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Hybrid Picking Pentatonics Guitar Lesson

November 16, 2021

Here’s one of my absolute favorite ways to add some excitement to lead guitar playing and solos. Let’s first break down the technique and scale used.

What Is Hybrid Picking?

Hybrid picking is a technique that combines flat-picking (using a guitar pick or ‘plectrum,’ as the greatest generation calls it) and fingerpicking.

The pick engages in only downstrokes. Fingerpicking involves use of primarily the middle finger but sometimes the ring finger. For this lesson we’ll just be using the middle finger for the hybrid parts.

Pentatonic Scale

The pentatonic scale is the foundation of almost all lead guitar playing in nearly every style of music. In this case, rock n roll.

The minor pentatonic scale is the most common version and is built Root minor 3rd perfect 4th perfect 5th minor 7th, or R b3 4 5 b7.

In E minor pentatonic that’s E G A B D.

Each note played in this lesson is one of those 5 notes.

Example 1

Using box 1 of E minor pentatonic at the 12th fret as our playground, here’s Example 1:

Play the scale low to high and eliminate the 12th fret from strings 5, 3, and 2 to play this pattern. It’s simple yet effective at opening up the sound.

For picking, use a downstroke on string 6 followed by a middle finger pluck on string 5. Repeat this picking pattern fro strings 4 and 3, then 2 and 1.

Example 2- string skipping

Now let’s play the exact same thing except we’ll skip a string, then drop back one. Experiment with using fingers 1 and 4 in the fret hand on string 6 to finger 3 on string 4.  Or try fingers 1 and 3 and then jump to finger 2.

Example 3- string skipping octaves

Finally, try this:

In Example 3, use your pinky for each string skip. We’re still in pentatonic but we’re string skipping an octave up from the second note played on each string.

Final Tips

Make sure your fretting hand is always muting any higher strings on the fretboard that are not being played.

Your picking hand will mute any lower strings that have already been played.

In order for this to be executed successfully, your notes cannot ring together. They must be separated as though you were singing a melody. No bleed!

Email eric@fortworthmusicacademy.com if you have questions. Sign up for a trial guitar lesson online or in person. Subscribe to Eric’s YouTube channel for more guitar lessons and content


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