What is Hybrid Picking? | Easy Guitar Lesson

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Learn all about hybrid picking, a guitar technique that combines both pick and fingerstyle playing. Discover the benefits, techniques, and famous guitarists who use this versatile approach to create unique sounds and enhance their playing skills.

What Is Hybrid Picking?

Hybrid picking is a guitar technique combining the use of both the pick and fingers to improve speed, accuracy, and tonal variety. By simultaneously using a pick held between the thumb and index finger and one or more other fingers to pluck the strings, hybrid picking offers a wider range of technical access and tonal control relative to using a pick alone.

Key Takeaways

  • Hybrid picking refers to using the guitar pick and fingers simultaneously.
  • It’s useful for playing complex and intricate patterns with ease, such as arpeggios.
  • Hybrid picking also offers more tonal control with the right hand due to the freedom to emphasize certain notes with your fingers.

Understanding Hybrid Picking

Understanding hybrid picking is essential for guitarists looking to expand their technical skills and right-hand control. This is due to the wide range of tonal and technical possibilities relative to using conventional guitar techniques, such as fingerstyle and alternate picking, alone.

By developing your hybrid picking technique, you can unlock new creative possibilities and use more complex lines and patterns in your playing. This makes it a helpful and versatile technique for any serious guitarist or musician.

The Point of Hybrid Picking

There is a wide variety of complex patterns and chords that are difficult to play with a guitar pick alone. Hybrid picking makes it easier to play these patterns and chords, especially when string skipping is involved.

Hybrid picking is also a very versatile guitar technique. It allows you to achieve and decide your guitar tone by adjusting your choice of using the guitar pick or fingers. This results in tones similar to fingerstyle and helps to emphasize certain notes by using your fingers.

The Difference Between Chicken Picking and Hybrid Picking

All chicken picking lines involve hybrid picking. However, not all hybrid picking lines are classified as chicken picking.

Chicken picking is an alternative to alternate picking. It is commonly used in country or bluegrass guitar playing. It replaces alternate picked upstrokes with hybrid picking. This creates a “plucking” sound, reminiscent of a chicken, which is how it got its name “chicken picking”.

This is easy to hear in the song Rhode Island Shred by Guthrie Govan.

Guitarists That Use Hybrid Picking

Many noteworthy guitar players use hybrid picking. This includes Guthrie Govan, Eric Johnson, Brent Hinds, Tim Henson, Albert Lee, and Gustavo Assis-Brasil.

Gustavo Assis-Brasil is one of the best hybrid picking guitarists and teachers and has written one of the best hybrid picking guitar books, Hybrid Picking Lines and Licks for Guitar.

Here’s a full list of hybrid picking guitarists.

Using Your Pinky in Hybrid Picking

The pinky can be used in hybrid picking, although it’s not not as commonly used as the middle and ring fingers.

Using your pinky allows for more tonal and technical control with your picking hand, making it easier to play intricate guitar chords and lines.

Hybrid Picking Licks

Here’s a complete hybrid picking exercises and licks lesson.

10 Best Hybrid Picking Exercises (PDF and Tab)

Here’s the hybrid picking licks and exercises PDF.

Related Terms

Learning PIMA will help you map out your right-hand fingers, ultimately assisting you with hybrid picking.

Learning economy picking licks will teach you to minimize motion in your picking hand by following the movement of the pick.

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