Flatpicking on Electric Guitar: Beginner’s Guide

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As a budding electric guitar player, have you ever wondered about the intricacies of flatpicking? If you’re unfamiliar with the term, you may be wondering what flatpicking actually is, or how to get started with this technique.

But fear not! The world of flatpicking on electric guitar is vast and exciting, with a variety of techniques and tips to explore. With the right guidance, you can master the art of flatpicking and add a new dimension to your musical repertoire.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of flatpicking on electric guitar. From the basics of flatpicking technique to popular techniques used in country music, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started with this exciting technique. So grab your electric guitar and get ready to take your playing skills to the next level!

What is Flatpicking on Electric Guitar?

What Is Flatpicking On Electric Guitar?
Flatpicking on electric guitar might sound like an obscure term to some, but it’s a playing style that has been embraced by many guitar enthusiasts over the years. To put it simply, flatpicking is when you use a flat pick to strike the guitar strings, as opposed to fingerpicking, where you use your fingers. While commonly associated with country music, flatpicking can be found in many different styles of music, from folk to rock to bluegrass. In this section, we’ll explore the basics of flatpicking on electric guitar and the techniques you need to know. Stick around to learn more about the benefits of flatpicking in country music, some famous flatpicking songs, and top flatpicking techniques for electric guitar.

Definition of Flatpicking

Flatpicking is a technique used in playing guitar, where a flatpick, usually made of plastic or metal, is used to strike the strings. It’s a popular technique in various genres of music including bluegrass, country, and folk. Flatpicking on electric guitar may not be as common as on acoustic guitar, but it does have its place in certain styles of music.

Benefits of Flatpicking on Electric Guitar

Flatpicking on electric guitar offers several benefits compared to other guitar techniques. For instance, it allows for a faster picking speed than fingerstyle playing, which is popular in jazz and classical music. Flatpicking can also be used to create a brighter and more percussive sound, which is desirable in many styles of music, such as bluegrass and country. Additionally, flatpicking on electric guitar can help you develop right-hand techniques that can be applied to other playing styles, such as alternate and hybrid picking.

Flatpicking Techniques and Variations

Flatpicking on electric guitar involves using a flatpick to strike the strings, with the hand technique varying depending on the desired sound. Some common techniques include:

Technique Description
Crosspicking A technique where the pick is used to play notes in a pattern that involves crossing over and under the strings
Hybrid Picking A technique where the pick is used in combination with the fingers to play more complex patterns, often used in country music
Alternate Picking A technique where the pick is used to strike the strings in alternating up and down strokes, creating a faster picking speed
Rolls A technique where the pick is used to play a pattern of notes, often used in bluegrass music
Double Stops A technique where two notes are played simultaneously, often used in blues and country music
Arpeggios A technique where the notes of a chord are played individually in a specific pattern, often used in classical and fingerstyle playing

By incorporating these techniques and variations, you can create a unique sound and style when flatpicking on electric guitar.

If you want to learn more about flatpicking in country music, check out our article on the benefits of flatpicking in country music. Or, if you’re interested in improving your flatpicking speed and accuracy, read our article on top flatpicking techniques on electric guitar.

Electric Guitars Suitable for Flatpicking

When it comes to electric guitars suitable for flatpicking, there are a few things to keep in mind. The type of electric guitar you choose can greatly impact your flatpicking experience, so it’s important to choose one that fits your needs.

Here are a few electric guitar options to consider:

  • Stratocaster: This classic electric guitar is known for its bright, twangy tone, which makes it a great choice for flatpicking. Stratocasters have a thin neck and a contoured body, making them comfortable to play even for extended periods.
  • Telecaster: Another classic option, the Telecaster has a slightly different tone than the Stratocaster, with a more focused midrange. This makes it an excellent choice for country and bluegrass flatpicking. Many famous flatpickers have used the Telecaster over the years.
  • Les Paul: If you prefer a warmer, more sustain-heavy tone, the Les Paul might be the guitar for you. This guitar has a chunkier neck than the Stratocaster or Telecaster, which can take some getting used to, but it’s a highly versatile instrument that’s suitable for many genres.
  • SG: The SG is a lighter-weight guitar than the Les Paul, with a thinner body and a faster neck. It’s a good choice for players who prefer a more streamlined look and feel. SGs are often used for rock and blues, but they can also handle flatpicking duties with ease.

