The Secret to Smooth Solos (TRIPLET PICKING)

Much of the overall skill for being able to rip out a smooth solo will come down to how well you can control your picking and your pick accents. One of the best rhythms for practicing the skill of "accent control" is to work on the study of the feel for the triplet picking... 

This lesson is going to get you focused on growing your ability for playing triplet picked lines. For a lot of guitar players, the accents that are involved with playing triplets can be tricky. But, with the right studies, things can improve rapidly.

When you break the triplets down to smaller studies that focus more on helping with how to control triplet picking (within smaller drills), you end up with studies that work to both improve your feel and improve your sense of comfort when it comes to playing any type of triplet picked idea.


Let’s get started by developing a sense of feel for the pick-hand when it performs the action of picking triplets…

Exercise 1). Developing Triplet Picked Feel

Once you have a good overall sense of pick-hand control for performing the triplet as a rhythmic duration, the next step is to work out a repetitive picking run to help you maintain a sense of stamina.

This is important when it comes to playing lines that will use these rhythms. My next exercise is a short single measure triplet drill that you can practice for playing up and down the guitar neck laterally using the triplet feel.

Exercise 2). 3-String Along the Neck Drill

Once you have a solid sense of control for alternate picking, it is great to re-work your picking studies to incorporate some legato ideas as well.

And, (of course), to get that smooth legato effect on guitar, nothing works better than hammer-ons and pull-offs…

Exercise 3). Along the Neck Drill - Legato

When it comes to playing longer scale passages, the triplet feel is excellent for those scale layouts known as “Three-Note Per String” scale patterns.

The final exercise uses a much longer scale run that incorporates triplet picking within a 3-Note Per String scale structure.

Exercise 4). Triplets and 3-Note Per String Scales

When developing your own scale runs and exercises that apply triplet picking, be sure to consider how the different sections of scale patterns you organize, will be able to balance with your alternate picking pattern used across the triplet feel.

Remember, triplet feel uses mixed down-strokes and up-strokes that get balanced differently, to create different accents.

Be sure to really concentrate and get your triplets clear. After some well-appointed practice time, nothing about triplet picking will feel at all awkward when you build up your speed.

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