How To Massively Improve Inside Picking Using A Simple Directional Picking Exercise

by Tom Hess


Guitarists often struggle with inside picking and avoid it in favor of using alternate picking only. This makes it harder for you to keep your hands in sync and play guitar cleanly at fast speeds. The result is tons of frustration as you consistently make mistakes every time you want to play at fast tempos.

Using directional picking forces you to practice inside picking rather than avoid it as most people do. This is because directional picking requires using a downstroke while moving to higher/thinner strings and an upstroke while moving to lower/thicker strings. This improves inside picking.

Use this exercise to improve your inside picking with directional picking and make fast guitar playing feel effortless:

Step 1. Using the example below, isolate the first four notes and play them over and over. Make sure each note does not bleed into the next one. Then start over from the first note of the next string and repeat (continue the pattern until you reach the last string). Do this for 5 minutes. This helps you get used to directional picking movement.

Unwanted Guitar String Noise

Step 2. Play through the following variation of the pattern above for 5 minutes. This uses directional picking together with inside picking. Repeat this pattern by starting it on the second string once you are used to the motion (then continue moving to the third string, fourth, etc.).

Unwanted Guitar String Noise

Note: While practicing this exercise, heavily accent the upstrokes using more force in your pick attack and watch your picking hand as you play. This helps you articulate notes better. Watching your picking hand helps you correct any mistakes in your picking technique.

Repeat the steps above once per day for two weeks. This quickly improves your inside (and overall) picking technique. Start using the same approaches above with scale patterns to begin applying it into your normal playing.

Want to become an amazing shred guitarist? Read this article about how to make fast guitar playing feel easy and get strategies to help you play fast with ease.


Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

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