Keep in mind that the type of pickups your electric guitar has can also impact your flatpicking sound. Single-coil pickups (found on Stratocasters and Telecasters) tend to have a brighter, more detailed sound, while humbuckers (found on Les Pauls and SGs) have a thicker, more midrange-heavy sound. Try experimenting with different guitars and pickup types to find the one that works best for your playing style.

If you’re interested in learning more about flatpicking on electric guitar, be sure to check out our top flatpicking techniques for electric guitar and our recommended flatpicking exercises to help you improve your skills. You can also explore some famous flatpicking songs in country music and try your hand at playing some iconic flatpicking solos and licks.

How to Begin Flatpicking on Electric Guitar

How To Begin Flatpicking On Electric Guitar
When it comes to flatpicking on electric guitar, getting started can feel intimidating. With so many techniques and styles, it’s hard to know where to begin. However, with the right guidance and practice, anyone can begin to master this popular guitar style. In this section, we’ll explore some basic techniques that you can start practicing right away. By the end of this section, you’ll have a solid foundation for your journey into the world of flatpicking on electric guitar. And if you’re looking for more tips and tricks, check out our page on Flatpicking Tips, where you can find additional resources and advice on flatpicking in bluegrass and country music, as well as comparisons between flatpicking and other styles like fingerpicking.

Basic Techniques to Master

To become proficient in flatpicking on electric guitar, there are several fundamental techniques that you need to master. Here are some of the basic techniques that you should focus on during your practice sessions:

  • Alternate Picking: This technique involves using a combination of downstrokes and upstrokes to play notes. Alternate picking is a crucial skill that will help you play faster and with greater accuracy.
  • String Skipping: This technique involves skipping over strings to produce a more melodic and fluid sound. String skipping is an excellent way to add complexity and variety to your playing.
  • Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs: These techniques involve playing notes without picking each string. A hammer-on involves using a finger to press down on a fret to produce a sound, while a pull-off involves releasing a finger from a fret to produce a sound. These techniques help to create smoother, more legato lines.
  • Bends: A bend involves pushing a string up or down to create a pitch variation. Mastering this technique will add depth and emotion to your playing.
  • Vibrato: Vibrato is a technique used to add richness and color to notes by vibrating the string. Developing vibrato takes time, but it’s a valuable skill to learn.

By practicing these five techniques, you’ll develop the basic skills that you need to start playing flatpicking on electric guitar. Remember to start slowly and gradually build up speed as you feel more comfortable with each technique. With time and effort, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time!

How to Practice Flatpicking on Electric Guitar

Flatpicking on electric guitar can be challenging, but with regular practice and dedication, you can master the art. Here are some tips for practicing flatpicking on electric guitar:

Tip Description
Vary Your Tempo Practice playing at different tempos, starting slow and gradually increasing the speed. This will improve your timing, as well as your overall technique.
Use a Metronome A metronome is a great tool for practicing flatpicking, as it helps you stay in time and develop a consistent rhythm. Start at a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed over time.
Finger Exercises Incorporate finger exercises into your practice routine to improve dexterity and hand strength. Finger exercises such as chromatic scales and fingerpicking patterns can help you develop speed and accuracy.
Learn New Songs Learning new songs can help you improve your flatpicking skills, as it exposes you to different techniques and styles. Start with simple songs and gradually work your way up to more challenging pieces.
Record Yourself Recording yourself playing can be a great way to identify areas of improvement. Listen back to your recordings and make note of any mistakes or areas that need work, then focus on improving those areas in your practice sessions.
Practice Consistently Make a practice schedule and stick to it. Consistent practice is key to improving your flatpicking skills. Even if you only have a few minutes each day to practice, make the most of that time.

