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Playing Eighth Notes

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You have learned that there are 4 beats in each measure when playing in 4/4 time. A quarter note is 1 beat. A half note is 2 beats. A whole note is 4 beats. Using some simple math you can see that when a quarter note is split in half you get 2 eighth notes, so eighth notes get one-half beat.

Most of the time 2 eighth notes will be played in succession. You should usually use alternate (Down-Up) picking when playing 2 or more eighth notes.

A simple way to remember which notes to play with a downward stroke of the pick and which to pluck with an upward mostion is to remember the following principle:

Think of the numbers in a measure (1, 2, 3, and 4) as DOWNBEATS. Notes played on these beats should be played with a downward stroke. Think of all the “&” signs as UPBEATS. Any note played that is not directly on the count of 1, 2, 3, or 4 should generally be played with an upward stroke.