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Pinpoint Picking Accuracy

Howdy! Today, I want to share one of my favorite exercises. Don't worry. Just because it's an exercise, doesn't mean it will be boring!

When practiced enough, this exercise will single handedly improve multiple areas of your playing and thinking.
  1. It will teach you fretting accuracy.

  2. It will challenge your alternate picking.

  3. It will stretch your fingers. (This kind of stretching permanently improves your reach!)

  4. It will help you visualize important scale patterns.

  5. It will inspire your soloing.
This run begins with the G Ionian, 3 note per string pattern, moves you up the neck in position to descend in the A Dorian position, right back to where you began in G Ionian. For more info, you can see these patterns here.

This is like riding a roller coaster without having to stop! It makes a perfect "circle" of notes.

Since there are three notes on each string, the best way to play is using triplets or sextuplets if you dare! Start off with your metronome set to 60 beats per minute and increase the tempo as you see fit.

When you reach the first string, eighth fret, make sure that you stay in time when nailing the next note at the 10th fret. This is a great place to practice your accuracy!

Now, once you are familiar with this run, try recording yourself playing a G chord and do this run against it. You will hear some great sounds that you may have never played before!

Also, isolate areas of this run and try mixing things up, particularly in places where you are stretching to play those whole steps.

OK, enough talk, let's rock...

Tablature Legend
G A B etc. are the notes.
1 2 4 etc. are the fingers you should use for fretting.
d is downstroke.
u is upstroke.

You ascend in the Ionian Major scale pattern...

G A B C D E F# G A B C D E F# G A B C D
1 2 4 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4 1 3 4 4
d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d
----------------------------------------------5--7--8--10---
-------------------------------------5--7--8----------------
----------------------------4--5--7-------------------------
-------------------4--5--7----------------------------------
----------3--5--7-------------------------------------------
-3--5--7----------------------------------------------------

..and descend in the Dorian minor scale pattern.

C B A G F# E D C B A G F# E D C B A G
2 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 4 3 1 1
u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d
-8--7-------------------------------------------------------
-------10--8--7---------------------------------------------
-----------------9--7--5------------------------------------
--------------------------9--7--5---------------------------
-----------------------------------9--7--5------------------
--------------------------------------------8--7--5--3------


Even though these notes are in a scale sequence, they can still be quite effective in your composition and soloing. I used this technique to enhance the harmony on my tune Change Your Mind.

Practice this faithfully and I guarantee your playing will improve!

Check out Will's new CD, Will Landrum, produced by Will and Michael Fath, at WillLandrum.com.

Will Landrum is a guitarist, recording artist, and teacher. You can learn more about him at www.willlandrum.com.