Incorporating these tips into your practice routine can help you become a better flatpicker on electric guitar. Remember, it takes time and dedication to master any skill, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep practicing, and you’ll be playing like a pro in no time!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes are a natural part of learning any new skill, but identifying and avoiding them can save you a lot of time and frustration. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for when flatpicking on electric guitar:

Mistake Why it’s a Problem How to Fix it
Not anchoring your picking hand Without a solid anchor point, your picking hand can easily become uncoordinated and imprecise. Experiment with different anchor points, such as resting your hand on the bridge or using your pinky as a pivot. Once you find a position that feels comfortable, practice picking with consistent hand placement.
Picking too hard or too softly Overly aggressive or timid picking can lead to inconsistent volume and tone. Practice picking with a relaxed hand and experiment with different levels of force until you find the sweet spot where notes ring out clearly without excess strain.
Focusing too much on speed Speed is impressive, but not at the expense of precision and musicality. Slow down and concentrate on clean, steady picking. Gradually increase your speed as your accuracy improves.
Ignoring your fretting hand Flatpicking requires coordination between both hands. Neglecting your fretting technique can result in poorly sounding notes. Practice fretting notes with good hand position and finger placement. Use scales and chords to improve finger strength and dexterity.
Not using a metronome Rhythm is essential in all music, and flatpicking is no exception. Use a metronome to develop your sense of timing and gradually increase the tempo. This will also help you build muscle memory for tricky passages.

By being aware of and correcting these mistakes, you can improve your flatpicking technique and become a more confident and expressive electric guitar player.

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Tips for Improving Your Flatpicking

Tips For Improving Your Flatpicking
If you want to take your flatpicking on electric guitar to the next level, you’ve come to the right place. It’s not just about hitting the right notes, but also about the tone, timing, speed, accuracy, and expression in your playing. That’s where these essential tips come in. Follow them consistently, and you’ll soon notice a significant improvement in your flatpicking skills. So, let’s dive in and explore how you can up your game!

Tone and Timing

Achieving a good tone and timing is crucial for effective flatpicking on the electric guitar. Here are some tips to help you improve in these areas:

Tone Timing
Use a clean tone with a touch of reverb to accentuate the notes. Practice with a metronome or drum machine to develop a sense of timing.
Experiment with different pick gauges and materials to find your preferred tone. Start slow and gradually increase your speed while maintaining a steady rhythm.
Avoid excessive distortion, as it can muddy the notes and detract from the clarity of your playing. Practice playing along with recordings of songs to get used to playing in time with other musicians.
Focus on consistent string attack and note articulation. Break down difficult passages into smaller sections and practice them slowly before gradually speeding up.
Consider using a compressor pedal to even out the dynamics and sustain of your playing. Practice with different subdivisions of the beat (such as triplets or sixteenth notes) to expand your rhythmic vocabulary.

By focusing on your tone and timing, you can take your flatpicking on electric guitar to the next level. Remember to listen closely to yourself and others as you play, and always be open to feedback and constructive criticism. With time and practice, you’re sure to develop a sound that’s uniquely yours, and a rhythmic sense that’s rock-solid.

