The BIG Scales and Arpeggios Practice Routine for Guitar
Having seen the title of this lesson, you may well be about to close this page and head off somewhere else on the internet. “I hate practicing scale exercises!..” I hear you say…“..it’s just for metal shredders or those fusion guys..” You’d be amazed at how many times I hear comments like this.
OK, scale practice may well not appeal to you right now and I can understand that. For many people it seems, practicing scales is a boring, repetitive chore that seems far-removed from the making of music. However, if you really examine the construction and internal composition of scales (and then of course apply this knowledge to your playing) then a new musical world may well open up for you as it certainly did for me.
You can also be sure that a good many of your favourite players have worked through (and probably still do work through) scale exercises like the ones I’m posting here. I should also point out that I am NOT suggesting practicing ALL these exercises in a single practice session. They are a resource for you to explore and take single sections to work on at a time.
The following scale exercises (which cover the Major scale, the Harmonic Minor scale, plus the Melodic Minor and Harmonic Major scales) are ones that I regularly practice to help me keep familiar with the four principal asymmetric scale forms (Major, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor and Harmonic Major) These exercises can be played at any tempo which you feel comfortable with, but the main point is accuracy here, not speed.
Here’s a quick example of what’s within the big scales and arpeggios practice routine for guitar:
There are also many ways that these exercises could be fingered, and the fingerings (within the tablature stave) are only one suggestion. I would suggest beginning with the Major scale first if these kind of exercises are new to you, as that is the easiest scale to hear melodically and then you can move on to the other scale types.
I usually play all these exercises with a pick and generally employ alternate picking, (i.e. downstrokes/upstrokes) however you could (with a little re-fingering) play these using other picking and fingering techniques to suit your own playing style. Working with a metronome is also a helpful aid in practicing these exercises, however I would only suggest this if you are already familiar with the fingerings and locations on the fingerboard.
OK, so here it is, the big scales and arpeggios practice routine for guitar. Take things slowly and learn everything thoroughly. There are two PDFs for you to work with and they are available below. There are also two MP3 files with the exercises played on MIDI piano.
Btw – Ignore the tempo too..the audio is just so that you can hear what the exercises sound like..it’s not the tempo it has to be played at!