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Lesson Series

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Michael Casswell - Pro Concepts Season 1 - Part 8: String Skipping

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 8 **

Hi everyone. This guitar lesson I have explored the cool sound of string skipping, but before we talk about this, I want to have a quick review of what we have looked at so far in previous issues.

First of all I talked about the importance of always thinking in a creative way and applying it to guitar improvisation. Creative thinking is the quickest way to sounding better than you do now, because technique on its own isn't enough to set you apart in 2012, it's emotion, feel and creativity that can really make you stand out.

We also looked at vibrato, string bending, and some more advanced creative bends and double stop ideas. String bends, combined with vibrato, are the two things you have to get right before anything else. No amount of creativity will hide a nasty vibrato, or a poorly executed string bend.

Then there was hybrid picking. A great tool to have at your disposal that always sounds cool, without sounding dated, or like you're trying too hard!

In the last couple of issues, it was some slide techniques and adding chromaticism to your playing, both of which are very strong approaches to explore, because they add so much to the sound of you as a player.

Through all my tutorials there has been occasional use of the whammy bar and general talk about time, rhythm and good feel, so we have quite a list of concepts building up as each issue goes by. With time allowed, I can only scratch the surface of each subject, but if I start you off thinking about each concept, and I put a tiny part of it on the fretboard, so you can see and hear it, then hopefully you can see some ways to improve as a player, and I get a little bit of job satisfaction.

So this issue I wanted to show you some string skipping ideas. There are actually two things going on here, because as I am showing you the concept, I am also doing it on the spot unplanned, using the creative thinking approach, hopefully building the idea to a finished run or phrase, which you splice-up and steal. All the scale information is largely D minor pentatonics and when I add any extra notes, they will belong to the D dorian mode.

So string skipping is all about larger than normal interval jumps. In order to create a lick or phrase that has a large interval in there, we generally have to think about skipping a string to get to the desired note, which hopefully is a long way apart from the previous note. Sometimes you can skip, or miss out, two or three strings to create a really big leap, which has a really nice 'unplayable' sound to it.

What also works nicely are huge position shifts with repeating licks. I think I put one or two of these into our run, and I am not sure these can be classified as string skips, but they are certainly effective as a colour. Having mentioned 'colour', that's what our list above is all about. If you can create different sounds, tones, pace, feel and excitement, not just in your solos, but in your rhythm playing as well, then you have a better chance of getting respect as a player, and even turning professional to make guitar playing your career. Obviously overplaying is never cool, but having the chops to be musical is!

I hope you enjoy the finished result - all improvised!

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