Speed and Accuracy

When it comes to flatpicking on electric guitar, speed and accuracy of your playing are crucial aspects that can make or break your performance. Whether you’re playing a fast-paced bluegrass tune or a slower ballad, having both speed and accuracy in your playing can greatly enhance the overall sound and feel of your music. Here are some tips to help you improve your speed and accuracy:

  • Finger Placement: One of the most important things to consider when striving for speed and accuracy is proper finger placement on the fretboard. Make sure you are placing your fingers in the correct position and applying enough pressure to produce a clean sound.
  • Metronome Practice: Practicing with a metronome is a great way to improve both speed and accuracy. Begin by playing at a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable. Focus on playing each note with precision and in perfect time with the metronome.
  • Muscle Memory: One of the most effective ways to improve both speed and accuracy in your flatpicking technique is through muscle memory. By practicing regularly and consistently, your muscles will begin to remember the specific movements required to play certain parts of a song, allowing you to play them with greater speed and precision.
  • Alternate Picking: Alternate picking is a technique that can greatly enhance your speed and accuracy. It involves picking each note in an up-down motion, allowing you to play faster and more efficiently.
  • Hand Positioning: Make sure that your hand is in the correct position when flatpicking. Keep your wrist straight and use a combination of wrist and arm movement to achieve faster speeds.
  • Slow Down: Although it may seem counterintuitive, slowing down your playing to focus on accuracy can actually help you improve your speed in the long run. By playing slowly and deliberately, you can identify any weaknesses in your technique and work to correct them.

By incorporating these tips into your flatpicking practice routine, you can greatly improve your speed and accuracy on the electric guitar. Remember that practice makes perfect, so be patient and persistent in your efforts to become a better flatpicker.

Expression and Dynamics

When it comes to flatpicking on electric guitar, expression and dynamics are crucial to creating a memorable performance. These techniques allow the guitarist to convey emotion and feeling through their playing, bringing the music to life. Here are some tips for improving your expression and dynamics:

Technique Description
Bending Bending strings can add a lot of expression to your playing. Experiment with bending the note up or down, depending on the tone you want to achieve. Start with small bends and work your way up to larger ones.
Vibrato Vibrato is a subtle way to add expression to your playing. It involves quickly and repeatedly bending the string slightly up and down. Practice different types of vibrato to find the one that works for you.
Volume Control Controlling the volume of your playing can add dynamics to your performance. Experiment with playing softer or louder depending on the mood of the song. Use your guitar’s volume knob and/or a volume pedal to help achieve this effect.
Slides Slides can add a lot of expression to your playing. Experiment with sliding up and down the neck in different positions. Try playing a fast slide followed by a slow one to create tension and release.
Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs Hammer-ons and pull-offs can add a lot of expression to your playing. They involve playing a note without picking it (hammer-on) or playing a note and then pulling off to a lower note (pull-off). Practice these techniques to add fluidity and expression to your playing.

Remember that expression and dynamics are about conveying emotion and feeling through your playing. Experiment with these techniques and find the ones that work best for you and the style of music you’re playing. With practice and perseverance, you’ll be able to create a memorable and expressive performance.

Popular Flatpicking Techniques in Country Music

Popular Flatpicking Techniques In Country Music
As a flatpicker on electric guitar, you may find yourself drawn to the twangy sounds of country music. But how exactly can you incorporate country flatpicking techniques into your playing? Fear not, for we’re about to explore some popular flatpicking techniques in country music that will expand your skillset and elevate your playing to new heights. From crosspicking to arpeggios, let’s delve into the world of country fingerstyle guitar with eager curiosity and an open mind.


Crosspicking is a complex flatpicking technique that involves playing multiple strings simultaneously with a series of quick upstrokes and downstrokes. This technique is heavily used in bluegrass and country music to produce a fast and intricate sound that is characteristic of the genres.

To crosspick, start with a downward pick stroke on the lowest note of the desired chord. For example, if you are playing a G chord, start with a downstroke on the low G note. Then, using an alternating upstroke and downstroke, play the notes of the chord in a specific pattern.

One common pattern is the “forward roll” which involves playing the lowest note of the chord, followed by the highest note, followed by the middle note, and then another high note. This pattern creates a rolling effect that can be used in a variety of ways to add dynamics and interest to a song.

Another common pattern used in crosspicking is the “backward roll” which involves starting with the highest note, followed by the middle note, followed by the lowest note, and then another middle note. This pattern has a slightly different feel but can be just as effective in adding interest to a song.

