Lead Guitar Lesson 5 - String Skipping and Song 5

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In this video

Welcome to day 5 of this free 10 day lead guitar challenge!

In this lesson, we'll learn look at the string skipping technique where we go between strings that are not right next to each other. We'll then learn the lead part from the song 'In My Place' by Coldplay!

This lead part is another perfect example of simplicity being very effective. It may not take long to get this part under the fingers after practicing and mastering the string skipping but the sound and feeling we get from playing it is what makes it great!

Lead part

There are only four notes included in this lead line, but we are all the way up at the 12th fret, so the space for our fingers is reduced and we need to incorporate the string skipping.

String skipping creates a wider spatial sound as a result of the larger jumps in intervals. As shown on the diagram, E to E is an octave jump. If we pick in a certain direction this helps make our picking much smoother:

  • Starting on the 12th fret of the 1st string, we start with an up-pick (moving towards the next note)

  • Then a down-pick on the 14th fret of the 4th string

  • And this repeats once more with the same picking pattern

  • We keep the fingers pressed down all the time to sustain the notes

The next notes are on the 2nd string and add more to the melodic quality of the lead part.

  • With the alternate picking motion (down, up, down, up...)

  • The next section begins on the 12th fret (down-pick)

  • 14th fret (up-pick)

  • This repeats one more time to complete the phrase

Combining all of the sections above counts as 1 full time round of this lead part. We do this 4 times round in total and end on the A note, 3rd string 14th fret.

Guitar tone - key points

  • Amp set to a clean mode with a boost to push the signal (adds more sustain whilst keeping it clean)

  • Alternatively, set your amp to clean and boost the gain but take the volume down to a suitable level

  • Single coil guitar, such as a Stratocaster, for a more song-style appropriate sound (optional as any guitar will work perfectly)

Building up the tempo

Starting to learn string skipping technique slower and increasing the tempo up to the desired speed is important in order to get the needed accuracy. The benefit of this approach is:

  • Picking technique

  • Synchronising the picking hand and note playing/fretting hand

  • Finger stretches and improved note knowledge across the fretboard

As with every example, we focus on the tempo at:

  • 50% tempo

  • Build it up to 75%

Make sure the string skipping is smooth when you pick the notes before trying faster tempos. It's really useful to help our muscle memory get it to speed so we can play faster but cleaner and more effectively.


  • We've looked at playing higher up the neck

  • We've used an octave technique (E note to E note)

  • Utilised the string skipping technique to play the octave notes (string 1 to string 4 in this case)

When you're ready, join in for Day 6 where we look at another unique guitar technique slides!

Next Up: Lead Guitar Lesson 6 - Slides and Song 6

Well done! Let's jump into the next lesson of the course.

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