Shredding, Scales and Rhythm

From beginner to beginner...

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Ultimate Guitar
15
Hey fellow beginners,

If you're looking for a way to learn scales, increase your speed and improve your rhythm, give this lesson a try.

What you're gonna need:

1. A guitar and a pick (yes, quite shocking)
2. A metronome
3. Practice with alternative picking
4. Basic knowledge about major scales (if you're lacking in this area just learn the tabs below)

So basically what you have to do is play the C-Major scale to and fro, then the D-Major, followed by E, F, G, A and B. All this with alternative picking and a metronome. I have given all the scales below. Scroll down once you're familiar with them.

C-Major scale (and back)
e|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------0--1--1--0-----------------------------------------|
G|-------------0--2--------------2--0-----------------------------------|
D|----0--2--3--------------------------3--2--0--------------------------|
A|-3--------------------------------------------3-----------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
D-Major scale (and back)
e|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------0--2--3--3--2--0--------------------------------------|
G|----------0--2--------------------2--0--------------------------------|
D|-0--2--4--------------------------------4--2--0-----------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
E-Major scale (and back)
e|----------------------0--0--------------------------------------------|
B|-------------0--2--4--------4--2--0-----------------------------------|
G|-------1--2--------------------------2--1-----------------------------|
D|-2--4--------------------------------------4--2-----------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
F-Major scale (and back)
e|-------------------0--1--1--0-----------------------------------------|
B|-------------1--3--------------3--1-----------------------------------|
G|----0--2--3--------------------------3--2--0--------------------------|
D|-3--------------------------------------------3-----------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
G-Major scale (and back)
e|----------------0--2--3--3--2--0--------------------------------------|
B|-------0--1--3--------------------3--1--0-----------------------------|
G|-0--2--------------------------------------2--0-----------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
A-Major scale (and back)
e|-------------0--2--4--5--5--4--2--0-----------------------------------|
B|----0--2--3--------------------------3--2--0--------------------------|
G|-2--------------------------------------------2-----------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
B-Major scale (and back)
e|----------0--2--4--6--7--7--6--4--2--0--------------------------------|
B|-0--2--4--------------------------------4--2--0-----------------------|
G|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------------|
Now what you have to do is put your metronome on 160bpm with an accent on every fourth beat. If you're a bit slow or unfamiliar with alternate picking you can start with 120bpm or lower.

Then you start with the C-Major scale and alternate pick the scale and back on every beat. As soon as the C-Major scale ends, start the D-Major scale, followed by the E-Major scale and so forth. Remember, that there should not be any gap between scales and they should be like successive notes.

After you finish the B-Major scale to and fro, stop and the very next beat you hear should be accented, which means you've done it perfectly in time (unless you're exactly a multiple of four notes behind).

After this, you can increase the bpm by 5 and try again, slowly climbing to 180, 190 and even 200bpm or more. If you are finding it difficult to play along with the metronome, even if you are fast enough you may need to decrease the bpm and gradually work your way up so that you match it beat by beat. Make sure you can hear every beat loud and clear. Of course after a point you will find it very difficult to match it no matter what (around 200bpm).

After practicing this you should be very well-versed with the scales, better and faster at alternate picking and will learn to keep rhythm with the metronome even at high bpm.

I hope you found this lesson useful and be a little gentle, I too am a beginner after all and this is my first lesson.

Please leave your constructive feedback in the comment section below.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    feelingducky
    Thanks for the lesson! What a great basic exercise for beginners to get a better feel for the frets and finger positions and a good warm up exercise for more advanced players.
    justin1984
    Nice lesson,I never really practice scales in the open position, its a fresh look at a basic subject. I practice at 80pbm and up, working on building speed, my goal is 180bpm one day!
    josonmj
    Awesome bro! Don't worry you'll get there and further before you know it. I could just handle 60 not that long ago, now I breeze through 230 which is unfortunately all my metronome is capable of.
    Joe78man
    A question here. What to do when i make a mistake? should I start over or continue?
    josonmj
    Sorry for the late reply. Start over that scale only, at the same bpm.
    SamRaw
    Im in the begging er bracket! I love this! Perfect for a beginner like me!
    guitar/bass95
    I kind of like the positions you're using here, they're a bit more interesting than basic 3 note per string patterns. And my advice to you and any other beginner is this - don't start to practice this with 160 bpm. If you really want to progress and develop your skills, do it slowly. I've been playing for years and I'm pretty decent technically, and I still do my technical practice in 40 bpm. I find that this is a lot better way to actually build muscle memory and timing. 160 bpm is actually pretty damn fast, I really can't recommend practicing in that speed. (I assume that we're speaking 8th and 16th notes here.)
    josonmj
    Actually you're damn right. In fact I find it much harder to keep rhythm with a metronome below 60bpm. But I felt that asking beginners like me to practice at that speed would lower the chances of them gaining speed quickly, it would be a more rhythm-oriented approach. But I didn't start off scales for the first time at 160bpm either, I started slowly too, but then I wanted that to come under "once you're familiar with them". I was intending that the person would be able to keep time with atleast 80bpm.