Alternate Picking Guitar Technique Explained Part 2

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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.

alternate picking guitar sextuplets Al di meola guitar style lesson
Alternate Picking 6’s Articulation Guitar Exercise

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

“Repetition” Alternate Picking Guitar Technique Exercise

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Alternate Picking right hand guitar technique lessons

In this Lesson we will look at alternate picking right hand guitar technique and the fingering needed for jazz fusion improvisation.

John Mclaughlin Alternate Picking Belo Herozonte/ Music Spoken Here Guitar lick:

alternate picking john mclaughlin lesson belo herozonte

Al di Meola Alternate Picking “Guitar Trio style” Lick

al di meola alternate picking guitar lesson


John Mclaughlin 3 string alternate picking guitar right hand wrist exercise.

Jazz improvisation John Mclaughlin guitar lick lesson how to

“Shakti” John Mclaughlin alternate picking “2 finger” fingering scalic ascending lick

Shakti Jazz fusion john mclaughlin alternate picking guitar lick



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

Guitar Trio Paco de lucia John Mclaughlin Al di Meola

Line 2- Extended version of the previous line above, again starting on a “Down” stroke

Guitar Trio Paco de lucia John Mclaughlin Al di Meola alternate picking lesson

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.

Guitar Trio Paco de lucia John Mclaughlin Al di Meola alternate picking guitar lesson

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.

6s 1

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.

Guitar Trio Paco de lucia John Mclaughlin Al di Meola

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.

Guitar Trio Paco de lucia John Mclaughlin Al di Meola alternate picking

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.

Guitar Trio Paco de lucia John Mclaughlin Al di Meola alternate picking guitar lesson

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.


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For a closer look there is a complete transcription of “Friday Night in San Franscisco” Book available AMAZON

Guitar Trio Paco de lucia John Mclaughlin Al di Meola alternate picking guitar lesson with tab, video and music notation

Alternate Picking 16ths Guitar lesson like John Mclaughlin!

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John Mclaughlin right hand  alternate picking rhythms pattersns

The first alternate picking rhythmic set-up employs the 8th note and two 16th notes. This is a useful rhythm as it gives your picking right hand a moment to set up the “Up stroke” and fire the phrase forward leading to a  smooth alternate picking lick/line.

John Mclaughlin alternate picking guitar right hand patterns.

The next rhythmic set up employs a dotted 8th note and a 16th note. Again this slight delay before the phrase takes off gives your right hand time to flick up and fire off the phrase with confident alternate picking.

John Mclaughlin right hand alternate picking patterns for guitar

This phrase below is the “Off-beat” phrase and is one of the most important because it creates anticipation and syncopation in your alternate picking which is essential for jazz and fusion guitar playing. [As I suggest in the video you will find this a lot in the John Mclaughlin album/CD called “Belo Herozonte].

John Mclaughlin off beat syncopated alternate picking guitar pattern

Finally we have basic alternate picking 16ths starting on the beat. I sat on the down stroke with the plectrum on my guitar for this phrase.

John mclaughlin alternate picking on the beat guitar pattern

All of these phrases use a simple pentatonic scale because this is the best way to get these rhythms precise when starting out with alternate picking.

Recommended listening:

“Belo Herozonte” John Mclaughlin the Translators


“Music spoken here” John Mclaughlin the Translators