If you want to have a good improvisational vocabulary, you need to be fully familiar with all the scales you are intending to use. This requires a thorough understanding of not only some scale fingerings on the guitar, but also how the scales can be played in the various diatonic intervals and arpeggios.
In this lesson, I will be offering you one of the major scale practice routines I use regularly in my own practice. I find working on these exercises really gives my fingers a good workout and also helps me improvise more fluently.
At first glance, these exercises may seem like a lot of work but after you become more familiar with them, you can usually get through them all in a single sitting after a few weeks.
A lot of guitarists avoid practicing scales in intervals in my experience (as I did at first) as they can be difficult to finger and require some focussed practice. The results that can be achieved from regular practice however can really transform your playing.
Try the first few interval exercises in the musical examples below to get started on improving your facility with diatonic intervals from the major scale.
Diatonic Triads and Seventh Chords
Practicing triads and seventh chords are also very helpful for building a good improvisational vocabulary and the following exercises will help you gain a good facility with them.
Scale Sequences from the Major Scale
Many players practice sequences and patterns and whilst there isn’t space here to list many of them, the one illustrated below is a good one to begin with.
In future lessons I’ll list many more sequences and patterns that you can practice.
Hopefully if you have tried out some of the musical exercises above, you will have already seen the value in incorporating such exercises into your practice regime.
Btw – In the Soundslice example at the top of the post, the exercises have also been adapted for the Harmonic Minor scale for those of you who might like an additional set of exercises for another scale type. Ultimately you should practice all your scales with similar patterns.
Here is a PDF combining all the above scale exercises and also an MP3 audio file.