Crosspicking takes a lot of practice and patience to master. Start by practicing the rolls slowly and accurately before gradually increasing speed. Focus on using a light touch and keeping your picking hand relaxed to avoid tension and fatigue.

Some recommended exercises for improving your crosspicking skills include playing through scales using the forward and backward roll patterns, practicing crosspicking on chord progressions, and incorporating crosspicking into your favorite songs.

Crosspicking is a highly versatile and impressive technique that can take your flatpicking skills to the next level. With dedicated practice and patience, you can master this technique and add it to your arsenal of flatpicking techniques.

Hybrid Picking

One popular technique in flatpicking on electric guitar is hybrid picking. Hybrid picking involves using both the pick and fingers of the right hand to pluck the strings. This adds a new level of versatility to your playing, allowing for faster and more complex patterns.

To perform hybrid picking, hold the pick as you normally would and use the middle and/or ring fingers to pluck strings as needed. This technique is particularly useful for playing arpeggios and adding embellishments to your chord progressions.

Hybrid Picking Exercise Description
Arpeggio Exercise Start by playing an open E chord and use your middle finger to pluck the G string, then your ring finger to pluck the B string, then the pick to play the high E string. Repeat this pattern for the A and D chords, adjusting the fingering as needed.
Rolling Chords Hybrid picking can also be used to create a “rolling” effect on chords. Start by holding an E chord and plucking the low E string with the pick, then using your middle finger to pluck the G string, and your ring finger to pluck the B string. Then repeat the pattern, starting with the A string and so on until you reach the high E string. This creates a smooth, flowing sound that is frequently used in country music.
Combining Hybrid Picking and Crosspicking Once you’ve become comfortable with hybrid picking, try incorporating it into your crosspicking patterns. Use the pick to play a pattern, then switch to hybrid picking for the next pattern. This provides a dynamic contrast in your playing, allowing you to switch between a cleaner, more defined sound and a more textured, percussive sound.

Hybrid picking is a valuable technique to add to your flatpicking arsenal. It takes practice to master, but once you’ve become comfortable with it, it can help take your playing to the next level.

Alternate Picking

One of the most essential techniques for any flatpicker to master is alternate picking. This technique involves picking each note with alternating up and down strokes of the pick, ensuring that the picking hand stays in constant motion. This technique allows for smooth and even playing, and is used for fast runs and licks.

To practice alternate picking, start with a simple chromatic scale exercise like the one below:

Note Picking Direction
E Down
F Up
F# Down
G Up
G# Down
A Up
A# Down
B Up
C Down
C# Up
D Down
D# Up

As you play each note, focus on keeping your picking hand moving in a constant up-down motion. Start slowly and gradually increase the tempo as you become more comfortable.

Once you have the basic mechanics of alternate picking down, you can begin to incorporate it into more complex flatpicking solos and licks. Remember to keep your hand relaxed, and to practice at a tempo that allows you to play cleanly and accurately. With enough practice, alternate picking will become second nature, and you’ll be able to play blazing fast runs with ease.


Rolls are a common flatpicking technique used in many genres, including country, bluegrass, and folk music. They create a fluid and flowing sound that can add depth and complexity to your playing. There are several different types of rolls, each with their own unique sound and feel.

One of the most basic rolls is the forward roll. This roll involves playing a pattern of notes in a forward motion, usually starting on a lower string and moving up to a higher string. The pattern usually consists of three or four notes played in succession, with the thumb playing the lower notes and the fingers playing the higher notes.

Another common roll is the backward roll, which is the inverse of the forward roll. This roll starts on a higher string and moves down to a lower string, with the thumb playing the higher notes and the fingers playing the lower notes. This creates a slightly different sound and feel than the forward roll.

