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🇬🇧 Practicing scales

Updated: Feb 22

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Dont' know what scales to practice?


Technical development is essential to support our musical expression, there is no doubt. The better we control the basics, the easier we can let it go and keep our music flowing. Yeah, quite easy to put in words, right? You may be thinking "why don't you tell me what to do then?".

Let's do that...

There's plenty to do, but here I am going to focus on scales. Guitar music is based mostly on scales and arpeggios. There are more musical elements of course, but controling scales is a good first step.



Guidelines to practice scales


Musical elements such as dynamics, articulation, tempo, rhythm can be incorporated on your scales practice. If you are new to this, I would firstly focus on two main things:

- Left hand fingerings

- Right fingers alternation

Here below you can find a way to learn new scales and to avoid practicing the same scale over and over again. Try, it will help you!


Major or minor?

Because we must practice both major and minor, it is not relevant which one you choose in the first place. Each one of them behaves differently when using the CAGED system. They both share the same key signature and notes but start and end in different notes, according to their structure.


CAGED

After choosing which scale we would like to practice we can use one of the scale shapes, using the CAGED system. Below you can all major and minor shapes according to the mentioned system.

C Major scale in C shape


C Major scale in A shape


C Major scale in G shape


C Major scale in E shape


C Major scale in D shape

A minor scale in C shape


A minor scale in A shape


A minor scale in G shape


A minor scale in E shape


A minor scale in D shape


If you decide to play other scales than C Major and A minor, just use the same shape but starting on the new root note. See an example below:


A minor in E shape


G minor in E shape


If you could notice, the left hand fingering is exactly the same. Only the position you start changes ;)


Apoyando or Tirando

Even though music for classical guitar makes use of tirando (free stroke) more often it is good to practice both free and rest stroke. DIfferent muscles work while playing these techniques and there will be always situations where you'll need to play apoyando.


Tempo?

As mentioned on the video the speed applied to play scales will come with practice. You may use the metronome to help you to keep a steady tempo but there is no need to force your way up on the bpm's. It is more important to focus on the fluency and dexterity of your fingers. As mentioned on the video the speed applied to play scales will come with practice. You may use the metronome to help you to keep a steady tempo but there is no need to force your way up on the bpm's. It is more important to focus on the fluency and dexterity of your fingers.


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