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):
In the Key of C, starting on the 5th fret, play this pentatonic scale pattern using only your index finger and your pinky.
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:
If you want to kick it up a notch, try playing all the notes without using your ring finger.
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.