The alternating roll is another frequently used pattern. This roll involves alternating between the thumb and fingers in a pattern, usually playing two or three notes per string before moving to the next string. This creates a rolling and flowing sound that can add texture and dynamics to your playing.

The cross-picking roll is a more advanced technique that involves playing multiple notes simultaneously. This creates a more complex sound that can add depth and richness to your playing. To perform this technique, you will need to use a combination of fingerpicking and flatpicking, playing multiple strings at once with your fingers while also using your pick for individual notes.

Table of Rolls:

Roll Type Description
Forward Roll A pattern of notes played in a forward motion, usually starting on a lower string and moving up to a higher string.
Backward Roll A pattern of notes played in a backward motion, starting on a higher string and moving down to a lower string.
Alternating Roll Alternating between the thumb and fingers to create a rolling and flowing sound.
Cross-picking Roll Playing multiple strings simultaneously with a combination of fingerpicking and flatpicking.

Practice each roll individually until you feel comfortable with it, and then try incorporating them into your playing. Remember that rolls are just one tool in your flatpicking arsenal, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and styles to find your own unique voice on the electric guitar.

Double Stops

Double stops are a favorite technique among flatpickers in country and bluegrass music. Double stops involve playing two notes at once, typically on adjacent strings. They create a rich, full sound that is perfect for filling out melodic lines or playing harmonized solos.

To play double stops, you will need to use a precise amount of pressure and finger placement. Most flatpickers use their index and middle fingers to hold both strings down at the same time. The trick is to apply enough pressure to both strings to create a clean, clear tone without any buzzing or dead notes. One way to practice this technique is to start with open strings and gradually work your way up the neck, experimenting with different fingerings and hand positions.

Here is a table of some common double stop shapes that you can try:

Shape Notes
First Position C and E strings
Second Position D and G strings
Third Position G and B strings
Fourth Position B and high E strings

Once you have mastered the basic shapes, you can start incorporating double stops into your solos. One effective way to use them is to play a line of single notes, then throw in a quick double stop to add some interest and variation. You can also experiment with different rhythms and tempos to create a more complex and dynamic sound.

Some classic country and bluegrass songs that use double stops include “Angeline the Baker,” “Soldier’s Joy,” and “Bill Cheatham.” By practicing this technique and incorporating it into your playing, you can add a new dimension of depth and complexity to your flatpicking.


Arpeggios are a common and important technique in flatpicking on electric guitar. An arpeggio is the playing of the individual notes in a chord separately, rather than strumming them all at once. This technique can add a lot of depth and complexity to your playing, as well as create a more melodic sound.

To play an arpeggio, start by picking the lowest note of the chord with your plectrum, then pick each subsequent note in the chord in order from lowest to highest. For example, if you were playing a C major chord, you would play the notes C, E, and G one at a time in succession.

Practicing arpeggios is a great way to improve your finger and hand dexterity, particularly in your picking hand. Start slowly and focus on accuracy and timing, gradually increasing your speed as you become more comfortable.

Here are some recommended arpeggio exercises to incorporate into your practice routine:

1. Major and Minor Arpeggio Progressions
Begin with the basic chords, such as C major and A minor, and play them as arpeggios in succession up and down the fretboard. This will help you become more comfortable transitioning between chords and improve your overall finger dexterity.

2. Arpeggio Sweep Picking
Sweep picking involves playing multiple strings with one continuous motion of the pick. You can incorporate sweep picking into your arpeggios by playing the notes of the chord in a sweeping motion up or down the strings. This will help you to play arpeggios smoothly and quickly.

3. Embellishing Arpeggios with Hammer-ons and Pull-offs
Once you have gained some proficiency in playing basic arpeggios, you can start adding some embellishments to your playing. This can include hammer-ons and pull-offs, which involve “hammering” or “pulling” onto a note with a finger instead of picking it. Practice embellishing your arpeggios in various ways to create new and interesting sounds.

