Minor & Major Scale Runs

Below is a full scale diagram of the G minor scale. We are going to work on some runs from one end of the fret board right the way to the other and back again.

G Minor Scale Full 22 Fret

First we’re going to take an easy minor scale run on strings 5 and 6. You can see from the diagrams below that once you have got the pattern sussed starting from the root note G on the 3rd fret, the pattern repeats itself in most other places on the neck where you find the same root note.

G Minor Scale 2 String Run Strings 5 & 6

This means that you can easily move it around to almost all the other G root notes on the fret board. This is shown by the coloured zones in the diagram below.

G Minor - 2 String Run Map

The only string you can’t do this on is when you place the pattern on a root note on string 3. This is because the pattern crosses strings 2 and 3 which due to the way the guitar is set up are out of symmetry by one fret.

The great thing about any run or lick you make up in a certain key is that it can easily be used in any other key you like by simply keeping the same shape and pattern of the run and moving the root note to a new one.

Take a look at this Em scale below.

E Minor 2-String Scale Run Colour Map

I have used the exact same colour map and run as in the Gm and simply placed it over the E root notes. It now becomes an E minor run.

Here’s a tab exercise of a G minor scale run. Start with your first finger on the 3rd fret, 6th string and using alternate picking and preferably a metronome, play 3 notes per string, making your way up to the 17 fret. Start the exercise at a slow manageable pace until you have got it sussed and then gradually increase your speed until you are playing it as fast as and as accurately as you can.

Once you are at your top speed, work on getting it cleaner and faster over the next week or so. You will soon find your speed and finger strength noticeably improve.

These exercises sound best when played with some mean distortion and a bit of delay, but you really should try and get into the habit of playing them with a clean tone and as little fx as possible as they tend to mask what’s actually going on with your playing. Just switch off your racks or pedals every once in a while just know whether your playing is messy or accurate.

G Minor Scale Runs

Note : These scale runs are designed to be relatively easy to learn and great for building speed, strength and picking skills etc. They are not supposed to be amazingly technical, flashy, or melodic, but they are great starting blocks and should get you into the habit of creating your own runs and licks in your favourite keys and scales once you get used to it.

G minor Runs 2 String Tab 1

Feel free to improvise with these first 2 exercises and vary them as much as you like. Try making up your own start or finish to each run.


Over the next few sections we will be working through these and other simple runs and exercises, moving them around, changing keys and varying the patterns to give you and idea of how you can mess with ideas and take them anywhere you like across the fret board. The main aim is to get you used to doing this and for you to feel comfortable in making up your own more complex and better sounding runs and licks in the future.

Once you’ve got the hang of the exercises above, try the next section where we are going to shift these runs to different root note positions, like in the Gm colour map, and then change the key of the runs, as in the Em example.

Moving and transposing the scale run.

Other Posts of Interest

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

Posted 05.04.09

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1 comment to Major & Minor Scale Runs : Build Speed, Skill & Knowledge Of The Fret board

  • This is the first pattern I stumbled upon when I discovered this site

    Now that I visit more I must say … Thank you “”
    your lessons are valuable for guitar players of any level.

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