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Guitar Scale Practice

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Guitar Lessons

Basic Acoustic Guitar Lesson #6

Entry level acoustic guitar practices and scales

Time to use those fingers on the acoustic or electric guitar

Beginning scales on the acoustic or electric guitar for dexterity and foundation.

Before going further, it is a good juncture to note that your acoustic or electric guitar should be set properly to give you the best and optimal string height for chording and playing easily without getting fret buzz or without it being too difficult on the fingertips. If the action is too high or too low, you will become frustrated and should have your guitar checked by a professional technician. If you are looking to upgrade or buy a new acoustic guitar, be sure to understand how they work, what they are built from, and be able to judge their overall craftsmanship so that you can find the best entry level acoustic guitar for your personal style, playing preferences and budget. With that said, let’s get on with learning guitar scales!

Just where can I go with good acoustic guitar scale practice?

Many young guitar students look to see their “heroes” do phenomenal scales, lead guitar riffs, and other amazing tricks on the acoustic or electric guitar. For many kids and beginner players, it is a dream to play fancy, lead guitar lines that intensify and magnify the beauty and elegance of a well played guitar, as well as create incredible lead riffs. However, some of the great guitarists of all times started with their first pluck, and perhaps didn’t sound all too dazzling, yet they kept going and continue to improve with practice and performance. You can do this too if you work on mechanics and put forth good, consistent practice efforts without sacrificing quality.

This introduction to guitar scales can be practiced on acoustic or electric, and to get a better, more well-rounded set of skills, it does not hurt to practice on both kinds of guitars. Use this introductory scale practice on the acoustic or electric guitar as a warm up and foundation to build upon daily.

Let’s get to scaling!

First, practice picking 1 string. You can start with any string on the guitar, but just pick 1. As you progress, you can begin to jump around to other strings to get a better feel for your personal guitar. In the diagram / examples, we will denote the first string.

Take your pick, and pick that 1 string up and down without hitting other strings. The focus here is for accuracy and timing. Start out slowly and build accuracy so that with time, you will be able to do this quickly without losing quality of sound. While you pick this 1 string on the guitar, count to 4 evenly and slowly while picking the string downward on counts 1 and 3, and upward on counts 2 and 4 so that your picking hand is going, down, up, down, and up repeatedly.

Once you feel confident, begin to introduce your chording fingers on the string. Following the diagram, place your first finger on string 1, fret 1 (or whatever string you choose), coupled with the first downward pluck. Next, place your second finger of the chording hand on the second fret, same string, while plucking up on that string with the right hand and pick simultaneously. And for the third step. . . you guessed it . . .repeat the downward pluck while placing the third finger on the third fret of the same first string. Finally, pluck upward while placing the 4th finger on the 4th fret of the same string.

You did it!

Congratulations! You just completed 1 cycle of the exercise. Be sure to place adequate pressure with each finger, and that you are only plucking that 1 string to produce accuracy in both the chording hand and the plucking, picking or strumming hand. Repeat this exercise on different strings, and different fret locations while working strictly on accuracy. As those guitar heroes out there are doing incredible scales and lead playing, they all started with their first pluck, but kept at it. You can get better too as long as you work at it and don’t give up.

 Return to Guitar Lesson #5

Aaron Schulman from strumviews.com has worked with the acoustic guitar for over 20 years in instruction, recording, playing, writing and recreation. You can learn more about acoustic guitars, acoustic guitar reviews and check out his honest acoustic guitar buying guide to help you buy with confidence.

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