By practicing arpeggios regularly, you can improve your overall technique and add new dimensions to your playing. Arpeggios are a fundamental building block for more advanced techniques such as finger-picking and classical guitar playing. So, make sure to incorporate arpeggios into your flatpicking practice routine and you will see the improvement in your playing in no time!

Recommended Flatpicking Exercises and Songs

If you’re looking to improve your flatpicking skills on electric guitar, incorporating a variety of exercises and songs into your practice routine is essential. The following recommended flatpicking exercises and songs are designed to help you develop right-hand dexterity, master popular techniques, and build a repertoire of iconic solos. From focused drills to beloved tunes, there’s something here for every level of player. So grab your guitar and get ready to take your flatpicking to the next level!

Exercises for Right Hand Dexterity

One of the most important aspects of flatpicking on electric guitar is developing right hand dexterity. This involves building strength and control in your picking hand so that you can execute clean and precise flatpicking patterns at various tempos. Here are some exercises that can help you improve your right hand dexterity:

Exercise Description
Single String Picking Play each note on a single string using alternate picking (down-up). Start slow and strive for consistency in tone and timing.
String Skipping Choose two non-adjacent strings and practice picking each note in succession using alternate picking. Gradually increase the tempo.
Chromatic Exercises Play through a chromatic scale using alternate picking. Focus on keeping your hand relaxed and your picking motion consistent.
Arpeggios Play through various arpeggios using alternate picking. Practice ascending and descending patterns with a metronome to improve timing and control.
String Bending Exercises Choose a string and bend each note up a half step while alternate picking with the other hand. This will help develop strength and control in the picking hand as well as the bending hand.
String Rolls Play an ascending pattern of notes using alternate picking (down-up-down) on one string, then roll over to the next adjacent string and continue the pattern. This will help you become more comfortable with string changes and develop fluidity in your picking.

By incorporating these exercises into your practice routine, you can start to build the foundation for improved right hand dexterity. Just remember to start slow and focus on consistency and control before increasing the tempo.

Songs for Flatpicking Practice

Flatpicking is not only a technique, but also a style of playing guitar. And the best way to improve any style is to practice, practice, practice. To help you get started with your flatpicking practice, here are some song recommendations that are great for flatpicking practice:

  • “Wildwood Flower” by The Carter Family: This classic country tune is often one of the first songs that flatpickers learn. It features a simple melody that is easy to follow, making it a great starting point for beginners.
  • “Blackberry Blossom” by David Schnaufer: This instrumental tune is a popular choice for flatpickers looking to improve their dexterity and speed. It features a fast-paced melody that will challenge your picking hand.
  • “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” by Earl Scruggs: This classic bluegrass tune is known for its iconic banjo riff, but it’s also a great song for flatpickers. The melody is fast and complex, making it an excellent challenge for intermediate players.
  • “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band: This rockin’ country tune is known for its fast-paced fiddle riffs, but it also has a great guitar solo that is perfect for flatpickers. The solo is fast and complex, making it a great challenge for more advanced players.
  • “Tumbleweed Waltz” by Molly Tuttle: This original tune by the acclaimed flatpicker Molly Tuttle features a beautiful melody that is perfect for practicing your phrasing and expression. It’s a great tune for intermediate players looking to improve their overall musicianship.

Remember, when practicing these songs, don’t be afraid to slow them down to a manageable speed. It’s better to play a song slowly and accurately than to play it fast and sloppy. Start by focusing on getting the notes right, and then gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable with the song. By incorporating these songs into your flatpicking practice, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled and versatile flatpicker.

