Syncopated Speed Picking – ML014

Syncopated Speed Picking – Mini Lesson: 014

Helpful Tips

This single-note melody helps you develop picking speed while strengthening your ability to play syncopated rhythms. To explain syncopation, let’s take a look at two bars which are played with quarter and eighth note strums.

Click the image to enlarge it.

Listen to these 2 bars being played alongside a metronome in 4/4.

In bar 1, you strum a C chord on beats 1, 2, 3, 4. Pretty simple! This measure is not syncopated.

But in measure 2, you strum the C chord on the &’s of each beat. This measure is syncopated!

Syncopation means that we are accenting the weak beats (the &’s). This can be tricky because accenting weak beats doesn’t come as natural as accenting strong beats (1, 2, 3, 4). Therefore, I’d recommend tackling the syncopated bars ‘by ear’, but also ‘by counting’ the rhythms.

Playing by ear simply means to memorize the beats. In other words: if you can sing it, you can play it. Whereas counting rhythms requires an understanding of rhythmic notation.

If you really want to gain a thorough understanding of rhythmic notation, there is no better way than by learning to read standard notation.

Note: This melody can be played solo or alongside the backing track. The backing track features bass, drums, and guitar. Jamming with the band is a great way to practice timing and performing in an ensemble setting.

Part 1 – Performance & Free Lesson

Tab Play Along


Backing Track Play Along