Alternate Picking Across Different Strings

Many guitarists find it difficult maintaining consistent alternate picking when they need to swap to a different string, or strings. The exercises below are designed to improve your ability to change strings while picking alternately.

The basic exercise involves repeating this eleven-note line across the high E, B, G and D strings.



Because the note group is an uneven number you can begin on either a downstroke or upstroke as the order will change with each new cycle, if you maintain consistent alternate picking.

The pattern can also be played across the B, G, D, A and G, D, A, low E string groups

Pattern across string groups

As always, begin slowly, making sure that each sixteenth note is even and that you are picking alternately.

The basic pattern revolves around this major seventh shape.


We can extend the exercise by playing the same eleven-note pattern around all of the diatonic seventh chord shapes in G major.

Pattern Diatonic 7ths in G

This idea can also be used across the B, G, D, A and G, D, A, low E string groups. By learning the pattern and chord shapes across all strings, and in different keys, you will not only develop your alternate picking but also your melodic and harmonic knowledge.