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Guitar Practice Warmups – #1 Chromatic Scale

May 15th, 2012 · No Comments

Most of my guitar students have about an hour a day to practice. So all students of course want to know what is the best way to spend this time.

I like to compare it to sports; if you want to be a good basketball player, you don’t just run out on the court and start playing a game. You need to do some stretching and maybe shoot a few layups to get your body warmed up and your head in the game. Every student should be doing similar things before every practice session. Throughout this week, I am going to discuss some of the most common  warmup exercises and how to do them.

Chromatic Scale

What a pretty name for a scale! It has always made me think of colors which I now know makes sense because it actually comes from the Greek word “chroma” which mean color, according to Wiki.  Basically the chromatic scale means that you play every single note in order from lowest to chosen highest note. Lets first try it on one string so that you can better understand…..

One String Chromatic:

  • Play the low E string on the guitar.
  • With your first finger on left hand, play the first fret.
  • Then slide it up to the 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th etc all the way to the 12th fret.

You just played a one octave chromatic scale starting and ending on E. You played the notes, E-F-F#-G-G#-A-A#-B-C-C#-D-D#-E .  12 Notes….there are 12 notes that make an octave.

So now we are going to do these same notes across all the strings and in one position (a position means your first finger stays over one fret without shifting your whole hand up).

Here is a video of it:

Chromatic Scale Full

  1. play the open E string and play each upper fret with a new finger until you get to the 4th finger on the 4th fret. So 1st fret 1st finger, 2nd fret second finger, 3rd fret third finger and 4th fret fourth finger.
  2. Now play the open A string and do the same thing.
  3. Repeat for the D and G string
  4. Now on the B string we are gong to do one thing different. Do not play the open B string. This is because you already played this note with your 4th finger on the G string.
  5. Once you are finished playing 4th finger on the B string, Play the open and and go up each finger until you play the 4th fret on the 4th finger on the high E (1st string). This is a G# note.
  6. Now reverse each finger the same way you came up until you are back on the low E string.

Here’s the video:

Tomorrow I will talk more about this scale and how to get the most out of practicing it!

Tags: Guitar Practice