Mixed Scale Runs: Picking + Legato

Shred your scales faster and create subtle texture differences in sound by mixing picking and legato together.

Mixed Scale Runs: Picking + Legato
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While there's little more satisfying than a perfectly executed alternate picking run, I'm a huge fan of injecting legato into the mix. Why? I believe there are two reasons:

Play Faster Sooner

I realized as a beginner (and struggling with alternate picking) that I could drastically increase my scale run speed by picking some notes and using hammer-ons & pull-offs to hit others. It gave my picking hand just enough of a rest during the legato sections to keep up.

It Sounds Great

I also realized that the mixture of percussive, picked notes and fluid smooth notes created a subtle yet pleasing sound difference throughout scale runs. See what I mean by giving this quick scale section a go, ascending and descending in C major:



As abstract as this comparison is, I would compare the mixing of legato and picking to how a sparrow flies. If you've ever seen one flying overhead you may have noticed that they flap for a second or two and then tuck in their wings and fall for a moment, and then flap again, and fall again.

This is how picking + legato feels for me.
It makes me feel like a sparrow =|

Here's a brutal Jeff Loomis style shred lick using the technique!


By Alfred Potter www.AlfredPotter.com

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