The Superior Way Of Practicing Scales On Guitar [Scale Sequence]

The Superior Way Of Practicing Scales On Guitar [Scale Sequence]

Today's lesson is part 2 of a series of lessons dedicated to giving you creative ways to master your scales.

We're going to continue working on scale sequences, more specifically we'll be covering the sequence of thirds.

If you have no idea what a third is, don't worry, but for those of you who know what a third interval is, we're basically targeting thirds within a certain scale. 

This is going to help you memorize your scales faster and build the needed muscle memory to seamlessly improvise over any backing track/chord progression.

What are Thirds?

Like I mentioned before, as we're going through the scale, we're going to target thirds.

This could be major thirds:
A Major Scale on the Guitar
Or minor thirds:
A Major Scale on the Guitar

Check out min @0:21 for a quick demonstration.

Sequence of Thirds

To keep everyone on the same page, I'm going to start by explaining the main concept in the key of G Major.

To keep things simple, all you have to really do, is skip the middle man.

Follow these steps:
-Play the initial note (G)
-Skip the next note in the scale (A)
-Play the third upcoming note from the scale (B)

(or put simply the third up = 2 notes up the same scale)

Check out min @0:44 for a more comprehensive tutorial.

Here are the tabs for reference.

A Major Scale on the Guitar

 We are using economy picking here for the most optimal results follow the same picking direction specified on the tabs.
Check min @1:35 for a quick demonstration.

You can apply the finger roll technique or chose the multiple finger approach when switching between the G and B Strings.
A Major Scale on the Guitar

Disclaimer: When finger rolling you want to hear single distinct notes, otherwise you'll be playing double stops.

Check out min @2:36 for a quick demonstration.

Sequence Of Thirds On Other Scales

Now That You've gotten yourself familiar with this scale sequence, let's apply the same concepts to the key of A minor.
A Major Scale on the Guitar

Make sure you:
-Use economy picking (refer to the tabs)
-Use the correct fingering (refer to the tabs)
-Use the finger roll technique when appropriate.

Check out min @4:47 for a more comprehensive tutorial.

Here I'm showing you the sequence of thirds on the standard shape of the A minor scale because it's a bit harder, but remember you can use any modal scale you know.

Download the free PDF handout for this lesson for the sequence of thirds tabs on the G major standard shape scale and the A minor 3 notes per string scale.

Disclaimer: This only works for modal scales where we have a total of 7 notes/scale, meaning this will not work on the pentatonic major/minor scale.

Scale Sequence Practice Tip

After getting really familiar with a certain scale, once you get the picking motions and correct fingerings down, it's time to build some speed.

The best way to move forward from here is to start practicing your sequences with a metronome.

For the sequence of thirds the best way to do this is to:
- Play 2 notes or 1 grouping per beat (Eighth notes)
- Play 4 notes or 2 groupings per beat (Sixteenth notes)

Check out min @6:31 for a quick demonstration.
Final Words:
To sum things up, here are all the steps you should follow in order to optimize your progress and master any scale you want:
- Make sure you are using the correct fingering
- Check for finger roll or multiple fingers technique + stick to one of them.
- Make sure you are using the correct picking technique.
- Get very familiar with ascending then descending the scale.
- Practice with a metronome.

If you follow these steps you'll be able to use these killer sequences to spice up your improvisations.

Make sure you try this in different keys and for all the modal scales you know/want to learn.

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Author: Jack Haddad
Jack Haddad is an expert Guitar educator and teacher and has been helping guitarists, through his innovative methods, get incredible results on the guitar, whether they want to jam with friends or rock out on the big stage.

You can find out more about Jack Haddad's teaching here:
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