An Effective Way Of Practicing Scales

I just wanted to show an easy way of memorizing scales and not getting stuck in a box position but instead knowing the scale all over the neck.

Ultimate Guitar
The way I practice scales is pretty simple so this'll be short. What I do is I first practice the scale playing four notes per string. Let's put the A major scale as an example. Let's say we start at the 5th fret of the sixth string which is the root note of the scale and slowly go up playing for notes per string. Doing that would look like this:
As you can see you've covered a large part of the neck. To cover more you could start on a different note and go up the neck in the same way, four notes per string. That way you'd familiarize yourself with the location of the notes all over the neck and not just in one area, giving you more freedom when you improvise. Another method that really helps you memorize the scale anywhere on the neck is by playing the scale on one string alone and then you practice this on each string until you can go to any string and any part of the neck without getting lost or going out of key. Here's the A major scale played on the high e string alone:
What I did there was that I played for notes then started again on the second note of those four notes playing another for and doing the same thing until I reach the 12th fret. The reason why I do this is that it becomes easier for me if I have some sort of repetitive pattern because it helps me get the notes stuck in my memory and in my ears. I also stop at the 12th fret because after the 12 fret, it's just the same notes all over again. This has saved me a lot of time when it comes to learning scales since I look past the 12th fret and see it as I see the first 12 frets. With this I don't have to memorize so much. This is basically how I practice my scales and it's really helped me a lot so I hope it will help you too. Get creative with how you play the scales in one string so it'll get stuck in your head faster. Doing that in all of the strings means knowing the scale all over the guitar neck. That is all for this lesson. Thank you for reading and I hope I helped.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is a really good idea. Just tried it and I think I'm going to make it a regular part of my practices! Thank you!
    I really like this. I have no problem practicing scales all day in boxes, but when I jam with friends I tend to get locked into one spot. Going to practice this and try some more interesting ways of working around the fret board.
    Do your fingers just get used to the massive space for the four notes per string scales? Those occasional whole steps between the ring finger and the pink are kind of tough, my hand looks like an injured spider. Or would it be better to switch positions by sliding one note?
    I used to pick the first note with my index finger and then slide to the next note and then continue as I would normally with the other three notes. The point of it is to remember where the notes are. It's not a finger exercise so it doesn't matter much. Find what's easy for you.