Guitar scales are an important part of learning the guitar. Playing scales can help develop finger strength, picking speed, and communication between the left and right hand. In today’s video, we’re going to show you an awesome guitar scale exercise.
If you’re looking for free guitar lessons online, be sure to check out Acoustic Life’s library of guitar lesson videos. Alternatively, if you want a more guided guitar learning experience, request an invite to Tony’s Acoustic Challenge. Built by guitar geeks for guitar geeks, Tony’s Acoustic Challenge will have you living your best acoustic life. Request an invite to learn more today!
Major Scale Guitar Positions
There are plenty of different ways to play major scales on the guitar. Some scales can be played using open strings, while others use closed positions — meaning they don’t use open strings. To get the most out of our awesome guitar scale exercise, we’re going to focus on the closed position G major scale.
The closed position G major scale is designed to give your fingers a good workout. Each finger will be assigned a different fret to cover, starting with your index finger on the second fret. From there, each finger covers the next fret up until your pinky is on the fifth fret.
In the video, we explain the G major scale. Each finger stays on the fret, and you shouldn’t have to change your hand position when playing the scale. Before starting the exercise, make sure that you have the closed position G major scale down.
Pick Direction for Guitar Scales
As you continue to play the G major scale, make sure that your pick directions are alternating. Each down stroke with your pick should be followed by an upstroke. This is called the golden rule of strumming/picking. While there are always exceptions, this is a good rule to follow.
Gaining confidence in alternating your pick direction on the guitar will help you play faster. In addition, alternating the pick direction can help you conserve energy. By using the smaller motor muscles in your hand, you can limit the exhaustive movement of your whole arm.
By practicing the closed position G major scale with alternate picking, you can begin to play the scale much faster. Solidifying your pick directions will also get you in a healthy habit of minimizing energy while maximizing speed and efficiency in your guitar playing.
The Ultimate G Major Scale Exercise
While this exercise is being demonstrated on G, it can be used in a variety of scales. For maximum effectiveness, use closed position scales for this exercise. This will give your hands a better work out and it will help you understand the fretboard that much more.
- The directions for the exercise are as follows:
- Play the first four notes of the scale. Make sure your pick is alternating directions with each note played.
- Then, start on the second note of the scale — in this case, A — and play the next four notes of the scale.
- You should have gone one note higher in the scale.
- Next, start on the third note of the scale — a B — and play the next four notes.
- Keep playing the groupings of four, and continue advancing up the entire scale.
It might be difficult to play at first, but this scale exercise is a serious workout on guitar.
You might be wondering how to play this scale exercise more accurately or quickly. Fortunately, Tony gives some expert advice on how to play this scale exercise on the guitar. Focus on the groupings of four, and just repeat one grouping 10 times. This will ensure that those notes are under your fingers.
To build speed with this scale exercise, it is important to go about this slowly and methodically. The best way to build speed is to not realize you’re getting faster. Sounds counterintuitive, right? The reasoning behind this lies in slow and steady progress while making sure the notes are accurate.
To build your speed, start with a metronome on 90-120 bpm. This range is designed to help you find a comfortable speed. Play through the exercise until you feel comfortable playing along with the metronome. From there, you can bump up the speed by 5 bpm each time. If you struggle on a new tempo, don’t be afraid to lower the bpm by five and start again.
Learning to Play the Guitar with Tony Polecastro
Thanks for watching this video, and let us know in the comments whether this helped your guitar playing. If you have any other tips, be sure to leave them in the comments.
If you liked this free online guitar lesson, you’re really going to love Tony’s Acoustic Challenge. Built by guitar geeks for guitar geeks, Tony’s Acoustic Challenge is a guided guitar learning platform that covers everything on the guitar. From soloing on the guitar to fingerpicking to playing in your first jam session, Tony’s Acoustic Challenge gives you the skills you need to learn the guitar. Request an invite today to learn more!