String Skip Soloing

String Skip Soloing: An Interesting Approach to Guitar Improvisation.

If you somehow feel you are in a rut with your playing and keep doing the same things all the time, this chapter will definitely help you break out of old familiar habits.

This is an interesting improv technique, not enough guitar players explore.
Most of the time, most guitar players improvise going from one string to the adjacent string, which automatically makes musical phrases more scalar.
“Scalar” means “as in a scale”, or in other words: “moving by step”.

When you improvise on 2 non-adjacent strings, then your phrases automatically become more intervallic instead of scalar.

How It Works.

This improv technique requires you to change strings WITHIN your phrases.

You only get the “string skip sound” if you play melodic phrases that incorporate notes on both non-adjacent strings within the same phrase: as opposed to “playing a phrase on 1 string, then playing a phrase on the next”.

Again: you only get the angular, intervallic string skip sound if you change string during the phrase.
Otherwise it will merely sound like you are playing separate scalar phrases that alternate between the high and low range, as shown in following example:

String skip soloing pic1

Following graphic shows how the above melody can easily be performed on 1 string only.

string skip soloing pic 2

The next example shows how you get the string skip soloing sound.

string skip soloing pic 3

Some Features of The String Skip Soloing Approach.

• Many finger slides.
• Mostly linear. It is like single-string playing on 2 non-adjacent strings simultaneously
• Both strings are always incorporated within each phrase.
• Longer melodic lines. This is beyond “3-note phrases”.
• Lots of linear/horizontal movement all across the fretboard.

Some Fun Tips.

  1. Experiment with wide finger stretches
  2. Experiment adding open strings
  3. Experiment with interesting rhythms. When you start combining more intervallic note combinations (melody) WITH more time intervallic note placements (rhythm); this is where things REALLY take off sonically.
  4. Using hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.
  5. Hybrid Picking.
    String skip soloing requires some good picking technique. (Especially if you want to play faster lines).
    It’s a great exercise for your picking technique.
    You could also hybrid pick it, which should make it slightly easier to play faster lines.
    Hybrid Picking is explained here: Single String Soloing Video

Watch the video on the following blog if you want to hear examples of how this works and what it sounds like.

Single String Soloing Video


You want to check out Carl Verheyen if you want to hear great examples of this improv technique.
This soloing technique is a strong part of Carl’s guitar style.
Carl is one of the most recorded session guitarists. He is also the guitarist with Supertramp.

Another guitar player who uses this is Guthrie Govan.
Check him out too: he’s sick.

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