30 January 2012

Guitar Exercises – Horizontal Fretboard Movement Part 3, Skipping Positions

This post in the series on horizontal fretboard movement with scales shows some exercises that skip over positions to train your fingers to make larger jumps up and down the guitar neck. This kind of movement will give you a new dimension to develop solos and improvisations.


So far in this series we’ve seen exercises that use use four-note groups from the major and minor pentatonic scales to play licks that move horizontally up and down the strings. Part 1 showed some exercises on minor pentatonic scales. Part 2 worked through some major pentatonic positions. In this part we’re going to work on some exercises that get us making larger jumps up and down the fretboard.


Exercise 1 – E Minor Pentatonic

This exercise walks up and down the E minor pentatonic on the fourth and fifth strings. We start with a four-note box with two open notes, then skip over a position to play a four-note box at the 5th and 7th frets. Then you drop down to fill in the position you skipped over between the 2nd and 5th frets.


This pattern of skipping over a position and then going back to it is repeated throughout the exercise. Focus on transitioning smoothly and accurately into the new position ready to play its four-notes. Use alternate picking throughout.



Exercise 2 – C Major Pentatonic

This exercise on a C major pentatonic scale follows the same principle as the first one. Each time you move up the fretboard (or down, on the descending part) you skip over a position. Once you get the hang of these large jumps you can quickly move up and down the fretboard to play licks in new registers.



When you have completed these two exercises you can go further by extending them to other pairs of strings and to other keys. You can also skip over two or more positions as you ascend or descend the guitar neck.


We’ll wrap up this series with a final part that integrates the skills you learn in these exercises into a complete piece. Don’t forget to subscribe to the feed (it’s free) using the link below if you’d like to be notified of the next part.

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