If you want to develop 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 scale fingerings, but also how the scales can be played in the diatonic intervals and arpeggios.
In this lesson, I will be presenting you with a Major Scale Practice Routine that I use regularly in my own practice and also give to many of my students. I find working on these exercises daily 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.
In my experience, a lot of guitarists avoid practicing scales in intervals (as I did at first) as they can be difficult to finger and require some concentrated 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. There is a PDF posted below for easier reading.
DIATONIC TRIADS AND SEVENTH CHORDS
Practicing arpeggiated triads and seventh chords (from the major scale) is very helpful for building good technique. The following exercises will certainly give your fingers a solid workout!
SCALE SEQUENCES FROM THE MAJOR SCALE
Many players practice scale sequences and patterns and whilst there isn’t space here to list multiple examples, the one illustrated below is a good one to begin with.
In future lessons I’ll list some more sequences and patterns that you can practice.
Hopefully if you have already tried out some of the exercises above, you will have seen their musical value. Most musicians practice scale material like this.
Btw – In the Soundslice example at the top of the post, the exercises have also been further adapted for the Harmonic Minor scale for those of you who might like an additional set of exercises. Ultimately you should practice all your scales with similar patterns.
Finally, here’s a downloadable PDF file of all the above exercises: