by | April 1, 2019

Today we’re continuing the preview of our online guitar syllabus with part two of our lesson on basic guitar technique. This lesson is taken from the beginner’s level of our syllabus, level one. This level features a range of lessons on areas such as technique, scales, chords, theory, ear training, and sight reading. You can find out more about syllabus here.

Last time, we looked at topics like holding the pick, positioning your pick hand, and exercises for your fretting hand. In this instalment, we’re delving into the realm of alternate picking and looking at how to avoid annoying fret buzz. Again, these are aspects of guitar that all players have to tackle at some point. And whether you’re a beginner or advanced, it’s always worth going over the basics to keep things fresh and avoid bad habits.

Let’s get stuck into the second half of this lesson.


Practising the Basics of Guitar Technique

In this chapter, you are going to learn different exercises to help improve your speed, accuracy and timing. All the while you’ll be keeping an eye on how you are holding the pick. You should also pay attention to your posture and thumb position as well as how you are resting your hands.


Alternate Picking

Alternate picking is a technique that involves a strict up and down pick movement. It is a common method of playing that has many advantages. For example, playing quick passages that would be too difficult with only down picking. It also puts less strain on your picking hand and the majority of scales are easily played using alternate picking. The following exercises are all based on alternate picking. However, it is important that you employ all of the correct basic techniques looked at in the previous lesson.

Use the pictures in this lesson to make sure you are holding the plectrum (pick) in the proper manner. This is really easy to get wrong. You should find that holding it how we suggest gives you greater control and ability to play faster. It also has the added benefit of producing a better tone when making contact with the strings.


Exercise 1

This exercise is a simple introduction to playing with alternate picking. It uses all the open strings and moves through them playing eight notes on each.




Right-Hand Position

Resting your picking hand in the correct place is not always easy, especially when you are using alternate picking. Getting this right will really reduce the number of mistakes and wrong notes you may play. Have a look at the pictures below for a reminder on how and where the right hand should be placed.


Close up image of guitar player's picking hand


Exercise 2

This exercise expands on one from a previous lesson and uses all four fingers and all six strings. This time however you need to play the notes twice, once down and once up.




Red box with guitar practice tip



Exercise 3

This exercise is very similar to exercise two, it is just in reverse. You might notice it is a lot harder going up than it is going down. This is especially true as you are trying to keep your picking hand in the correct position. Play through this particular exercise really slowly.



Fret Buzz

Are you getting any fret buzz when you play some of these notes? Your fingers should be in the middle of the fret or slightly to the right. Watch the video to see the correct finger positions. The picture below is a note played incorrectly as it is too far over towards the left and causes a buzzing sound. Make sure you avoid doing this.

Image of finger in wrong place on guitar fretboard


Exercise 4

This is another exercise that expands on one from a previous lesson. This time you need to apply alternate picking just like you have been practising in the previous exercises.




All the above drills are fantastic for warming up and you should be spending plenty of time working through them. Currently, we have only played these exercises around the fifth fret of the guitar. Try playing them in other positions and a little bit faster once you have started to progress.


Red box displaying tip for practising exercises


Take Your Playing Further

So that concludes this preview of our syllabus and the full lesson on basic guitar technique. If you want to step your playing up a level with more lessons like this, sign-up for a free trial. Our syllabus is designed to take you from beginner to professional levels of playing, using our interactive videos.

You will gain access to 20+ professional tutors who are available to answer your questions or jump online for a quick lesson. We also have a growing knowledge base and in-depth discussions of all things guitar technique on our user forum. Plus, a tonne of awesome resources to cover your every need on your guitar learning journey.

Still undecided? Feel free to browse our website for more info or search our tutor directory for local guitar tutors in the meantime. You can also stay up to date with all the latest Veevar Guitar updates via our newsletter.

Thank you very much for stopping by and happy practising.


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