Chicken/hybrid picking exercise Am pentatonic MAY school #2




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Published on Jan 12, 2009

TABLATURE (blue link):

Level: half beginners-intermediate

Tempo: 160 bpm
For this new lesson. I do a close up on a technique I use a lot called "chicken picking".

Basically chicken picking is the action to pluck a string with a finger (right
hand-RH) in order to get a popping and percussive quick sound.

This technique belongs to bluegrass players.
Some use a thumbpick and pluck strings with all 4 free fingers, some others
like me, hold a regular pick as usual and pluck with the middle finger.
Others also don't use a pick at all and play with all free fingers. Some players also use artificial nails in addition to a thumb pick.

I use this technique with distortion for rhythm guitar and metal fusion soloing, it is also sometimes called "hybrid picking".
Through the years, I found easier to grab a string, plucking it with my RH
middle finger rather than picking it with my pick.
When I play slower, I have less chances to miss the strings so I naturally pick
When I play faster, it's quite hard to know exactly which string is plucked

which one is picked. This is because, the middle finger acts in a reflex motion.
In a fast motion my middle finger seems to react instinctively.
Of course I also practiced special exercises like this one in order to master the more control.

So this is here a regular scale and a very common one.
Am pentatonic, descending. Some players find it even boring. Well, it's

interesting here because everybody might already know it. Right?
The tablature must help with color shades to spot the groups of 4 notes.
Each group of 4 notes fit in a beat gap. So they are all 16th notes.

The first thing is to memorize the notes.
We play 4 descending notes through a repetitive pattern. We go back on the
second descending note, we play 4 notes again. We go back on the 3rd
descending note, we play 4 notes again and so on... This create a delay
The Tablature tells only the picked notes (downstroke). The others are
pulled-off or plucked. The plucked note hit the beat, so there's no trick.

The first slow motion video demonstrate the right hand motion. Basically try to
pluck each first note per group. Try to play all the notes at same speed. It's
quite difficult I know. We are tempted to play faster the easy part and slow
down on the tough one so try to practise constant runs at constant tempo.

Now, the left hand (LH) of course is important. Synchronization is everything.
With a quick look at the tab, you can be tempted to use only 2 fingers and use half barre technique.
To be honest, my opinion is, it is easier at the beginning and eventualy the hardest technique once you want to reach a neat fast phrasing.
So in order to keep a clear notes flow, I don't use this technique.
I use all my LH 4 fingers and i substitute the barre finger with the middle and ring finger.
Lets decompose it, the first bar fingerings go like this:
pinky-index finger-pinky-index finger-
middle finger-pinky-index finger-ring finger
pinky-index finger-ring finger-index finger
middle finger-pinky-index finger-middle finger

So instead of playing a half barre on two string, we use two separate fingers...
At the end of the scale on the E low string:
Notice on the slow motion I play the 3 last notes (frets 8-5-3) with 3 fingers in opposition to the fast motion intro demo where I perform a little slide and use only 2 fingers.
Both ways work actually fine for me. If you own a 7th string, you can keep
descending a bit further.
So once you have all the notes correctly, put the accent on the first note of each group of (4)notes, or in other words, put the accent on the beat or the note that hit the beat (the plucked one). And you will obtain this little delay feel.

I hope you like this lick and this inspire you to practice in this way.


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