you cross the strings playing in groups of 3 notes you will cross with a different finger in the right plucking hand. This is because you are dealing with an ODD Pattern. So the pattern in the plucking hand will be: 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 etc.

Matteo Mancuso Guitar Style lesson “Odd” Groupings

With “Even groupings” of 4 notes you will cross with the same finger in the right plucking hand every time.

Matteo Mancuso Guitar Style Lesson

A good example is to think of it this way when beginning. Groupings of 3 as your Triplets

Groupings of 4 as your Jazz time or Double timed line.

Mixing up the rhythmic groupings: Notice the group of 3 [Triplets] and Group of 4 [8th notes]

The next step is to use “Target Tones” [or Enclosure/Approach notes]. Notice that the first set starts “ON” the beat, employing even 4 note grouping.

Matteo Mancuso Guitar Style Lesson

The next concept is to employ “Target Tones” “OFF”- the beat.

Matteo Mancuso Guitar Style”Target Tones”

You may also find “Even” note chromaticism mixed with Arpeggios.

Matteo Mancuso guitar arpeggio/chromatics Style Lesson

Lastly: a simple 1 string exercise demonstrating how to manipulate scales with the two plucking fingers from the right hand.

Matteo Mancuso Guitar Style Lesson Triplets

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Why Do I Do Alternate Picking?

Hi guys, I hope you enjoyed my two stories about why I like to use the plectrum and why I do alternate picking. If you did then please click the link below and Subscribe to our youtube channel, Thanks.



How I write atonal music at the piano

How I compose atonal music at the piano

In the video above I look at how I write 20th century classical atonal music at the piano. Although this video touches on the basics it does point out the essential compositional elements and emotional make up needed for successful atonal compositions. Regardless of the atonal style which could be, 12 tone serial music, Messiaen modes or Boulez atonality, for the composer/writer the building blocks and perception remain the same.



McCoy Tyner Jazz Piano Lick For Guitar

This lick requires a bit of patience because the fingering is quite finickety due to the un- guitarist nature of the quartal set up, pentatonics and the nature of the intervals and their positioning on the guitar fingerboard.

McCoy Tyner Piano Lick employing alternate guitar picking for rhythmic fluency.

McCoy Tyner Piano Lick for Guitar

Chords for the lick: 1st Part.

McCoy Tyner 4ths triads for guitar

Guitar Chord Shape for 1st part

Chords for the lick: 2nd Part.

McCoy Tyner triadic 4ths chording for guitar

Chord Shape for 2nd Part.

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Dorian Flat 2 Mode “Improvisation” Techniques

Dorian b2 Mode

C Dorian b2 Mode

Two octaves; Tab and Notation

To Begin with let’s look at the arpeggios of the Dorian b2 mode. Notice the Two Major arpeggios.

Dorian b2 Mode Arpeggios

They are E flat Major and F Major

We can immediately make Triad Pairs from them

Dorian b2 Triad Pairs

Going the opposite way

Dorian b2 triad pairs

We can Sharpen the 5th and create a more exotic and colourful sound

Dorian b2 triad pairs

We can add Gm7b5 and Am7b5 to the Major or F aug arpeggio

Dorian b2 Triad/Arpeggios

We can employ the B flat minor 9 major 7th arpeggio

Dorian b2 Melodic Minor

Here we can add it to the F major arpeggio

Dorian b2 Melodic Minor

It is an even better idea to start the B flat minor 9 major 7th arpeggio on the tonic note of C

Dorian b2 Mode melodic minor

Here we will extend the Am7b5 part of the line

Am7b5 for Dorian b2 Mode

We can also make scales from the mode. Below is an example of creating a scale and then adding harmonic content with wider intervals like triads.

Making scales form Dorian b2 Mode

Making our own pentatonic scales from the mode works really well also.

Pentatonic from Dorian b2 Mode

Here is a short sus4 and aug Lick

Dorian b2 Mode lick

Another short lick

These are the basic chords of the Dorian b2 mode

Dorian b2 Mode Chords

Of course we can change the chords to make them more exotic and colourful

Dorian b2 mode chord variations

We also have the typical jazz fusion chords contained within the Dorian flat 2 mode of the melodic minor scale

Dorian b2 Chordal ideas

Below we create a very exotic colourful “‘al la” John Mclaughlin sound!

Dorian b2 mode chordal idea

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