Very Effective Alternate Picking Exercises

In this video guitar lesson I will show you a nice little etude that you can play that will drastically improve your ability to cross strings while alternate picking.

This video should be watched by every level of guitar player because even if you are new to this technique, you can still play through it very slowly to develop proper alternate picking technique.

The ability to cross strings fluently is by far the most difficult aspect of alternate picking. In this video lesson I demonstrate the only two ways it is possible to move from one string to another while alternate picking, and how to practice them.

These are exercises used by players such as John Pertrucci, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Alexi Laiho and others to develop their phenomenal picking technique.

At the end of the lesson we will put both techniques together for a nice well rounded picking workout.

Download the TAB PDF below because you will definitely need it to follow along with the lesson.

Alternate Picking Etude TAB PDF

Take your time and keep your picking hand wrist and forearm relaxed while practicing these exercises. It would be great to go through them at least once a day to really keep your alternate picking chops in shape!

Have Fun!!

If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Effective Alternate Picking Exercises Etude


  1. fretfanatix on August 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Pure gold yet again Mr Carl this is exactly the sort of stuff im trying to do while im still having physiotherapy on my hands and cant really play a great deal,im just working on technique and some theory.
    This little ditty sounds good too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carl Brown on August 24, 2010 at 3:51 pm

      Great!! I hope your physio is going well too. Keep me updated, looking forward to having you back at 100%. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. djluis48 on August 26, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I just found this site, and its a really nice site, im going to donate for it to stay online! I like it a lot! Thanks Carl! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carl Brown on August 26, 2010 at 4:03 pm

      Hey thanks a lot for the support of the site. Hope to see you around a lot in the future!! Carl ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Jeremy van Putten on March 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    This is AWESOME!!! finallt some good advice and exercises that make sense!

  4. john ferranti on July 6, 2011 at 4:12 am

    Carl…First off; Thank You for putting up a contrasting background color on Your Wonderful website…without the contrasting color; I had to right click & “select all”, with my face 18″ from my 36″ monitor, to read each sentence…(blind as a bat!…lol) I’ve been away (but kept up subscription payments)… Well; I’m back to stay…You make this stuff so easy for me to actually understand & perform each lesson…thanks again…jf
    rYour Comments

    • Carl Brown on July 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      Hey John, I was wondering where you have been. ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought I emailed you when I redesigned the site to have a dark background like you suggested. Anyway, glad to have you back!

      Hope to hear from you again soon!


  5. nitin sharma on February 18, 2012 at 4:09 am

    nice excersice

  6. Xavier on June 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I would like to say that i love the site and would like to make one recommendation… would you consider making these videos available for download so i can put it on my phone/ ipod and if i need to rewatch it i’m able to do so.

  7. Francis Mallon on September 28, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I’m going to donate again but later than I thought.Your site is fantastic and needs to be kept going great job thank you for the free stuff until I can get back to premium. Best of luck!!!

  8. luke satchwell on June 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Gotta say a nice excercise that gives a learner like me something to practice while actually sounding like something instead of just noise, can i ask what amp setting you used

    • Carl Brown on June 11, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Hey Luke, I wish I could remember those settings but that lesson was done with a Line 6 POD HD500 years ago and I don’t have the unit anymore. ๐Ÿ™

      I will be covering tones like this in my new guitar tone series of lessons though so hopefully you will check those out.

      Thanks for watching my lessons! Carl..

  9. Keith P on October 21, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    This exercise is a lot of fun, and has helped a lot. Looking forward to doing more of the premium picking lessons.

  10. george kerr on July 18, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    This is a wonderful exercise that once in your head begs to be played fast..Its fun and sounds good not boring. Thanks Carl again

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