Time to learn another guitar scale sequence. In this lesson we will be sequencing a major guitar scale in groups of four notes. Al Dimeola, Paul Gilbert and a ton of other incredible guitar players use ideas like this in their playing all of the time. We will be using the A major scale shape that starts on the 5th fret of the 6th string with your middle finger. Don’t limit yourself to using this idea on just this scale. Once you have this pattern down try to apply it to other scales that you already know. There will be two versions of the scale sequence, one that uses alternate picking and one that uses a more legato approach. We have given you the TAB so that you can see exactly what is going on with the left and right hands.
Play the first four notes of the A major scale shape starting on the lowest note of the scale on the 5th fret of the 6th string. Make sure to use alternate picking. Now start on the 2nd lowest note of the scale on the 7th fret of the 6th string and play four more notes using alternate picking. Repeat this pattern until you get all the way to the top note in the scale shape. This pattern may be easy to understand but it can be quite difficult to play something like this cleanly when you get it up to a pretty good speed. Practice this until you get the basic idea down and then work on getting it clean and speeding it up a bit.
Let’s take the exact same sequence and play it in a more legato style. Start off by playing the 5th fret of the 6th string with your 2nd finger using a downstroke. Now hammer on to the 7th fret of the 6th string with your 4th finger. Hop over to the 4th fret of the 5th string with your 1st finger and pick that note with an upstroke. Hammer on to the 5th fret of the 5th string with your 2nd finger to finish the first group of four notes. Start the next sequence of four notes off on the 7th fret of the 6th string with your 4th finger using a downstroke. Move over to the 4th fret of the 5th string with your 1st finger using an upstroke. Finish off this sequence by hammering on to the 5th fret of the 5th string with your 2nd finger and the 7th fret with your 4th finger. Continue this pattern all the way up the scale and back down. Coming back down the scale feels quite different because of all of the pull-offs that you have to do. Take it slowly and make sure that you are picking, hammering on and pulling off where appropriate. If you are confused about the picking at all just check out the picking indicators at the bottom of the TAB.
Sequences like this are great for starting to work on your phrasing ideas and keeping your hands in shape. See if you can work this sequence in to some of your solos. Be careful not to overuse ideas like this though. If you use them too much in your playing you can make your solos sound like you are just practicing. Enjoy!