Fast Blues Scale Runs with Andrew Wasson

Learn the study approach for working on fast ascending and descending Blues runs. Build your speed up to even faster levels by introducing the use of both sixteenth-note triplets, as well as, thirty-second notes.

Ultimate Guitar
Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers questions from off of his Guitar Blog website.

Q. I was wondering if you could make a short lesson covering some ways to practice faster sounding Blues runs. Kind of like the fast scale parts that Stevie Ray Vaughn does in his songs. I'd just like to understand what types of note values are commonly used and some initial ways I could practice these kinds of Blues runs to be able to get them into my guitar playing. Thanks for your lessons!
Kelly – Trenton, NJ. USA

A. Performing fast scale runs in any musical style takes a great deal of time and effort. Building the speed requires not only a "rock solid" knowledge, of the scales layout on the neck, (combined with excellent guitar technique), but it also requires the student to have excellent control over fast rhythmic durations as they get used to accelerate the pace of a scale run.

Video lesson (with on-screen TAB):

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Developing Speed:

After you have a very good handle on the general scale shapes, (you can clearly see how they connect horizontally in several ways), work on both ascending and descending scale runs with the sixteenth-notes at first. If you can't invent your own ideas, then mix and match a few lines from your favorite Stevie Ray or Hendrix solo and re-shape them into something original. In time, you'll have enough mixed ideas to carry on with your own scale lines.

Fast Note Durations:

Sixteenth-notes are quick, but at slower metronome speeds they can be brought under control, (your lines will come under better control at slower speeds, then you can bring them up to much faster levels). As your skills develop, start moving into the world of sixteenth-note triplets, as well as, eventually including thirty-second notes. If you are unfamiliar with how to properly count and play any of these durations, you'll have to study that concept first.

Take your time, never play faster than you can play an idea perfectly and always study with a metronome. The example runs I've created for the lesson sound very cool when brought up to speed. Even though they might be difficult they're well worth the effort it takes to develop them to fast tempos.

About the Author:
Andrew Wasson is a 1992 Graduate of Hollywood California's Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T.). He has operated his Canadian Music School; Creative Guitar Studio, for the last 20+ years ... teaching thousands of guitarists both in studio sessions, and through his popular YouTube Channels and websites. Hundreds of FREE lessons are available at

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Another excellent lesson, but it'll be awhile before I can play these licks that fast!