#1
Practice is one of the most important things any musician can do to improve their skill. Many articles posted on UG recently have repeated the idea that practicing scales for 20 minutes a day improves both speed and accuracy, which is true. However, I have realized a great flaw in all of these articles. Most seasoned guitarist already know the scales and modes, therefore, they feel no need to post something so obvious to them. This leaves the beginners in a predicament. This article is supposed to help beginning and intermediate players improve their playing, and I would be money that if you play this full exercise (it takes about 20 minutes) once a day in a few weeks you?ll be faster and stronger.
A scale is nothing but a pattern of half steps and whole steps. A half step on a guitar is advancing one fret, for example 0 to 1 on the E string is a half step (or for those who know theory, a minor second). Whole steps are simply double the distance, 0 to 2 (in theory talk, a major second).
As guitarist?s we are fortunate to have learning scales very easy. We can simply shift the scale pattern so that the first note we play is the appropriate not on the low E sting. For example:

C Major Scale:

|------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------|
|-------------7-9-10-9-7---------------|
|------7-8-10------------10-8-7-------|
|-8-10--------------------------10-8---|

G Flat Major:

|----------------------------------|
|----------------------------------|
|----------------------------------|
|-----------1-3-4-3-1-----------|
|-----1-2-4-----------4-2-1----|
|-2-4-----------------------4-2--|

(Notice that the motions and patterns are identical, but the starting location has changed)

Modes are simply the major or minor scale beginning on a different note. The major scale begins on the root of the scale and ends an octave above the root. This is also know as the Ionian mode.
To change the mode, all you have to do is begin the major scale on a different note. For example, if you begin the C major scale on its third note, E, and play up the same scale until you reach an octave above E. In notes, this is how it would look:

C Major (Ionian): C D E F G A B C

Beginning on E (Phrygian): E F G A B C D E

Easy, right?

So, let?s begin. Start with your C Major scale and play up and down the scale as is written, if you make a mistake at any point in the scale, start it over, don?t just move on, because your fingers must learn to accurately play each scale pattern.

C Major (Ionian, I):

|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------|
|-------------7-9-10-9-7-------------|
|------7-8-10------------10-8-7-----|
|-8-10--------------------------10-8-|
^ Root note is C, same as the 1st note

Once you?ve played that accurately, play the scale in thirds:
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------7----9-7-10-9-12-10-7-9----7----------------------|
|---7----8-7-10-8---10--------------------10---8-10-7-8----7------|
|-8---10------------------------------------------------10---8-10-7-8-|

Now we move onto modes. Modes are simply the Major scale beginning on a different note, we?ll play all 7 modes of the major scale in order. (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian)

D Dorian:

|--------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------10-12-10--------------------------|
|----------10-12-14----------14-12-10-------------|
|-10-12-13----------------------------13-12-10----|

D Dorian in Thirds:

|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------10----12-10-14-12----10----------------------------------------------|
|----------10----12-10-14-12----14-------------14----12-14-10-12----10--------------------|
|-10-13-12----13-------------------------------------------------13----12-13-10-12-8-10-----|

E Phrygian:

|---------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------12-14-12--------------------------|
|----------12-14-15----------15-14-12-------------|
|-12-13-15----------------------------15-13-12----|

E Phrygian in Thirds:

|----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------12----14-12-15-14----12-----------------------------------------------|
|----------12----14-12-15-14----15-------------15----14-15-12-14----12---------------------|
|-12-15-13----15-------------------------------------------------15----13-15-12-13-10-12----|

F Lydian:

|----------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------12-14-15-14-12---------------------|
|-------12-14-15----------------15-14-12-----------|
|-13-15----------------------------------15-13--------|

F Lydian in Thirds:

|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------12----14-12-15-14-17-15-12-14----12-----------------------------|
|----12----14-12-15-14----15-------------------------15----14-15-12-14----12---------|
|-13----15-------------------------------------------------------------15----13-15-12-13----|

G Mixolydian:

|----------------------------------|
|----------------------------------|
|----------------------------------|
|-----------2-3-5-3-2-----------|
|-----2-3-5-----------5-3-2----|
|-3-5-----------------------5-3-|

G Mixolydian in Thirds:

|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------2---3-2-5-3-7-5--2-3---2----------------------|
|---2---3-2-5-3---5------------------5---3-5-2-3---2---------|
|-3---5------------------------------------------5---3-5-1-3----|

A Aeolian (Minor Scale):

|--------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------|
|-------------5-7-5------------------|
|-------5-7-8-------8-7-5----------|
|-5-7-8-------------------8-7-5----|

A Aeolian in Thirds:

|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------5---7-5-9-7---5------------------------------|
|-------5---7-5-8-7---8---------8---7-8-5-7---5--------------|
|-5-8-7---8---------------------------------8---7-8-5-7-3-5--|

B Locrian:

|--------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------|
|---------------7-9-7----------------------|
|--------7-8-10-------10-8-7-----------|
|-7-8-10---------------------10-8-7----|

B Locrian in Thirds:

|--------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------7----9-7-10-9----7------------------------------------|
|--------7----8-7-10-8---10----------10---8-10-7-8----7----------------|
|-7-10-8---10--------------------------------------10---8-10-7-8-5-7----|

Now, you may be asking you self how to get this to fit a 20 min. practice session. Easy, set your metronome at 90 BPM, play each note as one beat, once you finish all scales and modes FLAWLESSLY, then set the metronome to 110, and repeat. Continue stepping the tempo up by 20 BPM every time you play the scale perfectly, when you hit 170 BPM you should stop. That should take about 20 minutes if you play each scale perfectly the first time.

And that?s it! If you do this once daily, it should put you well on your way to becoming a better guitarist. These may be intimidating at first, but they are easy once you know them they come in very handy.

Best of luck,

-DAN
#2
you should make the scales you use go all the way up the strings, so they will practice the entire scales used in songs, not just know the theory of it.
#4
You should go into detail about how to practice these scales... there's no point in someone practicing if they don't know how. Saying ''Set a metronome and play'' is exactly the predicament you're trying to get them out of.

Also, I don't recommend saying ''We can simply shift the scale pattern so that the first note we play is the appropriate not on the low E sting. For example'' in a lesson. While it's true, it's another predicament for a budding guitarist to get stuck in.
#5
i would disagree with "stopping at your mistakes" because this will cause you to develop a tendency of fumbling through the scale when you reach a certain spot...playing through your mistakes would be better, and you should be playing at a speed where you can play every note cleanly before moving on...one note per click at 170 bpms will just be a mess of noise, i would suggest starting at sixteenth notes (4 notes per click) at 40 bpm and work up from there, and every day increase the starting point by 5 or so...i do agree with scale sequencing being a great exercise, grouping in diatonic intervals...i would also play them ascending and descending in groups of three and four as well
Quote by BigFatSandwich
it took you 15 consecutive hours of practice to realize that playing guitar makes you better at playing guitar. congratulations.


Quote by Sharp_as_steel
Axe_grinder pwns!!!!



Member #2 of the "Official UG Teabaggers' Cult". PM Slayer224 to join.