Picking Barrier

OK, I’ll try to explain my problem. In faster riffs, going from the 1st string to the 3rd (as an example), I frequently will ram the pick into the 2nd string. Not so much a problem if I’m looking, but not want I want to do. I almost feel like I need to jump vertically to clear the string, but that seems to slow me down. Guitar is a Strat that is set up properly.

Any suggestions? New to guitar, but played violin. With that instrument you raise your elbow in four positions to change strings. Try that on a guitar!


1 Like

Not a lot to go on despite you saying new to guitar and playing faster riffs.
I would advocate a fairly common approach,
Slow down, right down until you can play the designated piece accurately and avoiding the 2nd string (do you mean B or A ?).
I mean real slow. If the riff covers a few bars, break it down a bar at a time.
Get it right slow as in ssssssssllllllllllllooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww :turtle:
Then up the tempo “slowly” a few bpm at at time.
When you hit the desired tempo, keep ramping the bpm up.
If you can get to 10 bpm over the desired bpm, when you back it off to the song’s tempo, it will feel slow and “easier” to do.

My approach but your mileage may vary.

Keep picking (slowly).



I agree with @TheMadman_tobyjenner here, this is extremely common and the answer is to slow it down and practice more.

Also, look at pick attack and escape angle, your pick should be at a slight angle to the strings (not flat on) and movement coming from the wrist. The angle helps the pick escape.


Here’s a Justin lesson that teaches the technique: https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/blues-study-riff-sidestep-16-bar-blues-be-104

I suggest watching the whole lesson, but he starts talking about the technique that solves your problem at 14:15.


Yes, I meant the B string in the example given, but the issue is encountered whenever having to miss/skip an intermediate string. The video lesson cited exactly talks about what I’m experiencing. He even describes the challenge of trying to jump over the string if you don’t come at an angle (Justin says in and out vs up and down). I have been holding the pick the way he cautions against. If you’ve never done it correctly, I think it’s harder to accomplish than it looks. I practice a lot which just means I have a bad habit to unlearn.


Don’t we all. Everything that holds us back from being Joe Satriani is basically a bad habit.

Hi Dennis!

I wanted to ask, do you do any string skipping exercises?
If not, it might be beneficial to add one or two in your routine for a while.

Simple exercises like 1-2-3-4 (fingers) with alternate picking and string skipping could help you overcome this barrier.

1 Like

That’s a good suggestion. I’ve been doing some string skipping exercises recently and finding them to help but the ones I’ve been doing have also included rolling (if thats the right term).

No exercises yet; didn’t know of any. Great idea. Found this:

In case anyone else is interested. Thanks for the suggestion.