Alternate Picking “Off beat” Jazz Fusion Guitar Lesson

The key to alternate picking with the guitar pick when dealing with jazz improvisation and jazz fusion improvisation is to be aware of the off -beat. In these two little examples we simply miss the 1st beat.

Remember that the 2nd note of a group of 16ths will be an “Off-beat” and an “Upstroke”. But, if you start on the “Off-beat” with a down stroke then the patterns will be opposite to what they would be starting on the beat. This may sound confusing but is “paradoxically” natural and an easy way to create and control ‘syncopation”, literally cutting off the first note.

You can do this anywhere in the bar, but to begin with it is best explained through the two short example alternate picking exercises.

This phrase below is a little “Off-beat” phrase found in the John Mclaughlin album/CD called “Belo Herozonte.

off beat alternate picking john Mclaughlin guitar exercise
Silent “Off-Beat” alternate picking guitar exercise


Below we use sextuplets and miss out the first beat. [Count the silent beat but pluck the string starting on the 2nd off beat].

Sextuplets alternate picking guitar exercise "Off-Beat"
Sextuplets off-beat alternate picking guitar exercise


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SHAKTI Indian Raga Guitar Lesson #2 John Mclaughlin

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This little exercise works on the development of another basic guitar fingering idea. This fingering [as you will find out when playing through the notation/tab] lends itself well to the rhythmic development of John Mclaughlin’s alternate picking guitar technique.


SHAKTI John Mclaughlin Indian Raga Guitar Lesson

As always keep the alternate picking rhythmical and tight and count in groups of “Tetrachords” [four 16th notes or “TA KA DI MI” Konokol ]for fluency and good timing tap your foot as you play the Raga line.

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