How to Build Scales Runs on Guitar

In this lesson we are going to look at how to build up a scale run on guitar. A lot of intermediate level guitar players want to be able to play awesome scale runs down the length of their neck, and it can be quite hard to know how to get started with them. So we are going to spend a few weeks slowly building a scale run up, bar by bar.

This is also a great exercise for beginner - intermediate level players who want to start working on their scale knowledge and technique.

Before you start, I want you to commit to something: Practice this every day, for 30 minutes a day, 6 days out of 7. For the next month. Do that, and you are going to see some totally kickass results in your playing.

You should be practicing this to a metronome. Start it off nice and slow and work on memorizing each exercise before you work on playing it fast. The exercises are built around notes grouped in threes - so you will be playing 3 notes per click to your metronome (or six notes per click if you’re a hot shot).

Finally… as tempting as it is… don’t rush ahead. Don’t start on week 2’s exercises until week 2! This will allow you to focus and build speed quickly… if you try and do this all at once, you’ll probably be overwhelmed and get poor results. We are working in the key of G major.

Here we go!

Week 1

shred scale run
A short scale run on electric guitar, in G major

A nice simple pattern to start off with. You should be using strict “down up down up” strokes while playing on a string. When you change string, your first pick stroke should be in the direction of travel - so with the first string change from string 1 to string 2, you should be starting string 2 with an upstroke.

Week 2

shred scale run in G major
This is the new section we are adding

The next section! I hope it is Week 2 and you’re not cheating! We start off with a nice descending pattern where we play each note 3 times, go into a pedal point lick, then end playing the last note three times. Again, strict alternate picking while on the string.

When you get the hang of that, add last week’s section and play the two together:

shredding scale runs in g major
The complete scale run for week 2

Week 3

awesome shred guitar solo in g major
The addition for Week 3

A big descending run this week. Take your time with it, memorise it, speed train it, then add it into the previous weeks work:

neoclasical shred guitar in g major
The total exercise for Week 3

Week 4

The final week! I hope you’ve been sticking to the plan. You should be seeing your technique drastically improve, especially if you’re regularly using your metronome.

This lick is a bit harder than the rest, so start off without the metronome, figure it out, then introduce the click:

learning to shred
New addition for Week 4

Got the hang of that? Good job! Let’s add it into our previous work:

learning to shred in g major
The final scale run - it's a beast!

I hope you stuck to the plan - you should find that you’re setting some personal bests. Congratulations if you can play all the way through that lick to the click - it’s pretty tough! So that is how to build up a scale run on guitar - have a go at applying the idea to some licks of your own.