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Flatpick Guitar Lesson: Modified Crosspicking Patterns


Crosspicking is one of the most critical techniques used in flatpick and bluegrass guitar playing. It is essential to the bluegrass aesthetic and is designed to make the acoustic guitar produce a sonic characteristic similar to that of a banjo roll.


Like banjo rolls, there are a near-infinite number of different crosspicking patterns that you can utilize in your guitar playing. Being able to migrate fluidly between different patterns depending on the intended feeling of the song you’re performing is critical. Therefore, it’s essential to take your time and focus on executing these techniques correctly and precisely as you begin to implement different crosspicking patterns into your playing.


What is crosspicking?

Crosspicking is a guitar technique in which a flatpick is used to play a rolling, syncopated pattern across three strings. This rolling pattern typically outlines chord tones; however, melodic lines can also be featured. The crosspicking technique was developed to imitate the sound and aesthetic of a banjo roll, with the primary difference being that banjo rolls are fingerpicked rather than flatpicked.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play bluegrass guitar from a master musician like Tyler Grant? Try some free online flatpick guitar lessons now!


In this online flatpick guitar lesson, National Flatpicking Champion and ArtistWorks guitar instructor, Tyler Grant, teaches the basics of crosspicking and outlines a handful of modified crosspicking patterns that you can integrate into your playing and will allow you to execute crosspicking lines that best fit each specific song you perform.


“I use modifications to a more straightforward crosspicking pattern to suit the style of the specific song I’m playing in the moment,” Tyler explains. “This is particularly important when I’m analyzing how I’d like to crosspick through specific melodies.”


The manner in which you approach your crosspicking technique with your picking hand is almost more important than the chord shapes or melodies you execute with your fretting hand. There are two different schools of thought with regard to picking hand technique when crosspicking. Some players alternate consistently and evenly between down and up-strokes when crosspicking, while others play two down strokes followed by an up-stroke. Both methods are correct; however, Tyler has some thoughts on which method works best for him and why.


“At slower tempos, either picking hand technique is manageable for me, and might be for you as well,” explains Tyler. “I will do both from time to time, however, once things get up to performance tempo, I almost always alternate my picking.”


To learn more about crosspicking and how to integrate a variety of different crosspicking patterns into your playing, dive into this online flatpick guitar lesson from Tyler Grant:


Modified Crosspicking Patterns with Tyler Grant:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play bluegrass guitar? Through our comprehensive flatpick guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Tyler Grant, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Tyler’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner guitar to advanced performance techniques, improvisation, classic bluegrass tunes, music theory, and more. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as guitarists and musicians!


Sample some free music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



“Flatpicking Academy with Tyler Grant” is Now Open!

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