Songs with Iconic Flatpicking Solos

If you want to learn flatpicking on electric guitar, it’s important to study and practice songs with iconic flatpicking solos. These solos showcase the techniques and skills you’ll need to master in order to become a proficient flatpicker. Here are a few examples:

  • “Orange Blossom Special” by Johnny Cash – This classic bluegrass tune features a fast and furious flatpicking solo that will test your speed and accuracy.
  • “Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson – This instrumental rock song is well-known for its intricate and melodic flatpicking solos.
  • “Country Boy” by Albert Lee – This upbeat country tune features lightning-fast hybrid picking and crosspicking solos that will challenge even the most experienced players.
  • “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Charlie Ryan – This rockabilly classic features a catchy melody and a twangy flatpicking solo that will get your fingers moving.
  • “Beaumont Rag” by Doc Watson – This old-time tune is a favorite among many flatpickers, thanks to its tricky crosspicking and speedy runs.

As you practice these songs, pay attention to the techniques used in the solos. Try to isolate each lick and practice it slowly at first, gradually increasing your speed as you become more comfortable. It’s also important to work on your timing and phrasing, as these elements are crucial to making a flatpicking solo sound musical and expressive.

Remember, the key to becoming a skilled flatpicker is practice, patience, and persistence. By studying and mastering iconic flatpicking solos, you’ll develop the skills and techniques needed to create your own unique sound and style on the electric guitar.


As we conclude this guide on Introduction to Flatpicking on Electric Guitar, it’s important to remember that mastering flatpicking requires dedication and practice. With the right tools and techniques, however, anyone can learn to play with speed and accuracy.

Through this guide, we’ve covered the basic definition of flatpicking, suitable electric guitars for flatpicking, as well as essential techniques to master and common mistakes to avoid. Furthermore, we’ve also discussed tips for improving your flatpicking, including tone and timing, speed and accuracy, and expression and dynamics.

Additionally, we delved into the popular flatpicking techniques used in country music, such as crosspicking, hybrid picking, alternate picking, rolls, double stops, and arpeggios. We also provided recommended exercises and songs for flatpicking practice to help hone your skills further.

It’s important to remember that practice makes perfect, and that includes regular practice of specific techniques and songs. By incorporating these tips and techniques provided in this guide into your daily practice sessions, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled flatpicker.

In conclusion, we hope this guide has been helpful in introducing you to the world of flatpicking on electric guitar. And remember, throughout your flatpicking journey, the key to success is to stay motivated, stay focused, and above all, enjoy the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between flatpicking and fingerpicking on guitar?

Flatpicking involves using a pick to pluck the strings of the guitar, while fingerpicking utilizes the fingers to pluck the strings.

Can an electric guitar be used for flatpicking?

Absolutely! In fact, electric guitars can produce a wide range of tones that can enhance the sound of flatpicking.

What type of pick is best for flatpicking on electric guitar?

The best pick for flatpicking on electric guitar is a medium to heavy gauge pick, such as a Dunlop Tortex or Fender 346.

How do I improve my tone while flatpicking on electric guitar?

Experiment with different pickups on your electric guitar, adjust your amp settings, and try using a compressor to even out your tone.

Can I learn flatpicking without any prior guitar experience?

While it is possible, having some basic guitar knowledge will make the learning process easier.

What are some common mistakes to avoid while flatpicking on electric guitar?

Avoid excessive tension in your hands, playing too fast too soon, neglecting to warm up, and neglecting to practice timing and rhythm.

Should I use a metronome while practicing flatpicking on electric guitar?

Using a metronome is highly recommended, as it will help you develop and maintain good timing and rhythm.

What is hybrid picking and is it useful for flatpicking on electric guitar?

Hybrid picking is a technique that combines both pick and fingerpicking. It can be useful in creating a unique sound while flatpicking on electric guitar.

What is crosspicking and how do I incorporate it in my flatpicking?

Crosspicking involves utilizing a pattern of up and down strokes while playing through a series of notes. It can be incorporated in your flatpicking by practicing patterns and gradually increasing speed.

What are some recommended songs to practice for flatpicking on electric guitar?

“Wildwood Flower” by The Carter Family, “Orange Blossom Special” by Ervin T. Rouse, and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” by Earl Scruggs are all excellent songs to practice flatpicking on electric guitar.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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