Fingerstyle Licks: #2 Cross-String Playing

This Fingerstyle Licks free weekly guitar lesson series is by Keith Murray, a classical & fingerstyle guitarist and instructor who is working on a new TrueFire online classroom. Stay tuned for more and be sure to subscribe!

Video Guitar Lesson:

Chart & Tab:

Welcome to the next instalment of my fingerstyle licks series. Today our lick
focuses on cross-string playing techniques (also known as harp-style and
campanella). This involves arranging the notes of a melodic line so that they
ring over each other, creating a rich “harp-like” sound. This works best when the
melody uses many adjacent notes of a scale, if it skips about too much the effect
will be difficult to achieve. The idea is simply to arrange the notes so that
there are never two consecutive notes played on the same string. The use of open
strings in combination with fretted strings also helps to create the effect.
Because of this, some keys work better for this style than others. Keys that have
many open strings available work best.

Have a listen to Pierre Bensusan for some great examples of cross-string playing.
He almost always uses the alternate tuning known as DADGAD. This tuning helps
facilitate cross-string playing because the 3rd and 2nd string have an interval
of a major 2nd between them. Although, it does work well in standard tuning too.

This Fingerstyle Licks free weekly guitar lesson series is by Keith Murray, a classical & fingerstyle guitarist and instructor who is working on a new TrueFire online classroom. Stay tuned for more and be sure to subscribe!