String Switching Etudes



I am new to the forum and the Code Cracking community, therefore, I hope you’l forgive me if this post is so last week (which is most likely the case).

I have always equated playing fast with the left hand and try as I might, I never developed the necessary dexterity to make any real improvements. As I have worked my way through Troy’s lessons the role of the right hand has become increasingly clear (hard to miss if you’re paying any attention at all :smirk:)

in my own playing, I have noticed two separate issues:

  1. Just training the right hand to pick evenly and fast on one string strikes me as important. That seems like it should be the easiest thing in to do in guitar playing, but much like learning to even out and extend one’s breathing in yoga, it’s much harder to do once you take it seriously.

  2. Training my right hand to adapt properly to the distance between strings has proven to be equally challenging. When I move from string to string with any speed it’s usually the right hand misjudging that distance the results in missing the hop and hence slowing down my playing.

Two work on improving #2 I am doing two things:

  1. Playing two note per string pentatonic scales at the 12th fret with sole focus on string hopping.
  2. Playing chords with the same two note string hopping pattern (just hitting each string twice - down-up) which more or less removes the left hand from the equation. Playing different chords extracts some of the monotony from the practice.

It’s early but that is helping. Although I didn’t anticipate it, I find my pick grip (hot topic these days) is evolving and stabilizing. It just feels more comfortable and ‘firm’ - “firm” and “loose” being subtle terms in this context.

In addition, my speed is improving slowly, both while practicing and then when I play generally. That, of course, was the hope, so it’s nice to see that actually happening. :slight_smile:

With the above in mind, I would be interested in discussing “etudes” with anyone who shares my curiosity in this practice technique. For those not familiar with the term, an etude is “a short musical composition, typically for one instrument, designed as an exercise to improve the technique or demonstrate the skill of the player.”

One obvious goal of an etude is to make practicing more artful and less mundane. My current string hopping regimen certainly weighted heavily towards the mundane.

I know Troy has numerous clips of scales and licks which would fit loosely into the etude genre and I appreciate those where they fit my needs.

I am curious whether others on the forum have developed compositions focused on learning a particular skill or technique?




What do you mean by string hopping? Do you mean string skipping?

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Of course! You can always find some Bach, which is almost always very difficult but beautiful at the same time.

I grabbed the Midi file somewhere on the net for this and put it in Guitar Pro 6. It is a adaptation of the Prelude and Fugue in C minor, from Bach, created for the game Piano Tiles 2.

It is still a work in progress, but since you wrote your post here, I thought I would share.
If you have Guitar Pro 6 , you can open and edit the fingerings yourself. If not, take a look at the PDF.

It is a great challenge for working on crosspicking.


Thanks @datasundae nice topic! To clarify, we use the term “stringhopping” to refer to the kind of bounce-like inefficient motion mechanic where you’re using the same muscle movements repeatedly for consecutive notes, rather than alternating the muscles used.

Sounds like you’re talking about etudes for working on string-switching more generally? Or string-skipping (a bit more specific) i.e. where you’re switching between non-adjacent strings?

Sorry for any confusion with the terminology here :slight_smile: Let me know and I can adjust the topic title to clarify.

And yes I believe there are other discussions here with folks sharing stuff they’re working on with specific technical focus. This comes to mind, not exclusively etudes but some fun stuff here: Challenging passages we are working on — probably others I don’t recall at the moment but may turn up via search.


Yes I am talking about string-switching between adjacent strings (that’s challenging enough for me right now :wink: .
What intrigued me about etudes (which I actually got from an artist friend of mine) is the historical idea that musicians created compositions to hone specific skills which, while challenging compositionally, would make ‘practicing’ much more engaging.