Guitar Drills, for One String: Rain

This is the next pattern in my set of guitar exercises. It is a complement to the Pogo drill, but reverses the direction. This is the next one-string finger pattern in my guitar exercise routine. The complete routine will eventually include a comprehensive set of finger patterns and picking combinations. They can then be used to build more melodic runs and will provide more options while improvising.

I don't expect this guitar exercise to be as tricky as the Pogo, because the finger pattern is more natural. For most people, when tapping one's fingers on a table, it is easier to roll them from the pinky (4th finger) to the forefinger (1st finger). This exercise uses that same motion, but with three fingers instead of all four.

This drill complements the Pogo, because the rhythm and the picking pattern are the same between the two. So, if you've mastered one, then the other should just be a matter of "drill"-ing in the opposite finger direction into your muscle memory.

The point of this guitar exercise is to improve finger speed, picking speed, and timing accuracy between them. Any of my guitar exercises have those goals, but the one-string exercises are focused on coordination and timing of fingers and pick, which is crucial at high speeds. Limiting the exercise to one string allows us to remove the added variable of transitions from one string to another, which can (and sometimes should) be an exercise of its own!

Speed and accuracy on guitar cannot be achieved on 6 strings unless it can be achieved on 1!

I call this guitar exercise "Rain", because when played at the right speed, it can sound like the musical version of a light, spring rain.

Notation:

Emphasis  : ^
Pick Up   : u
Pick Down : d
Sweep Pick: / or \


Picking Pattern

As with the Pogo, a 3-note pattern makes for a tricky picking pattern. The emphasis of the notes alternates between the down-pick and up-pick. Practicing the rhythm of this pattern without fretting any notes can be a big help in getting the timing down.

Remember that the key here is to properly place the emphasis. In this case, the first and fourth notes are emphasized.

  ^     ^
|-x-x-x-x-x-x-| (repeat)
   d u d u d u


Get comfortable with the picking pattern, especially with the emphasis alternating between down-stroke and up-stroke. The above exercise should be done on all strings at different locations on the guitar neck. Once the alternating picking emphasis comes easily, it's time to add the finger patterns.

The Finger Pattern

Now add some finger patterns. Here's an example; you can try this with any combination of notes within reach on a single string. But for this drill, this is one of the more common ones.

Repeat indefinitely with alternate picking and without pause between repetitions:

   ^        ^
|--8--6--5--8--6--5-| (repeat)
   d  u  d  u  d  u


At first, do this a dozen times or so on all strings at different locations on the neck, since your picking will be affected by the weights of the different strings and the varying action at the different positions of the neck.

The idea is to do this as quickly as can be done cleanly. If your accuracy isn't right on, and the notes aren't coming out cleanly, then slow it down. The speed will come.

Stay relaxed. After some time, your hand will likely stiffen up. Go as slow as you need to for your hand to stay relaxed. And take five if you get really stiff.

Primary one-string patterns for the Pogo

Pattern 1: 4-2-1

This version uses the 1st, 2nd, and 4th fingers:

   ^        ^
|--8--6--5--8--6--5-| (repeat)
   d  u  d  u  d  u


Pattern 2: 4-3-1 This version uses the 1st, 3rd (ring), and 4th fingers:

   ^        ^
|--8--7--5--8--7--5-| (repeat)
   d  u  d  u  d  u


Pattern 3: 4-2-1 stretch This version uses the 1st, 2nd, and 4th fingers again, but with a bit of stretch for the 2nd finger:

   ^        ^
|--9--7--5--9--7--5-| (repeat)
   d  u  d  u  d  u



Once you are comfortable with all of these finger patterns, move to the next step: string transitions.

String Transitions

Once you've got the picking pattern down, and you can play it comfortably and accurately, take the plunge! Transitions between strings adds another aspect to this exercise that can pose a challenge.

One of the challenges in designing a guitar exercise is obtaining full coverage. That's covering all strings, all areas of the neck, and variations in picking. In general, moving from one string to another presents two options for picking: strict alternate picking transition, and a "sweep" pick transition.

