In this exercise we play the most common thing known to man on the guitar “The minor pentatonic” scale.
BUT, the key here is to play and “Count” “1 2 3 4 5 6” to get the “Rhythm” so that the picking and fretting hands can articulate the phrase musically in time and in synchronisation.
This next exercise is a classic “Repetition” alternate picking exercise. Count “1 e and a 2 e and a 3 e and a 4 e and a” and play in a double timed tetrachord manner accenting the 1st note in each 4 note grouping
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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.
Below we use sextuplets and miss out the first beat. [Count the silent beat but pluck the string starting on the 2nd off beat].
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Performing in the style of the Guitar Trio with the plectrum requires strict ALTERNATE PICKING for the solo lines that are picked at a very high velocity. You need to be able to “Jump” straight into the rhythmic flow. The patterns below detail the best key alternate picking patterns to gain mastery for this.
The key to all of this is to “Count Time/Groupings”and “Tap your foot” as you do so. If you count time you will play what you hear. It is the key to performing this guitar trio music.
Line 1-“16ths” Alternate Picking starting on a “Down” stroke
Line 2- Extended version of the previous line above, again starting on a “Down” stroke
Line 3-Groups of “4” with strict Alternate Picking but this time starting with an “Upstroke” creating a “Rolling” effect as the plectrum glides across the strings.
Groups of 6 VARIATIONS:
Line 4-This is a “Variation” of our very first pattern but this time played in “Sextuplets” starting on a “Down” stroke.
Line 5-This line can be heard as Triplets or Sextuplets. This time though we are starting on an “Upstroke”. Again, because we are starting our alternate picking on an up stroke there is a fluid rolling effect as we cross the strings.
Line 6-This is a key signature line of Pace de Lucia and Al di Meola. It is an ascending G major scale in double timed triplets [or Sextuplets]. We are starting our picking on an “Upstroke”and ascending passionately up the scale, The better the rhythm of the alternate picking the more clean and powerful this little lick becomes.
Line 7-Here is another variation of the 16th note line. This time we start “Upstroke and roll the line along with tight rhythmical alternate picking. The key as always is to count good time when picking and tap your foot for precision.
Line 8-“Spanish” descending 2 string line. Really it is an ascending “Down” stroke alternate picking pattern followed by an ascending “Up” stroke rolling alternate picking pattern. If you treat it like that then it is easy to play and learn.