Skip to main content

Start crosspicking your chords with our guitar lesson and transform your playing

(Image credit: Jason Kempin / Getty)

Guitar skills: Crosspicking is a technique that allows players to use their guitar pick across three strings to create a rolling pattern – it's also a core banjo technique and helpful to think of it as a way of getting close to fingerstyle but with your plectrum.

Crosspicking is popular in bluegrass and Molly Tuttle, one of the style's top contemporary acoustic guitar players, explains for important it has been for her own style.

(Image credit: Adam Gasson / Future)

"I learned some songs that I liked to crosspick with, White Freightliner Blues in particular," explains Molly. "I learned that one, and then wanted to play it really fast, so working up the solos and the rhythm part on that one really pushed my cross-picking. 

"I remember transcribing some David Grier solos, and there’s a lot of crosspicking there as well, so that helped me get more comfortable with skipping strings because he’ll play a low note on the sixth string and then cross-pick on some high strings. 

"It’s really all over the place. So [my picking technique] was a combination of things: I didn’t really do many exercises and drills, it was just learning songs and tunes.”

The idea here is to give an impression of fingerstyle but using a pick. Don’t rush! Patient, methodical practice at a slow, even tempo will give you the best results.

(Image credit: Future)