What is string skipping?
String skipping is when you jump from one string to another string that isn’t immediately next to the one before it. Huh? In other words, if you play a note on the low E string then play a note on the B string, you are ‘skipping’ a few strings. On the other hand, if you play a note on the low E string then play a note on the A string, you haven’t skipped any strings.
Why it’s important to practice
Most beginners run into issues when they need to use string skipping. If you have ever picked a string then realized you picked the wrong string, you know how frustrating it can be. This can be a big problem if it isn’t fixed early. So we have put together a couple simple exercises you can use to help improve your ability to skip strings at will.
This exercise is very basic but gets the job done. As you can see the pattern is pretty straight foward. The pattern repeats twice then in the next bar it repeats, but starts on the next string across.
You can see that each note you play will be jumping across the strings. Start off playing this exercise very slow to make sure you play each note correctly. It’s up to you how you pick the notes (eg: alternate, all down, economy) because the main focus is picking the right strings.
After you can play the exercise well from memory, try playing along with a metronome and increase the tempo over time. The faster you can play this, the more accurate your picking will become. But remember not to rush yourself as the main point is to play accurately.
This exercise is slightly longer but is based on the same basic idea. This time instead of playing notes on three strings, you are alternating between two strings on far sides of the guitar. This will help you get used to jumping back and forth between two strings. As you can see throughout the exercise, the two strings change so you get used to different sized jumps.
You may find this exercise easier than exercise 1 simply because you only need to jump back and forth between two positions where as the other exercise you need to jump across three positions. So if you have trouble with exercise 1, this exercise is a good one to start with. But make sure you practice both exercises as they both help you learn the skill in different ways.
Just like exercise 1, after you feel confident with this exercise, try playing along with a metronome and see how fast (and accurately) you can play it.
A lot of beginners have trouble with string skipping, so if you know anybody who would benefit from these exercises, please click the social media buttons below to share it with them.