Hands Of Steel III: Mastering Scales. Part I

author: JL_Shredder date: 10/05/2011 category: correct practice
rating: 9.3 / votes: 31 
Greetings Knights and Dames of shredding! Hands of Steel III will be a multi-part lesson. Its aim will be to help you learn scales in a way that will enable maximum fluency, and versatility. Unlike many lessons or books on scales, this lesson is designed to keep you out of the dreaded box that so many of us have become trapped in at one point or another. I will do this by first introducing a scale in single string patterns only. This will encourage movement up and down the neck, rather than the more linear box-patterns that most of us were taught. In the remaining parts of Hands of Steel III, you will then learn 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 string patterns. Then, extended scale patterns will be covered. Finally, we will end with a nice little tude to help you bring it all together. So, without further ado, let's begin Part I with the usual tips from the previous lessons. Oh yes, I'm planning to pound them into your brain to the point where you repeat them in your sleep! -Play every note clearly and evenly. Don't cheat yourself by playing sloppy or uneven notes, because it will just lead to problems further down the road. -It helps to have regular practice every day. I'd recommend at least 30 minutes a day, though more is usually better. -Relax! Excessive tension can cause discomfort, repetitive strain injuries, and it can greatly limit your playing ability. I'd also recommend that you stretch before practice to prevent injury. As stated before, many guitarists tend to play scales in a very boxed-in manner (staying in a single position). This naturally imposes certain limitations. Being able to move around freely when playing a scale opens up the door to a lot of new possibilities, and let's be honest here: It looks really impressive to boot! The best way to achieve this is to learn the notes of the fretboard first. For this, I would recommend a free software called FretPro. It not only features a game that will help you learn the positions of the notes, but it also has an interactive chord and scale diagram which will show you all of the note positions for commonly used scales. Once you can play the game accurately with all of the strings and frets activated, you are ready to begin learning the scales themselves. Open up the scale pattern display, click on C, then Major. You will now see all of the notes of the C Major scale displayed up to the 12th fret. Now, look at the high E string. Notice the pattern of the notes on that string. In tablature, it would look like this: Example 1) Notes on the high E string.
e|-0-1-3-5-7-8-10-12-|
B|-------------------|
G|-------------------|
D|-------------------|
A|-------------------|
E|-------------------|
First, play the notes up, then down. Once you've gotten used to that, try some different sequences. Play around with the order in which you play the notes a little bit. Examples 2a, and 2b are part of a sequence that I use in my own practice and playing. Examples 2a and 2b move in groups of three; ascending and descending, respectively. The recommended fingerings are below the tab. 1=index finger, 2=middle finger, 3=ring finger, 4=pinkie, and 0=open string. Example 2a) Ascending
e|-0-1-3-1-3-5-3-5-7-5-7-8-7-8-10-8-10-12-|
B|----------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  0 1 3 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4 1 2 4  1  2  4
Example 2b) Descending
e|-12-10-8-10-8-7-8-7-5-7-5-3-5-3-1-3-1-0-|
B|----------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------|
*   4  2 1  4 2 1 4 3 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 3 1 0
Take your time with this. Remember that it's better to be very good at doing one thing than it is to be very bad at doing many things. Once you have a good grasp on the E string, do the same thing with the other strings. Example 3) Notes on the B string.
e|-------------------|
B|-0-1-3-5-6-8-10-12-|
G|-------------------|
D|-------------------|
A|-------------------|
E|-------------------|
Example 4a) Ascending
e|----------------------------------------|
B|-0-1-3-1-3-5-3-5-6-5-6-8-6-8-10-8-10-12-|
G|----------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  0 1 3 1 2 4 1 3 4 1 2 4 1 2 4  1  2  4
Example 4b) Descending
e|----------------------------------------|
B|-12-10-8-10-8-6-8-6-5-6-5-3-5-3-1-3-1-0-|
G|----------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  4  2  1  4 2 1 4 2 1 4 3 1 4 2 1 3 1 0
Example 5) Notes on the G string
e|-------------------|
B|-------------------|
G|-0-2-4-5-7-9-10-12-|
D|-------------------|
A|-------------------|
E|-------------------|
Example 6a) Ascending
e|----------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------|
G|-0-2-4-2-4-5-4-5-7-5-7-9-7-9-10-9-10-12-|
D|----------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  0 2 4 1 3 4 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4  1  2  4
Example 6b) Descending
e|----------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------|
G|-12-10-9-10-9-7-9-7-5-7-5-4-5-4-2-4-2-0-|
D|----------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  4  2  1  4 3 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 4 3 1 4 2 0
Example 7) Notes on the D string.
e|-------------------|
B|-------------------|
G|-------------------|
D|-0-2-3-5-7-9-10-12-|
A|-------------------|
E|-------------------|
Example 8a) Ascending
e|----------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------|
D|-0-2-3-2-3-5-3-5-7-5-7-9-7-9-10-9-10-12-|
A|----------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  0 1 2 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4  1  2  4
Example 8b) Descending
e|----------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------|
D|-12-10-9-10-9-7-9-7-5-7-5-3-5-3-2-3-2-0-|
A|----------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  4  2  1  4 3 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 2 1 0  
Example 9) Notes on the A string
e|-------------------|
B|-------------------|
G|-------------------|
D|-------------------|
A|-0-2-3-5-7-8-10-12-|
E|-------------------|
Example 10a) Ascending
e|----------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------|
A|-0-2-3-2-3-5-3-5-7-5-7-8-7-8-10-8-10-12-|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  0 1 2 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4 1 2 4  1  2  4
Example 10b) Descending
e|----------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------|
A|-12-10-8-10-8-7-8-7-5-7-5-3-5-3-2-3-2-0-|
E|----------------------------------------|
*  4  2  1  4 2 1 4 3 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 2 1 0
For the low E string, the notes and fingering patterns are exactly the same as the high E (Examples 1,2a, and 2b). So there you have it. This first part might seem awfully simple, but it is quite possibly the most important. When you've learned these patterns on single strings, it is the first step taken in seeing a scale as one big pattern instead of a few boxes. Once you've mastered the exercises in this lesson, be sure to try other ways of sequencing. I could sit here and give you a book merely on ways to sequence scales on a single string, but I won't do that because one of the major points of these lessons is to foster your creativity as well as your technique. To be truly great players and musicians, we need to be as creative as possible. The world would be pretty boring if every guitarist sounded exactly the same, wouldn't it? In the next lesson, we will learn how to take these single string patterns and merge them into 2 string patterns. Until then: Keep Shredding!
More JL_Shredder lessons:
+ Hands Of Steel Tips Correct Practice 03/18/2011
+ Hands Of Steel II Correct Practice 01/05/2011
+ Hands Of Steel I Correct Practice 10/06/2008
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