JamPlay with Andy James: Three Pentatonic Hybrid-Picked Runs to Increase Speed and Dexterity

Andy James, one of the U.K.'s finest metal guitarists and a JamPlay instructor, is here to dish out inside information on hybrid picking, one of the techniques that affords him his blistering speed.

This method of playing allows the use of not only a pick, but all of the fingers that would typically remain idle.

The second, third and fourth fingers can pick a note or a series of notes while the pick is still in action, resulting in greater speed and easier access to the first, second and third strings.

This technique, while typically used for bluegrass, rockabilly and country, is exceptionally well-suited toward rock and metal when properly applied.

In this video lesson, Andy teaches three separate hybrid-picking runs that make use of the pentatonic scale. They will work out your hands, increase your finger dexterity and set you well on your way to adding this technique to your repertoire.


The first exercise makes use of the pentatonic scale and features a healthy amount of string skipping. Andy makes liberal use of the hybrid picking technique to add in interesting accent notes that would otherwise be difficult to play. Repetition is the key to mastering this exercise and adding this technique to your muscle-memory arsenal.


This repeating pentatonic sequence is fast and uses hybrid picking to add in a series of accent notes. It features more hybrid-picked notes than the first exercise, so be sure not to move on unless the previous lick has been mastered.


This lick is fast, almost painfully so. Andy uses hammer-ons, pull-offs and hybrid picking to play this E minor arpeggio sequence. Though it sounds wicked on its own, this lick is a masterful example of how to use hybrid picking in metal.

JamPlay.com offers more than 4,000 guitar lessons from the teachers you are dying to learn from. Touring musicians, famous artists, college professors and teachers with life-long experience are all on the JamPlay roster. On top of that, JamPlay features instructors live on webcam for eight-plus hours per day to help make you a better player. Visit JamPlay.com for more information.

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