What is Hybrid Picking? Why And When To Use Hybrid Picking?

22 Aug 2021

What is Hybrid Picking? Why And When To Use Hybrid Picking?

Hybrid Picking is one picking technique that will elevate your guitar playing even further as it will add some extra color to your Electric and acoustic Guitar Playing.

In Fact, Hybrid Picking is commonly used by your favorite artists: Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Johnson, John Mayer, just to name a few. It gives a different unique sound that regular picking just doesn't, and helps us perform styles of music that would usually require the player to play fingerstyle guitar.

Hybrid picking is a guitar technique that involves picking with a pick as well as with one or more fingers alternately or simultaneously.

Why And How Do We Use Hybrid Picking?

Reason #1: Different Tone

Hybrid Picking does help us get a different sound and feel on Electric and Acoustic Guitar, as it helps us get the sound of strings popping thanks to our fingers. Let's take a bluesy Lick and notice the difference of tone when we will use the finger versus the pick.

Timestamp: 0:50 (inside the video lesson)

Reason #2: Convenience

We use Hybrid Picking to make things more convenient for us as Electric and acoustic guitar players. For example, Hybrid Picking is very convenient for performing faster string skipping! In the video lesson, pay attention to how the right hand is moving. It becomes clear that it is way faster to use the hybrid picking instead of regular picking (using these motions of down, up, down, up repetitively), saving us time, energy, tension, and potential string noise on those extra travel between strings.

Timestamp: 1:47 (inside the video lesson)

Moreover, we can use hybrid picking to arpeggiate chords faster!
If we have parts of a song where we are arpeggiating and doing crazy jumps from one string to another, hybrid picking can be used to help us make lesser movements. Watch the example below.

Timestamp: 2:32 (inside the video lesson)

Reason #3: Speed On Guitar

Hybrid picking will greatly assist you in increasing your speed when playing a given lick. However, the trick is to be mindful of the dynamics at play, as you need to match the picking dynamic with your finger dynamic so it can be seamless unless it is intentional that you need different volumes.
What we are doing is alternating between the pick and the finger to play faster:

Timestamp: 3:08 (inside the video lesson)

Reason #4: More Defined Sound

Also, Hybrid Picking can help us sound neater on some of the riffs we are playing. Let's take the riff of Iron Man by Black Sabbath which is usually played by picking. We can use the pick for the lower string and our finger for the higher string. You will see how clean and precise this riff becomes when using Hybrid Picking.

Timestamp 4:03 (inside the video lesson)

When to use Hybrid Picking?

Sure, you can use Hybrid Picking whenever you can, but you won't be using hybrid picking when playing the riff of Master of Puppets by Metallica for example, as it doesn't make sense.
You got to use Hybrid Picking in the context where it makes more sense, where it can help you play faster, sound cleaner, and do less work.

Hybrid Picking Examples And Exercises With Tabs

In this section, I am going to show you some licks now that utilize Hybrid Picking!

Exercise 1

Check out this classic Rock Lick: instead of doing
down, down, up all we need to do is to play the first note with the pick and then do the rest with the middle finger and the ring finger, and like I said before make sure the dynamics of the notes are the same.

Exercise 2

Another Example for you let's suppose we have these barre chords E minor and D minor, you can play them as open chords if you don't how to play barre chords (check this link for a lesson about barre Chords ). What are we going to do here, is play with the pick on strings 5 and 4, middle finger on string 3, and ring finger on string 2.
Exercise 3

We also talked about string skipping. We are using the pentatonic scale for this example, A pentatonic minor 1st position to be precise. Let's take a look at the picking hand: we start by using the pick and then we are going to string skip and use the middle finger, then use the pick, then use the middle finger so on and so forth!

Hybrid Picking

That was our introduction to Hybrid picking for Electric Guitar and Acoustic Guitar. Depending on your skill levels you might find these exercises to be easy or hard.

To summarize: Hybrid picking could be a very strong ally and it definitely needs to be integrated into your guitar playing. It will provide you with more options to consider, convenience, speed, and smooth transitions.
Practice the exercise and examples that I have shown you today,
by downloading the full tabs for this LESSON for free here below. You will also get access to ALL the other lessons and their TABS for FREE!
Author: Jack Haddad
Jack Haddad is an expert Guitar educator and teacher and has been helping guitarists, through his innovative methods, get incredible results on the guitar, whether they want to jam with friends or rock out on the big stage.

You can find out more about Jack Haddad's teaching here: https://www.jhguitarschool.com
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