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Lesson II - Exercises

Mickey Cochran is a talented mandolinist, guitarist and author of the Crosspicking Technique book from Mel Bay Publications.

I invited Mickey to introduce Mandolin Cafe readers to his crosspicking technique. Out of our correspondence we agreed to develop a series of lessons packed with his crosspicking techniques and tips. The following information is based on excerpts from his Mel Bay book. I think you'll find his ideas, writing and teaching method an inspiration.

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The following "Alternating Bass" crosspicking patterns can be applied to just about any chord progressions.

They are especially effective when backing up vocals or for a back-up variation behind instrumentals.

All numbers represent down strokes and all "&" symbols represent up strokes.

This alternating down/up stroke is very critical in establishing good timing and an even rhythm.

The following bars require no fretting and only establish the pattern to be followed by the picking hand.

Alternating Bass Pattern #1
 ================================== =================================
E|------------0---------------0----|-------------0-------------0-----]
A|-----0--------------0------------|------0-------------0------------]
D|---------0--------------0--------|----------0-------------0--------]
G|--0-------------0----------------|---0-------------0---------------]
    1  &   2  &   3   &   4   &        1  &   2  &   3  &   4  &

The following pattern is similar to Pattern #1--by omitting one note on beat 3, you'll find the pattern takes on a totally different syncopated feel. Be sure to adhere to all numbers as down strokes and all "&" symbols as up strokes. Note: the missing "3" note making the following note an up stroke.

Alternating Bass Pattern #2
 ================================== =================================
E|------------0---------------0----|-------------0-------------0-----]
A|-----0--------------0------------|------0-------------0------------]
D|---------0--------------0--------|----------0-------------0--------]
G|--0------------------------------|---0-----------------------------]
    1  &   2  &   3   &   4   &        1  &   2  &   3  &   4  &

Now try applying this pattern to a chord progression. Try to keep the timing even to ensure there are no pauses between chord changes.

Alternating Bass Pattern over a C Chord Progression

    C                                  C7
 ================================== =================================
E|------------0---------------0----|-------------0-------------0-----]
A|-----3--------------3------------|------3-------------3------------]
D|---------2--------------2--------|----------2-------------2--------]
G|--5-------------5----------------|---3-------------3---------------]
    1  &   2  &   3   &   4   &        1  &   2  &   3  &   4  &


    F                                  Fm
 ================================== =================================
E|------------1---------------1----|-------------1-------------1-----]
A|-----0--------------0------------|------3-------------3------------]
D|---------3--------------3--------|----------6-------------6--------]
G|--5-------------5----------------|---5-------------5---------------]
    1  &   2  &   3   &   4   &        1  &   2  &   3  &   4  &


    C                                  D
 ================================== =================================
E|------------0---------------0----|-------------2-------------2-----]
A|-----3--------------3------------|------0-------------0------------]
D|---------2--------------2--------|----------0-------------0--------]
G|--5-------------5----------------|---2-------------2---------------]
    1  &   2  &   3   &   4   &        1  &   2  &   3  &   4  &


    G                                  G7
 ================================== =================================
E|------------3---------------3----|-------------1-------------1-----]]
A|-----2--------------2------------|------2-------------2------------]]
D|---------0--------------0--------|----------0-------------0--------]]
G|--0-------------0----------------|---0-------------0---------------]]
    1  &   2  &   3   &   4   &        1  &   2  &   3  &   4  &

Now try the preceding chord progression with the Alternating Bass Pattern #2.

The Forward Roll

The same applies for the alternating pick strokes: All numbers represent down strokes and all "&" symbols represent up strokes. This alternating down/up stroke is very critical in establishing good timing and an even rhythm.

The following bars require no fretting and only establish the pattern to be followed by the picking hand.

Forward Roll Pattern #1
 ================================== =================================
E|----------------0-----------0----|-----------------0---------0-----]
A|-----0------0-----------0--------|------0------0----------0--------]
D|---------0----------0------------|----------0---------0------------]
G|--0------------------------------|---0-----------------------------]
    1  &   2  &   3   &   4   &        1  &   2  &   3  &   4  &


Forward Roll Pattern #2
 ================================== =================================
E|--------------------0------------|--------------------0------------]
A|---------0------0-----------0----|----------0------0----------0----]
D|-----0------0-----------0--------|------0------0----------0--------]
G|--0------------------------------|---0-----------------------------]
    1  &   2  &   3   &   4   &        1  &   2  &   3  &   4   &

Now try the preceding C chord progression with the Forward Roll Pattern #2.

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