How Hybrid Picking Fluent are you?

Spot on. I don’t know of anyone who makes some conscious choice up-front: “Hey I will be a Palm the Pick Person!!” vs. “Why, I believe Hybrid is the Long Game I should commit to!!”

Well, except for those Thoughtful Bastards(tm) who somehow realized it makes sense to commit to Thumbpick + Fingers, and muscle through what it takes to get competent. Frickin’ Tommy E, Johnny Marr - so, so versatile, but I could *never* have committed to that long game.
I could not agree more, and I think it's something that a lot of guitarists (myself definitely included) are guilty of, where we look at our playing and think: "Okay, who should be my inspiration? Alright, Frank Gambale, which means I have to stop considering alternate picking or legato" and stuff like that. A bit on the nose, but you get my drift, the way we sometimes get too focused on how we play, and not enough on what we play.

So nowadays, I tend to look at how I play when I'm just going for it, and how I solve various issues in the heat of the moment. Pick direction, sliding into notes, using open strings, etc.


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Well, well, well - look what just popped up on my YT homepage. Pick-palmer extraordinaire Chris Buck discussing his technique.

About to watch...


Just ok I reckon, I’m competent fingerstyle or with just a pick ... but full on hybrid picking is limited and a work in progress. There are certain things that I can just only do with a pick.


Been doin' banjo rolls for many years. That's basically what "hybrid" picking is, and that's what we called it decades ago.

Wyatt Martin

I've been playing country for 20 years now so it's become second nature for me. On the occasion I play a rock song I have to consciously think about not doing it otherwise I'll end up "countrifying" the lead.

Executing it at gigs can be challenging if I'm having trouble hearing myself or if the drummer starts picking up in momentum and volume, in which case I'll find myself reverting back to alternate picking which I feel takes away from the dynamics.


Still breathing
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Hmm - old dog, new tricks.

I seem to have leveled up in my Hybrid Picking - something clicked in the past week. Holding a pick, my middle finger could function like my Index in normal fingerpicking, but my ring finger has been dodgy at best. However, now, I can do straight fingerpicking Hybrid style, i.e., treat my pick like my Thumb, and use my Middle + Ring as fluently as I have used my Index + Middle for normal fingerpicking. Just clicked into place after years of flailing - I wasn’t targeting it - I wasn’t fully aware I *should* be targeting it ;)

Interesting and fun - have to be very careful not to pick too hard. But it makes varying up the dynamics on songs that much more intuitive.

So - is this a “what took you so long, old man?” situation, i.e., if one is going to Hybrid Pick, you should be doing it to this level of fluency, by definition? Or is this seen as, I dunno, “Level 2” after just basic stuff?? Is there a next level of fluency one should be targeting??
I never knew better. I learned to fingerpick because I didn’t have many picks and wanted to be free to play. When picks became more available to me, I naturally picked up hybrid picking. I fluidly oscilate, depending on the phrasing and speed and texture and timbre desires.


I'm alright at it. Been working on some of that Albert Lee/Zakk Wylde chickin pickin. Fun stuff, I try to shove some of what I learn into my improv. I'm not bad at it. It's hard to find licks to learn. So I know less than I would like.

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