Scale Runs

In Parts 5 and 6 of our easy guide to scales, we learned that the major and minor scales are closely related and that they also contain the same notes. This means each one can easily be changed into the other and any key you choose can be easily transposed to a different key by moving scale shapes and patterns up and down the fret board.

Now you’ve familiarised your self with the seven positions of the minor scale, and learned how to use them to play loads of other keys and scales, it’s time to blur the lines between those positions and learn to flow across the fret board in as many ways as we can, as quickly as possible and without having to stick to any particular pattern or routine.

Even if you haven’t learned any of the positions mentioned above, you can still use the runs and scales in this section to learn the fret board this way, and then work on learning to cross the guitar using other methods and positions later on.


If you take a look at other musician’s guides on minor and major scale positions, you will probably find they use slightly different fingerings than I do.

The fact is, it really doesn’t matter how you do it or which fingerings or paths you choose to cross the fret board, as those fingering positions are all just reference or starting points to work from. They give you a safe haven that’s already fully engrained in your brain which will allow you to find a path across the neck when you need to without thinking about it.

As your knowledge of the fret board gets stronger, the whole fret board becomes 1 big fingering position instead of loads of smaller ones.

It’s like finding your way around town. At first you may only know one route to get to your destination, but as you learn the layout of the streets, you will soon realise there are an infinite number of ways to get there, some easier than others. Some routes are easy but dead boring, and others are harder but much more interesting . Once you’ve learned the map, you can get there any way you like, and once you know how to use a map, you can navigate round any town you choose.


The real goal of any guitarist learning scales is to know the scale so well that he/she can move anywhere they like across the guitar from one spot to another with no effort at all and without even thinking about it.

If you have tackled the positions we mentioned earlier, you would have learned how to move across the whole fret board side ways, in 7 positions across 6 strings. That’s the hard work done. Now we are going to cross the neck from top to bottom, backwards and diagonally in varying patterns and strings to solidify your knowledge of the minor and major scales to even greater levels.

We are going to fill in the paths across the fret board and turn the whole neck into your personal playground.

If you have done the work and learned your positions in parts 1, 2 and 3, these next few runs will be much easier to understand and visualise. In fact, they should make perfect sense.

This first minor scale run uses just two strings, and travels from frets 3 to 17.

Click here to try some easy scale runs.

Other Posts of Interest

Chromatic Scales and Exercises
No Nonsense Guide to Scales
Strum Like the Pro’s
Guitar Chords Made Easy

Posted 04.04.09

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