Skipping strings can add some pizazz to ordinary licks and patterns. Scales and arpeggios are normally taught with forms that ascend and descend using notes on adjacent strings. I too started with this approach which was fine for learning forms. The string skipping light bulb went off in my head when I started to explore intervals. The wider the intervals got, the more it appeared I needed to skip some strings. It was the 6th interval that introduced me to the world of string skipping. From there, I made a concerted effort to add string skipping to my arsenal of licks.
The three-note-per-string pentatonic scales were very popular choices for string skipping. The first person I heard use string skipping with the three-note-per-string pentatonics was Paul Gilbert, but I learned later that Holdsworth was doing this much earlier. Here are several examples that illustrate string skipping:
About Stephen Ross:
Stephen Ross is a professional guitarist/author who released is debut CD, "Midnight Drive" on Shrapnel Records in the early nineties. He is also the other of the book "Arpeggios for the Modern Guitarist" published by Hal Leonard and leader and chief songwriter of the Rogosonic project. Stephen has finished writing and recording his second instrumental release. No release date available yet.
Stephen Ross Links: