This week we’re putting our technique under the musical microscope and breaking down a scale into fragments that we can work on in isolation. As we play through the scale we’re going to analyse our technique and pay very close attention to every movement of both hands.

This method is also great for ironing out technical problems in tough lines and for troubleshooting mistakes.

Picking Scales Apart


When people practice scales, they tend to just play them up and down without stopping to think of all the techniques they could be improving at the same time. There are loads of ways to practice scales and you shouldn’t settle with the first way you come across as there could be loads you are missing out on.

Today, we are going to work through the C major scale one note at a time and really pick our playing apart. Concentrate on one technique at a time – alternate picking for example, and take the scale as slow as you need to make that process flawless. Once it sounds good at a slow speed then take the tempo up slowly and try again. Keep doing this until you are confident that your technique is the same when playing fast as is it when playing slow.

Here are some other things to work on:

Technique Tips

1. Work through the scale one note at a time in fragments
2. Use alternating picking throughout
3. Curl the fingers
4. Pivot the hand round to line the pinky up to the index finger
5. Relax both hands
6. Move the picking hand thumb from string to string as you move across the neck
7. Start with the first finger of the picking hand
8. Once mastered, start with the second finger of the picking hand

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