Lead Guitar 101

5 - Double Notes


Double Notes

Lesson Goals:

♦ Learn how to play double note lead licks
♦ Learn to identify location of double note possibilities
♦ Practice playing double note licks


In the Beginner Guitar Lessons course we talked a lot about single note picking in terms of playing lead guitar. In this lesson we will show you another lead playing technique known as "double" note picking.

As the name implies, double note picking is simply a matter of playing two notes at the same time, instead of one. The key is to identify which notes will work together in a particular scale.

In this lesson we will continue using the "A" minor pentatonic scale as an example.

Playing double notes often involves notes that are adjacent to each other and, that can be played with one finger. Those are the ones we will cover in this lesson.

Look at the TAB below.

101 5 1 01


In the example above you simply cover the 5th fret of the 1st and 2nd strings with the 1st finger and play that combination of notes three times. Give it a try.



Now look at the next TAB below.

101 5 2 01


In this example, you will play some more double note combinations based on the "A" minor pentatonic scale. Note the fingering you will use as indicated.


Look at the chart below.

101 5 double notes on scale 01

In the diagram above you will see various combinations of adjacent double note possibilities in the minor pentatonic scale. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with them.


For a real life example of double note picking at work, see our Cool Lick Series segment on the "Johnny B. Goode" riff.


The minor pentatonic scale and the "blues" scale are closely related, and there are a number of "passing" notes that can be played in these scales that are not "official" members of the scales, but still work when played in certain styles of songs.

Below is an example of how to incorporate some "passing" notes to increase your double note vocabulary, with a "Chuck Berry-esque" lick.

101 5 3 01


As you can see, there are a lot of double note picking possibilities. Take a moment and get used to playing them, and then be sure to incorporate them into your playing!