Guitar Picking Exercises that are a Joy to Play - Part I

Practicing the guitar picking exercises on this page will not only improve your picking, making it more accurate and agile, but will bring some fun too.

Don't run on high speed right away, set a comfortable tempo on your metronome or drum machine and let's roll...

"Plain" Alternate Picking Exercises

I call them plain because they are played straightforward, 16 equal notes per bar (or 4 notes per metronome's click).

exercise 1

simple alternate picking exercise - tablature

The main purpose of this exercise is to warm up your picking hand, get solid, accurate alternation between up and downbeats.

exercise 2

Play this exercise in two modes:

  1. Straightforward as the previous one.
  2. Accenting every fretted notes, making the notes on the open string sound on the background.
with accents
major sounding guitar picking exercise - tab

exercise 3

Play this drill in the two previous modes using a clean guitar sound. After that, fire up the distortion and have fun with the backing track right below.

I used palm mutes with the notes on the open string for cooler effect.

distorted guitar
backing track
middle-eastern sounding guitar picking exercise - guitar tablature

exercise 4

melodic guitar picking exercise

exercise 5

cool guitar picking exercise - guitar tablature

Alternate Picking Exercises And Triplet Notes

This is different from the previous exercises where we picked four plain notes per metronome's click.

The triplet picking is more fancy, you will need to play three notes per click now, still using alternate picking.

And it feels awkward when you play it the first time :)
It takes some time to begin to feel the pulse of three equal notes per beat.

Just focus on your picking hand and rhythm until you get it.

After that you can adopt exercise 1, 2 and 3, for triplet picking. You'll need to withdraw one note on the open string in each group of four notes.

exercise 6

You'll need more participation of your fretting hand on this one. The drill sounds kind of Neoclassical and resembles the style of Bach.

guitar exercise sounding in style of Bach - guitar tablature
That's all for now, if you'd like to check out more of my drills go to Part II - Rhythmic Picking Exercises

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This article was last updated on January 18, 2024