The Leads Are Weak



The Leads Are Weak - Tony Sannicandro of Job For A Cowboy
This week I’d like to talk about one of my favorite techniques that’s often overlooked in metal guitar playing; hybrid/fingerstyle picking. As a former classical guitar student, I love to incorporate fingerstyle playing. I’ve since cut my fingernails and picked up a plectrum but I can’t escape the need to Adrian Vandenberg a few licks every once in a while.

Those country shredders obviously utilize this style often, as does Mark Knopfler of the Dire Straits, but some metal players such as Zakk Wylde and John5 will bust out some chicken pickin’ licks from time to time. I like to use my fingers and hybrid picking to add more of a dynamic feel and to make some string-skipping licks much easier and cleaner (I have shit for country licks). Your fingers can add a smoother dynamic to some licks and can make the line much more snappy or fluid depending on how you play it. This is really hard to do with a shit ton of distortion and cranked the fuck up, so when I’m playing metal stuff I tend to use the hybrid style to make the lines cleaner at higher speeds.

This first example is a good warm up to get your lazy right hand fingers used to hitting the strings. The key is trying to keep the dynamics of the notes the same; there shouldn’t be an audible distinction between when you’re picking or fingering the notes. Also, I try and hit the string right where the nail meets your finger fat. This is where the good tone is! The finger order is m = middle, and a = ring.


The second example here is a long, quirky lick that sounds best over an E chord and utilizes some hybrid picking techniques.

Bar one features pulloffs to open strings in a roll style and also some double stops on the major third for that “twangy” sound. Bar two is all diminished rolls, the pattern which emulates a banjo style… evil banjo of course. The final bar is a chromatic lick into more twangers. I use my fingers to pick the first note of the chromatic part and slur the rest of the fingers.

Try it. I love occasionally using my fingers to pick and sometimes I do it to add some twang chung. Roll out.

– Tony Sannicandro / Job For A Cowboy

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