Multi-purpose major scale exercise

Sure i am not the first to come up with this, but started doing a cool exercise. Just take a major scale, keep your hand in the same fret position and just start playing random patterns within the scale and say the scale degree, so e.g., 1-3-8-7/6-7-2-3/5-3-6-1/…etc, etc. Pick patterns that make you cross strings and require pinky and ring to move independently. Builds finger dexterity/independence and helps learn scale degrees, and you can do it slow focusing on moving your fingers only a little as possible to stop flying fingers. For those still learning the fretboard, you can replace the scale degrees with note names.


Hey @Old_WannaBe,

I would like to add my version of this: play a scale down the fretboard, across 2, 3, or 4 strings and at least three octaves.

  1. Always just play in one direction (up or down) the neck, so you memorize the pattern.
  2. Explore the “gaps” and transitions in your fingering - where do you shift, are there spots with just one or two notes you play before shifting?
  3. Go slowly at the start, maybe even without a beat. Increase your speed after a few passes.
  4. Play with the dynamics.
  5. Say the note names or Nashville numbers (root = 1, fifth = 5, &c).
  6. Sing notes or intervals
  7. Play without looking
  8. Play rhythms, time signatures, 16ths …
  9. The sky is your oyster, invent something!

Happy practicing!