Bring Your Scales to Life

scales Sep 01, 2023


When it comes to practicing scales on the guitar, let's be honest – it can be a bit dull. Going up and down the same patterns over and over again can make your practice routine feel monotonous and unexciting. But “fret” not, because there's a way to inject life and creativity into your scale practice using sequences. In this blog post, we're going to explore how sequences can transform your scale playing from mundane to magnificent.

Understanding Sequences

First things first, let's clarify what we mean by sequences. In musical terms, a sequence is a pattern. It's a way of playing a series of notes that deviates from the typical ascending or descending order. Sequences are powerful tools to introduce variety and challenge into your playing, helping you break away from the ordinary.

The beauty of sequences lies in their versatility. Whether you're working with a major scale, a minor scale, or any mode, sequences can be applied to enhance your playing. They not only keep your practice sessions engaging but also provide practical applications for navigating the fretboard in creative ways.

Sequences Unveiled

Imagine you're working with the C Major scale for this exercise, but remember that you can apply these sequences to any scale you desire. Let's start by ascending the scale with a simple sequence: 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-5. This means you play the first four notes of the scale (C-D-E-F), followed by the next four notes (D-E-F-G). This creates a distinct pattern that breaks away from the usual linear motion of scales.

As you practice this sequence, it's important to start slowly. Focus on accuracy rather than speed. Each note should ring out clearly, and your finger placement should be precise. Gradually build up your speed as your accuracy improves.

In Reverse We Go

Of course, sequences work just as effectively when descending the scale. Try the reverse sequence: 1(8)-7-6-5, 7-6-5-4. In the context of the C Major scale, this involves playing the first note (C), then jumping to the seventh note (B), followed by the sixth (A), and finally the fifth (G). This sequence can be a bit trickier due to fingering challenges, but it's an excellent opportunity to refine your technique.  AND the harder it is, the more you will gain from it.

Skip to a New Sound

Sequences don't have to stick to consecutive notes. You can experiment with note skipping to create interesting tonal patterns. For example, try the sequence 1-3-2-4, 3-5-4-6. This pattern skips every other note in the scale, resulting in a unique sonic texture. As with the previous sequences, start slowly and ensure your picking or fingering is on point.

We will do this one in reverse as well!

Triplet Excitement

Another sequence to explore involves triplets. Play 1-2-3, 2-3-4, and so on, both ascending and descending. This introduces a rhythmic element to your scale practice, enhancing your sense of timing and groove. Triplets add flair to your playing and can lead to some captivating melodic ideas.

Overcoming Frustration

Embarking on these sequence exercises might bring about a bit of frustration, especially if your mind is accustomed to linear scale patterns. This is completely normal. As with any new technique, take it easy on yourself. Patience is key. Remember that the goal is accuracy and clean execution. The speed will come naturally as you master the sequences.

Benefits Beyond the Sequences

Beyond the immediate benefit of learning intriguing sequences, these exercises have a broader impact on your guitar playing. They force you to pay close attention to your finger placement, picking technique, and overall fretboard navigation. By grappling with challenging patterns, you're developing your muscle memory and honing your ability to tackle complex musical passages.

Additionally, these sequence exercises are invaluable for discovering the strengths and weaknesses of your playing across different areas of the fretboard. Identifying challenging fingerings or awkward transitions now gives you the opportunity to work on them before they become stumbling blocks during performance.


So there you have it – a journey through the world of sequences and how they can breathe new life into your scale practice. Whether you're looking to break free from the monotony of traditional scale playing or seeking to enhance your technical prowess, these sequences offer a fantastic avenue for growth.

Remember, the key is to start slow and gradually build up your speed. Mastery comes from dedicated practice and patient perseverance. So grab your guitar, choose your favorite scale, and embark on a journey of creativity, challenge, and musical growth through sequences. Your scales will never sound boring again!


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