This book serves as an excellent companion to Gustavo Assis-Brasil’s Hybrid Picking for Guitar, which is probably one of the best tutorials you will ever find on the technique of hybrid picking. As you may already know, hybrid picking is using a combination of both picks and fingers. The thumb and index finger hold the pick and usually play the lower strings (D, A and E) while the other fingers – middle finger, ring finger and pinky – pluck the higher strings. And, as I mentioned in my review of Gustavo’s earlier book, this is a technique used by many artists of many musical styles and genres, from country to folk and ethnic genres (such as Celtic and African music) as well as blues and jazz.
This book starts out with an introduction to the basic essentials of hybrid picking and then goes through a few pages of basic exercises to get you into the hybrid picking mindset. The early exercises are meant to ease you in – they are simple and methodically work you through various string combinations in order to warm up your hybrid picking skills. If you’ve not gone through the exercises of Hybrid Picking for Guitar you’ll still be able to handle these. But if you’re serious about learning hybrid picking, do yourself a favor and start with the earlier book!
This book is more about what you can do with hybrid picking than it is about the technique itself. Essentially it gives you close to a hundred pages of various styles of “lines and licks” that you might use for soloing and improvising. The lines are presented according to how they were created, through the use of triads or pentatonic scales or through the use of other modes or intervals. You’ll find melodic lines that emphasize jumping intervals more than an octave, lines that use intervallic sequences and motifs, and modern sounding atonal phrases. And each example is meticulously detailed as to how to play it with hybrid picking. Each pick stroke and each finger gets into the act to produce some beautiful and mesmerizing lead lines.
Even if you’re not into hybrid picking, this book has a lot of ideas for potential soloing material. Better still, Gustavo gives a little explanation with each example of where and how it might best be used. If you think your soloing skills could use a bit of a boost, you’ll find lots of potential help here.
The only drawback is that each example is done in eighth notes – there is no rhythmic variation to any of the lead lines. This is a minor quibble. Anyone who solos well has always got phrasing on his or her mind and the lack of phrasing in the examples allows you to come up with an almost infinite number of possible ways to play any single line.
As with Hybrid Picking for Guitar, Gustavo put a lot of thought into producing Hybrid Picking Lines & Licks for Guitar. For more details, including how to order your own copy, go to Gustavo’s website.