Scales - Think Outside the Box. Part 3

The idea behind this lesson is practicing in a single position, in this case we're going to use position 5.

Ultimate Guitar
It's been a while since I've posted a lesson but in the mean time I've been developing a lot of new material to share with you. This installment takes another page out of my favorite guitar book: "The Advancing Guitarist" by Mick Goodrick. Every time I read through one of his short snippets I have another a-hah moment and can develop dozens of exercises from one paragraph. The idea behind this lesson is practicing in a single position, in this case we're going to use position 5. This means that unextended, your first finger rests on the fifth fret, your second on the sixth, third on the seventh, and fourth on the eighth. The first and fourth fingers can extend one fret giving you a total reach on each string from fret four to fret nine. The second and third fingers stay put. Given this span, you have a little over two octaves of notes available to you. This gives you enough material to practice every scale you know. The point of the lesson is to stay in this position, and practice the major scale in all twelve keys. In some cases this will lead to some unusual fingerings that will give your hands quite the workout. The next installment will look at minor, pentatonic, and symmetrical scales taking the same approach. With this in mind let's take a look at some scales. I have written the fingering in below each of the notes.
See if you can play this scale up an octave as well.

These examples here should give you quite a bit to practice. I find that they give my hands an incredible workout, and improves my fingering and technique on my familiar pieces of music. A key aspect of my teaching approach is to confuse the student just enough so that he or she has to concentrate, which more often than not results in a neurological adaptation. Remember that these examples are just that, examples. You can apply this concept to any other scale you know, play all kinds of arpeggios, and practice in any position. (I counted eighteen separate positions on my guitar – there will be more if you have more than 22 frets.) Practicing in this way helps you to see and play your scales in some unique ways, bringing you that much closer to your instrument. Keep Rocking! Kevin About the Author: Kevin Armagh has been studying the guitar for over 20 years, and has developed a revolutionary method of learning that combines theory, technique, and ear training in a single approach. Visit for more lessons, a free report, and his flagship product, Six Months of Speed Guitar Training Course.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Good lesson. I use this concept a lot. The more you can milk out of one position the better off you are. To me, its not so much about not moving up and down the neck as it is having tons of options as you do move around.
    BTW, where is thinking outside of the box part 2? I only see one and three.
    you seem like a good guitarist. ill try this. you reckon you can help me with designing a schedule? I tend to run out of things to practise and im shocking too.