Here's an example of this exercise using an alternate picking transition:

 
     ^        ^        ^        ^
g |--------------------2--4--5--2--4--5-------------------|
d |--2--3--5--2--3--5-------------------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u


 

Here's an example of this exercise using a sweep pick:

     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
a |-----------------------------5--3--2--5--3--2--5--3--2-|
e |--5--3--1--5--3--1--5--3--1----------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/ d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d


The main difference here is in how many times the pattern is repeated before moving to the next string. An odd number of repetitions results in a sweep pick, while an even number of times results in an alternating pick transition.

The number of repetitions per string can be put together to give you the sound you want or the coverage you want. For the purposes of this guitar exercise, the point is full coverage, making sure we incorporate both types of picking transitions, all of the different string weights, all of the positions on the neck, over all scale patterns.

Ascending the Scale

Here's the drill extended to the whole fretboard. Be sure to pay attention to the picking on the string transitions. The number of repetitions per string are designed to create a mix of alternate picking and sweep picking.

 
Position 1

     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-17-15-13-17-15-13-17-15-13----------------------------|
b |----------------------------17-15-13-17-15-13-17-15-13-|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\ u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\


    ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-16-14-12-16-14-12-------------------------------------|
d |-------------------15-14-12-15-14-12-------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d


     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-15-14-12-15-14-12-15-14-12----------------------------|
e |----------------------------15-13-12-15-13-12-15-13-12-|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\ u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u


Position 2

     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |----------------------------14-12-10-14-12-10-14-12-10-|
e |-13-12-10-13-12-10-13-12-10----------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/ d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/

     ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------14-12-10-14-12-10-------------------|
d |-14-12-10-14-12-10-------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u


     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |----------------------------15-13-12-15-13-12-15-13-12-|
b |-15-13-12-15-13-12-15-13-12----------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/ d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d


Position 3

     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-13-12-10-13-12-10-13-12-10----------------------------|
b |----------------------------13-12-10-13-12-10-13-12-10-|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\ u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\


     ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-12-10--9-12-10--9-------------------------------------|
d |-------------------12-10--9-12-10--9-------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d


     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-12-10--8-12-10--8-12-10--8----------------------------|
e |----------------------------12-10--8-12-10--8-12-10--8-|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\ u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u


Position 4

     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |----------------------------10--8--7-10--8--7-10--8--7-|
e |-10--8--7-10--8--7-10--8--7----------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/ d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/


     ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------10--9--7-10--9--7-------------------|
d |-10--9--7-10--9--7-------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u


     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |----------------------------12-10--8-12-10--8-12-10--8-|
b |-12-10--8-12-10--8-12-10--8----------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/ d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d


Position 5

     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-10--8--7-10--8--7-10--8--7----------------------------|
b |----------------------------10--8--6-10--8--6-10--8--6-|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\ u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\


     ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |--9--7--5--9--7--5-------------------------------------|
d |--------------------9--7--5--9--7--5-------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d


     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |--9--7--5--9--7--5--9--7--5----------------------------|
e |-----------------------------8--7--5--8--7--5--8--7--5-|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\ u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u


Position 6

     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-----------------------------7--5--3--7--5--3--7--5--3-|
e |--7--5--3--7--5--3--7--5--3----------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/ d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/


     ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |--------------------7--5--4--7--5--4-------------------|
d |--7--5--3--7--5--3-------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u


     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-----------------------------8--7--5--8--7--5--8--7--5-|
b |--8--6--5--8--6--5--8--6--5----------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d/ d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d


Position 7

     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |--7--5--3--7--5--3--7--5--3----------------------------|
b |-----------------------------6--5--3--6--5--3--6--5--3-|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\ u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\


     ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |--5--4--2--5--4--2-------------------------------------|
d |--------------------5--3--2--5--3--2-------------------|
a |-------------------------------------------------------|
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d


     ^        ^        ^        ^        ^        ^
e |-------------------------------------------------------|
b |-------------------------------------------------------|
g |-------------------------------------------------------|
d |-------------------------------------------------------|
a |--5--3--2--5--3--2--5--3--2----------------------------|
e |-----------------------------5--3--1--5--3--1--5--3--1-|
     u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u\ u  d  u  d  u  d  u  d  u


More by this Author


Comments 2 comments

Cris A profile image

Cris A 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

This looks greek to me but i'm glad somebody's living his dream :D

Hmm what's a pogo? LOL


droj profile image

droj 6 years ago from CNY Author

This isn't quite the "dream", but it is great to be playing again. :)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working