Cool Major and Minor Scale Exercises

Hey everyone. In my last two blogs for Guitarworld.com, I discussed arpeggios and how to incorporate them into your playing to learn the fretboard and add some color to your leads. In this blog I would like to discuss some really cool major and minor scale exercises that will help your overall guitar playing on many different levels.

Examples 1 and 2 are a major and a natural minor scale respectively over three octaves spanning from the 6th string to the 1st string. At first look it seems harmless enough but when we analyze it, this exercise presents a few challenges. The rhythm starts out as triplets played legato with hammer ons. But in the second measure the rhythm changes to sixteenth notes played legato with the pinky slide into the next triplet. Although this may seem simple, it is not easy.

This little exercise works on accuracy. I suggest playing without an amp so you can really dig in and hear those legato phrases and slides. Make sure that the dynamics of every single hammered note and slide are even. It helps to improve your rhythm playing. The changes from triplets to sixteenths are really challenging especially when played with a metronome. Hint hint. This exercise also helps to improve your position switching. The fingerings change with some of the phrases so you will have to think and look ahead to the next phrase to be accurate. One of the overlooked aspects of lead guitar playing I stress with my students is knowing the fretboard like the proverbial back of your hand. This exercise will also help you to connect the fretboard from one end to the other and break you out of “the box” positions we all get so comfortable with. And last but certainly not least, you can incorporate a sections of these exercises into your lead work for some added flair.

These examples are in G major and G minor respectively but since they are moveable scales I suggest you learn then all over the fretboard using the notes on the 6th string as the roots. Practice them with a metronome of course.

Now get out there and pick up your guitar and play, just like yesterday people. Thanks again for reading and as always any feedback is always welcome and encouraged.

RR

Richard Rossicone

About Richard Rossicone

Richard W. Rossicone is a veteran of the New York City and Long Island original and cover band scene. He has been playing guitar since the tender age of 8 years old when he attended his first concert, KISS and saw Pete Townshend smash a guitar. He has studied with various instructors over the years which led him to a career in Music Therapy. He began his educational journey at Queensboro Community College where the faculty there opened up a new world to him by introducing him to classical music. He received his A.A. in Fine Arts in 1997 and from there went on to receive his B.A. in Music Therapy in 2001 and his M.A. in Music Therapy from New York University in 2004. He has been Board Certified as a Music Therapist since 2002. Hungry to learn more about different styles on the guitar, Richard decided to continue his studies at C.W. Post University pursuing a second Masters Degree in Classical Guitar Performance and Music History in early 2006, studying under Harris Becker. In addition to his “day job” as a music therapist, he has been teaching guitar, piano and theory part time since 2002 and in 2006 started his own company called Rossicone Music Studios. Richard has grown his business from 15 students a week to over 50 a week at this present time. Richard is also a contributing blogger to GuitarWorld.com and GuitarAficionado.com Check out his blog page entitled The Complete Guitarist and visit him on Facebook at Richy Rossicone’s Complete Guitarist Page.
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