Every month, Guitar Techniques attempts to answer guitarists' playing posers and technical teasers with expert and practical advice. Here we tackle cross-picked arpeggiated parts.
I have a problem with my picking in that I’m okay when I play scales, but if I try to play an arpeggiated rhythm part like in The Police’s Every Breath You Take, my timing goes off, accuracy drops to the floor and everything grinds to a very unmusical halt. Any suggestions as to how I can overcome this?
There’s a likelihood that the answer depends on changing your practice routine to include some cross-picking exercises against a metronome, Chris.
When we practise scales, everything is very linear; perhaps three notes on one string, two on the next and cross-picking is very different. So if you haven’t practised it, the effect will be one train wreck after another.
So we’ve outlined a few exercises above that should set you on the road to cross-picking perfection. Do them every day, have patience and don’t increase the metronome speed before you’re absolutely sure that everything is crisp and clean at the level you’ve reached.
After a short time we’re sure that you’ll find arpeggiated rhythm parts fall under the hands far more easily.