Monday, October 29, 2007


Here's a little picking etude I've written that's based on Pachelbel's Canon in D.

Let's break it down:

Bars 1 - 8: Alternate picking + string skipping

The first 8 bars can be strictly alternate picked with no legato. It's an excellent way to get your string skipping chops together. You can also do this with legato, picking once on each string, but I personally prefer the articulation that strict alternate picking provides. There's no harm practicing it both ways though! Keep in mind the arpeggios you're playing, and don't forget that you can transpose them to any key. Use the chords as a guide.

Bars 9 - 16: Sweep picked arpeggios

This section is tackles sweep picked arpeggios, across different inversions. Note the picking guide above, but feel free to alter it to use whatever you feel comfortable with. Here's a breakdown of the patterns. The chords in parentheses refer to the root form that these arpeggios are derived from, as they would be played in the open position

Bar 9: D major, root in the bass (A major shape)
Bar 10: A major, root in the bass (C major shape)
Bar 11: B minor, 5th in the bass (D minor shape)
Bar 12: F# minor, root in the bass (A minor shape)
Bar 13: G major, root in the bass (C major shape)
Bar 14: D major, 3rd in the bass (A major shape)
Bar 15: G major, 5th in the bass (C major shape)
Bar 10: A major, root in the bass (C major shape)

Bars 17-24: Economy picked scalar runs

Here, we're just picking the mode that relates to the chord that's being played, and ripping through it with economy picking. You can mix it up and try it with strict alternate picking as well. A picking guide is provided for economy picking this passage. Here's a breakdown of the shapes

Bar 17: D Ionian
Bar 18: A Mixolydian
Bar 19: B Aeolian
Bar 20: F# Phrygian
Bar 21: G Lydian
Bar 22: D Ionian
Bar 23: G lydian
Bar 24: A Mixolydian with a little chromatic bit right at the end

It's best to practice with a metronome. Start at a sensible speed and work your way up, I find this to be a nice little warm up/chop building exercise, plus if you think about it as you play you'll learn a bunch of neat arpeggios on the way!

Download the sheet music for this post here

Alternatively, download the Sibelius scorch plug-in and use this version, which allows you to play back the piece and hear what it should sound like

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