Believe it or not, there isn’t just one clear cut way to play scales. In fact, playing scales in certain ways can help to improve your picking and coordination between hands. Double picking is one of those ways.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to double pick scales, and how doing so can help your playing.
So what is a double pick? Despite the name, it doesn’t refer to using two picks at once. Sorry. It refers to picking a note twice but counting it as one beat.
For instance, a double picked eighth note is still an eighth note, despite the fact that it is built up of two sixteenth notes. A double picked quarter note is still a quarter note despite the fact that it is actually two eighth notes.
So how is this different from picking a note twice? It isn’t. Double picking is just like using two notes of the same value. The only difference is that they are counted as a single note of the conjoint value. In the case of our quarter note, our two eighth notes equal a single double picked quarter note. This may seem a bit confusing at first, so you may want to start off in the easiest place of all; with scales.
Double picking scales will help you to develop both your double picking skills and your tempo keeping skills. In fact, it will help you to greatly improve your tempo keeping skills as it will teach you to keep a steady beat in relation to a higher note value.
Start off with the scales that you know best. For most players, these will be the basic major and minor scales, such as A minor, E minor, C Major, and G Major. First, play each scale using quarter note values for each note of the scale.
Play along to a metronome to be sure that you are keeping proper time with your notes. When you are ready, play each note as two separate, simultaneous eighth notes. These two eighth notes will equal a double picked quarter note, the same value as the scale you just played.
You are playing the same scale with the same overall note values (quarter notes), but instead of playing them as single notes, you are dividing the overall note value into two halves. This can do two things; make the note more manageable, and give it a different feel.
You may notice that the scales take on a “walking bass line” feel. This is because many walking bass lines use double picking. It is also fairly similar to the shuffle blues style, in which double picking plays a large role.
The best way to improve your double picking skills is by practicing. You should set aside a block of time each day in which to work on techniques. When you work on your scales or other similar patterns with easy note values, try dividing the values into halves, double picking the notes within the pieces, licks, or scales.
Have fun when you learn to play guitar, and good luck!
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