Looking to add some dazzle to your playing? Try out Tosin Abasi’s dizzying selective picking technique

Tosin Abasi employs numerous unusual and difficult techniques in his guitar work, from thumping to double picking.

Now the Animals as Leaders electric guitar player has offered up a short video lesson demonstrating his unique selective picking approach, which, as he explains, is “a term I use to describe producing notes on the guitar where I divide my left and right hand up.

“So if I want to do a group of three notes, I would hammer on from nowhere the first note and then [notes] two and three would be completed by my right hand.”

Sounds easy? It’s not.

By way of example, Abasi performs a “neat little diatonic riff in E minor,” very slowly at first, and then up to speed.

The result is a mind-boggling, percussive run that sounds as if Abasi is using a delay pedal. Or as one commenter puts it, “What I'm hearing seems to bear no relationship to what I'm seeing.”

Abasi offers a few tips when tackling selective picking, including using a guitar with low action and employing a split-coil sound to achieve the appropriate attack.

Beyond that, you’re on your own.

If you want to grab the tab for the lesson, however, it’s available at Abasi’s Shopify store.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.