How To Play Guitar Scales Fluently - Two Powerful Tips

Many guitarists often wonder exactly how to play guitar scales fluently. No matter how much they practice a scale they never seem to be able to play it with the speed, fluidity and smoothness that they desire. In this guitar scale lesson we'll take a look at two powerful tips to help address this problem…


Tip #1: Tap Into The Power Of Melodic Patterns

Just playing a guitar scale straight-up-and-down really limits your technical development. To play guitar scales fluently you need to practice them using melodic patterns. These melodic patterns help you learn scales on a very deep level, and help you to develop your scale technique to an extremely high level.

To see an example of playing a scale using melodic patterns, please check out the exercise below…

A Lydian Mode Exercise:



This exercise uses the A Lydian Mode, and uses a really cool-sounding melodic pattern. It is a fantastic tool for developing dexterity and fluidity for both your picking and fretting hand! Here are a couple of important points…

  • Although I play the exercise using alternate picking, you are free to use any method of picking that you desire. For example, you might want to play some of the notes using hammer-ons and pull-offs.
  • The exact fingerings that I use to play the exercise are shown underneath theTAB. These are what work best for me. But if you find them uncomfortable, then change them to suit your own fingering preferences. There are no rules!


Tip #2: Practice Scales Using Different Rhythmic Subdivisions

It is a great idea to practice scale exercises using different rhythmic subdivisions. For example, you could master the exercise shown above using the following subdivisions…

Quarter Notes: This is when you play one note-per-click of your metronome.

Eighth Notes: This is when you play two evenly-spaced notes for each click of your metronome.

Eighth-Note Triplets: This is when you play three evenly-spaced notes for each click of your metronome.

Sixteenth Notes: This is when you play four evenly-spaced notes for each click of your metronome.

Please don't underestimate the value of playing a scale exercise with different subdivisions. It will dramatically improve your ability to play scales fluently. You'll find it will help improve both your timing and your overall technique and speed.

That's all from me.  Have fun with this stuff!

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