This run was written to test out our own right hand technique, so while that's the focus of the exercise and video it's really important to remember your left hand and theory too! We'll break down the three different ways in which we approached the right hand later, but as far as the left hand is concerned, all three players followed the same approach. You should try to stay relaxed, keep your thumb behind the neck and try to use your little finger!
This run is based on the notes of E minor, but starting on C, which gives you a C Lydian sound, and we found it was great fun to jam over the track below. If this idea of different scales having the same notes is new to you check out our free Theory Lab Courses to get a bit of background.
Here's the backing track we've been playing over in the studio:
The Right Hand
The run is a sequenced C Lydian (E minor) scale, which means we're running up the scale in small groups of notes. These groups have been intentionally selected to cause the right hand some problems, as they cause you to play odd and even numbers of notes on a string, meaning you sometimes have to change string after a downstroke and sometimes after an upstroke! This is when Economy Picking can really help, if it's something you're comfortable with! The main idea is to move as little as possible, and pick towards the next string as often as you can.. We'll now analyse three different approaches to playing this run - remember to pay attention to the picking direction notation above the tab:
Dan - Economy Picking
Dan focusses on using economy picking to make the lick as smooth as possible. This is essentially always picking towards the next string. Dan sets himself up for a repeating down up down, down up down picking pattern by playing the 6th note with a downstroke. This is a really nice blend of strict economy picking and a repeating pattern for the right hand to remember!
Ollie - Economy with Hybrid Picking
Ollie has aimed for strict economy picking with his playthrough. This means there is very little in terms of repeating patterns for the right hand, other than just picking towards the next string. For the final section where there is only one note per string Ollie uses hybrid picking - picking the G string with the pick and plucking the B string with the middle finger of the right hand. It's notated with an m.
Cam - Alternate Picking
Cam felt most comfortable using strict alternate picking. This is a great approach as it means your right hand will always pick down then up, with no variation. It does come with its own difficulties though, as you'll often have to jump over strings to get to the next note. Watch the slowed down version in the video and you can see Cam overcomes this by slightly rotating his picking hand so that it follows a slightly different trajectory.
As you can see and hear in the video, even though these three players chose different ways to play the run, they all achieved similar speeds! We would recommend trying all three techniques and see what works for you. Give it a bit of time on each and see what feels right. And remember - take it slow to begin with and have fun!