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Welcome to part 4 of the Alternate Picking Guitar Lesson Series. In this lesson you will be learning how to play some scale fragments or portions of scales with the use of alternate picking. Learning these note groupings will develop your finger set strengths, improve alternate picking accuracy and make your arsenal of licks, runs and phrases is easier to pull out when you need them most.

Exercise 1

Alternate Picking Triplet Scale Fragments

Alternate Picking Triplet Scale Fragments


This little fragment shown above is a great way to isolate your ability with the 4- 2- 1 finger combination which you can then combine with other finger group patterns and other areas of scales to create speed runs, sequences and any type of line that relies of being able to move around a scale efficiently. In the second bar you change strings with the same finger pattern with strict alternate picking, it may be tempting to use legato but try and be disciplined and stick with the alternate picking approach. If you find it hard to play in triplets then count 1– trip- let  2– trip- let 3– trip- let 4– trip- let and play the number slightly harder to make it easier to hear if you are in time.

Exercise 2


Alternate Picking Triplet Scale Fragments Ex 2

Alternate Picking Triplet Scale Fragments Ex 2


The exercise above is great for building the strength and ability of the 4- 3- 1 finger grouping. If you learn this fragment and build your speed and accuracy with a metronome you will be ready to tackle larger runs in coming lessons. This fragment could be described as a portion of an A Dorian mode but those finger patterns could be played somewhere else and function differently, so it is a great pattern to get down. In bar 2 when you change strings you should aim for real clarity in the striking of the note and not opt for the approach so commonly found where players rush a string change and disguise it with distortion.

Exercise 3

Alternate Picking Triplet Scale Fragments Ex 3

Alternate Picking Triplet Scale Fragments Ex 3


This fragment ties the two above together nicely and is more realistic of a run that you would find players such as Paul Gilbert doing at break neck speed. An exercise such as this may sound just like an exercise at low speed, but you would be surprised how many bars of technical rock solos are filled with lines just like this. Perhaps it is the speed and tone that often disguises the melodic content, but it works and sounds exciting and if it is your kind of sound then why not add it to the trick bag.

If you have enjoyed this lesson and would be interested in learning much more about guitar then please read Be The Guitarist for a detailed, tried and tested method of learning guitar without the time wasting.

If you are learning quite a lot of different ideas, licks, chords etc and are feeling stuck on how to practise it all then you may be interested in The Ultimate Practise- Planner. This eBook will provide you with practise routines designed for varying lifestyles and dedication to the instrument. You wont have to worry about what to practise because it is all laid out for you in easy to read TAB exercises.

Have fun and keep practising!

Tom Clark

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