Finger Twisters: Combining Major And Minor Scales And Arpeggios

Greetings fellow family! In the next few installments I would like to challenge your mind and fingers with my new subject matter: finger twisters.

I am always looking for new and challenging ways to make my practicing and playing more fun and creative and in the process, dig down deep to discover something new ago the guitar and myself. In this blog I will discuss and demonstrate my first finger twister: a combination of a major and minor scale and arpeggios across the fretboard.

In example one we have an ascending major scale. remember these scales are moveable but for this particular example we will use G major. Nothing special and ordinary right? But once we get to the top note on the high E string, we descend as a major arpeggio. It is a very challenging exercise for your mind and fingers for a few reasons. Firstly, we will be using strict alternate picking of every note going up the scale then skipping notes on the way down the arpeggio playing only the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes respectively. And secondly, there will be a rhythm change on the way down too in which we will be pulling off the first two notes of the descending arpeggio. You will have to be able to switch mental and physical gears quickly. As with all the exercises I write about and play, I straggly suggest playing with a metronome starting at about 100 bpm and gradually accelerating the tempo as you get more comfortable.

In the second example we will do the same with a G natural minor scale ascending across the neck with strict alternate picking also. Remember these scales are moveable! But then we will descend with a minor arpeggio. To make this even more rhythmically challenging, we will pull off the first two notes of the minor arpeggio on the way down. A quick warning here: switching from the ascending picking part to the descending pull off part will require you to barre the first two strings to make it sound clean and concise. This may put some strain on your fret hand forearm, especially when playing at a quick tempo with a metronome. If you experience discomfort and pain, stop immediately and play the exercise  at a slower tempo.

Now get out there and pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday. As always I thank you for reading my blog space here at And remember feedback and comments are always welcome.



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 and 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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