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Most people begin learning their pentatonic (5-note) & diatonic (7-notes) scales using a system that breaks them up into five vertical patterns. I posted them here.

Those patterns are essential to know and you can never practice them too much. That being said, it is also important to vary your practice routines and there are plenty of different ways to study these scales. For example, look at this chart (click to make bigger):

Guitar Scales Horiz 1_4-02

In the Key of C, starting on the 5th fret, play this pentatonic scale pattern using only your index finger and your pinky.

Guitar Scales C Horiz 1_4 ver2-02

This is another pattern utilizing the same basic idea. This one starts on the 12th fret. For a great finger-stretching exercise, play them with your index and ring finger!

The following diagrams are a little more complicated:

Guitar Scales C Horiz 1_3-02

Guitar Scales Horiz 1_3 ver2-02

If you want to kick it up a notch, try playing all the notes without using your ring finger.

To progress your learning you can add another note. Here is an example using the first pattern.
Guitar Scales Horiz 1_34-02

Or you can even play that added note scale going down, and then play the following scale going back up.
Guitar Scales C Horiz 12_4-02

Okay, with everything I have just shown you, you should be able to start developing your own charts. Add a note or two or three, take away a note, change the fingering, etc…

I find that the best way to practice is to constantly evolve your routine, that way it doesn’t get boring. As your playing progresses you should always be challenging yourself to think “outside of the box”.

Here is the video for this blog post.