Skip It! (An Introduction To String-Skipping)
(27 Mar 03)
Wow, I bet you love those titles I come up with for my articles, huh? "Stretch It !", "Stretch Some More !", and no "Skip It"... (can you guess the title of the upcoming article about tapping?!?)
But hey, I just wanna make clear what the article is about, and at the same time I am too weird to simply write "String-Skipping" or something. So bear with me, ok?
Anyway, we have covered most of the "rock guitar" and "shred" techniques (picking, legato, sweeping, the whammy bar, harmonics) in some of the other articles, and this is the newest one in this little "interactive online book" of mine =) (Some more are on the way)
There is already an article about this technique available at iBreathe, written by Geoff Thorpe, and Geoff sure did a good job writing an introduction to the technique.
But since I always have to have the last word, and since I have this "thread" going through my series of articles (starting with elemental techniques such as picking and legato, going to the more difficult techniques such as sweeping etc.) I decided to write another "introduction to string-skipping).
I also wanna kind build upon the articles I have already written, since I am gonna show you some string-skipping licks in the style of guys like Greg Howe, Paul Gilbert and... well, myself, and you sure need to be familiar (and more than that!) with the basic techniques I wrote about, before you approach string-skipping.
By the way, why didn't you skip this introduction? (Mu har har har) You knew it would be another one of those boring, way-too-long Vandenberg-introductions... =)
OK, what IS string-skipping?
Well, it's just what the name implies: skipping strings while playing. You skip certain strings while playing fast licks and melodic stuff. And here is the FIRST THING TO KEEP IN MIND: Just like arpeggios and tapping, string-skipping can be a GREAT melodic tool. So don't consider it "just another great technique to create mind-boggling sounds"... you can use it to create really cool melodies and simulate the sound / note-choice of other instruments, like the voice and the saxophone.
But we'll get to some melodic applications later on...
Why skipping ?
Well, often, when listening to some other players (especially beginners) I start to think whether there's an unwritten law for guitarists to never play an interval bigger than the major third. (I hope it's not a law, otherwise guys like Thorsten and me are outlaws on the run... )
Seriously: you have an instrument which you can play HUGE intervals on without moving the hand too much, cuz you have 6 adjacent strings, tuned in fourths (and a major third).
Put your index finger on the E at the 12th fret, low E-string. Now, play that note, and then play the higher E at the 12th fret, HIGH E-String. That's an interval of 2 octaves, and you haven't even moved your hand along the neck.
Now, play the low E-again, and then reach out for the higher frets on the high E-string... If you can play an A, you have played an interval of two octaves and a perfect 4th!
I know that just a bunch of notes like that doesn't sound really cool or ground-breaking, but maybe it can help you to understand what kind of stuff you can do on a guitar, regarding intervals.
So why limit yourself to only playing on adjacent strings?