Hybrid Picking Guitar - Guitar Picking Patterns

Hybrid Picking On Guitar - Picking Patterns For Hybrid Guitar

There are three ways that you can play your guitar as far as your picking hand is concerned.

They are:

1. With a pick (plectrum)

2. Fingerstyle (with your fingers)

3. Hybrid Picking (using both pick and fingers)


It is the third approach, hybrid picking, that I would like to introduce you to today. Hybrid simply means to combine two different elements together, in this case picking and fingerstyle guitar playing.

Although it has a strong connection with country and rockabilly styles, hybrid picking can be used in practically all styles of guitar playing.

So, why use hybrid picking with your guitar playing?

Well, basically it is the best of both worlds. Hybrid picking allows you to have the possibilities presented when using a fingerstyle approach while instantly being able to switch back to flat picking with the plectrum when needed or desired.

Hybrid picking also has a unique sound quality to it compared to just the pick, or just the fingers. It can be used quite extensively in a piece of music, or very minimally.


Hybrid Guitar Picking Patterns

Since hybrid picking is all about your picking hand, I want to show you some really cool patterns that you can then apply to a variety of different guitar playing scenarios. 

Learning some guitar picking patterns is great, but learning how to apply them in more than one way is even better, and will ensure that you get a lot of mileage out of this technique.

Here is the first picking pattern laid out for you on open strings. This way you can begin by totally focusing on your picking hand only:


Hybrid Picking Pattern 1 Forward



This picking pattern stems from a forward roll you might hear a banjo player use, except we are playing it across all six strings of our guitar.

Here it is in reverse:


Hybrid Picking Pattern 1 Reverse



Notice that the hybrid picking pattern is different here. Instead of a down pick, middle finger (m) and then ring finger (a) as it was in the first example, it’s middle finger (m) followed by an up pick and then a down pick.  (You don’t use your index (i) with hybrid picking as it is needed for holding your pick)

Here is an example of both hybrid picking patterns being applied to an A Major bar chord. (I have included both a slow and fast version for each example in this lesson.)

First ascending the chord:


Hybrid Picking Pattern On A Chord Ascending



And then descending the chord:


Hybrid Picking Pattern On A Chord Descending



If hybrid picking is new to you, then expect these patterns to feel quite uncomfortable at first. They will take some time getting use to, so be patient and work with these picking patterns on open strings to begin with, so that you can give your picking hand your full attention.

Before moving on, here is another example of applying the first hybrid picking pattern, the forward roll, to an A chord again. This time I am using a couple of different voicings of the  A chord, starting from the open position and working my way to the upper part of an A bar chord at the 5th fret:


Hybrid Picking Pattern On A Chord Inversions



I wanted to show you this example so that you can see that the exact same picking pattern can be applied to more than one musical situation.

Here is another pattern to get your hybrid picking on the guitar going:


Hybrid Picking Pattern 2



This wont sound like much on open strings as you are simply just alternating between a down pick on the second string and your middle finger on the first string.

But if we apply this pattern on your guitar to a run of thirds descending down the neck, it comes to life:


Hybrid Picking Pattern with 3rds 1

Hybrid Picking Pattern with 3rds 2



I am including chord diagrams above each example where necessary so as to show you how your fretting hand should be placed before executing each hybrid picking pattern. This is not always obvious by looking at the tab alone.

Here is our two string pattern being applied across all six strings to show you another way in which you can use it:


Hybrid Picking Pattern Em Descending



I am using an open position Em pentatonic scale here and finishing with an Em chord. Simple but effective.

Again, my point is to show you how versatile these patterns are and that once you get them down in your picking hand, you should be looking to use them in as many different ways as possible. 

Whether it be plectrum only, fingerstyle, or hybrid picking, how you choose to play your acoustic guitar is totally up to you. 

I personally prefer to use all three, depending on what I am playing, and would highly recommend that you give hybrid picking a chance to see if it is going to become part of your arsenal of things that you do with your acoustic guitar playing.


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