The Basics of Hybrid Picking

Hybrid Picking is a great technique to add to your repertoire. Not only does it allow you to play with some added efficiency, but it can also allow you to play notes or phrases that you couldn’t play with just a pick.

Hybrid picking is the combination of regular picking with a plectrum and using another finger from the picking hand, either at the same time as the plectrum or separate from the plectrum for specific notes.

It’s quite a tricky technique to start with and does require a little patience and persistence to get right. Once you’ve started hybrid picking, you’ll never go back!
Keep reading for some exercises to help you learn how to hybrid pick on guitar..

Getting Started with the Hybrid Picking Technique

Hybrid picking can be done with any finger from the picking hand in conjunction with the plectrum, but for the purpose of this lesson we’ll keep it simple. You will pick as normal with your plectrum, and all the hybrid picked notes will be played with your middle finger.

Before you start trying to integrate it into regular playing, it’s important to just get used to the technique. Place a simple power chord shape on the D and G strings, and pick it in a hybrid style.

Plectrum for the notes on the D string and middle finger for the notes on the G.

Imagine your plectrum is your downstroke and your middle finger is your upstroke.

Then try just moving the power chord shape around. Try this on different pairings of strings too.

Hybrid Picking Exercise 1

In practical use, hybrid picking might be used for chord or arpeggio patterns like this. This simple ascending phrase uses 2 regular picked notes on the A and D strings and a hybrid picked note on the G.

Hybrid Picking Exercise 2

Hybrid picking also allows you to play two strings at the same time that are not situated directly next to each other. This phrase starts each chord with a pair of notes played together before a short hybrid picked ascending line.

Pay attention to the final two beats where you fit a pair of chords across two beats, this changes the rhythm slightly.

Hybrid Picking Exercise 3

Hybrid picking can also be used in a lead guitar context. This bluesy lick slides around notes on the G string, which are all played with regular plectrum strokes, and adds in additional notes on the high E string played with the middle finger.

Hybrid Picking Exercise 4

You can also develop a lot of speed with hybrid picking. This rolling triplet lick is a great way to really get your hybrid picking speed up.

Hybrid Picking Exercise 5

If you’re feeling adventurous you can break out the hybrid picking into some longer scale runs. Here is an example of how you can use a pentatonic scale with hybrid picking for either a really useful exercise, or just a speedy lick to throw into your solos.

Each string pairing is made up of two triplets. The first contains a pull off which is picked with the middle finger followed by a single note that is picked with the plectrum. The second starts with a single note played with the middle finger and a pull off picked with the plectrum. This repeats all the way down the scale.

Ready to move on from picking techniques? Hit Next for our lesson on Barre Chords, or go Back if you need some extra time to work on Alternate Picking.

This PMT College lesson was brought to you in partnership with, and written by experienced guitar teacher Leigh Fuge. Leigh works as part of a community of guitar teachers based across the UK. Click here to find a teacher near you.