Six Note Three Octave Major Scale Exercise

As you can tell from my previous blogs, learning and knowing the fretboard to the best of ones ability is of the utmost importance to me as a guitarist and something I stress to all of my guitar students. How much do I stress this point? So much that last week one of my students wanted to know why is it so important to me. I thought about it for a day or two. Thats why I love teaching; it gets me to reevaluate all that I know.

The reason it is so important to me is because I feel that the more knowledge you have about your instrument and how to get around on it, the more beauty you can create with it. You will be able to summon any possible combination of notes and phrases to emote the exact feeling you are trying to convey. It is my job as a teacher to come up with interesting, unique and cool ways to master this task.

With that being said here is an interesting, unique and cool major scale exercise to help you learn and eventually master the fret board.

This exercise is based on the six notes of any major scale played in three octaves up and down the neck starting on different notes of the scale in order diatonically. This exercise is played in the key of F major. It is actually moveable but for the constraints of space we will use F major. The first six notes of the F major scale are F, G, A, Bb, C, and D respectively. We will play these notes in that order in three octaves across and up and down the neck. Once that is done we will then play the next six notes of the major scale starting on the second note. These notes would be G, A, Bb, C, D and E respectively. We will play these in three octaves across and up and down the neck also. We will follow this series and pattern until the last note of the scale. You will notice that each series has the same symmetrical finger pattern for each octave. But don’t let those similar patterns deceive you. This is a very challenging exercise for a few reasons. Firstly, the rhythm pattern is very difficult, sixtieth note triplets played at about 120 bpm. I highly recommend NOT playing with a metronome at first until you get the stretches and proper fingerings down. After that is accomplished I would then start with a metronome slowly gradually building up to a fast speed. Secondly, although the finger pattern are similar for each note group, they do change as you switch the starting note of each phrase. So you have to really think about what you are playing quickly at a fast tempo. If you really want to take this exercise to the next level, say each note as you play them. Your significant others, parents, roommates and pets may think you are crazy but hey you will be learning the fretboard in an expeditious manner and becoming the master of your chosen instrument so its all relative! After you master this exercise in F major, move it around to other major keys and when you are jamming and soloing, remember this lesson. These phrases will sound killer with an amp on 11 and a wah pedal. Just saying.

Now get out there and pick up that guitar and play, just like yesterday. As always, any feedback and comments are 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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