3-Note Per String Scale Shapes

Working on 3 note-per-string exercises is something that all guitarists will eventually work on. They can be used to warm up, to become a faster guitar player and the most fun /beneficial way - to spice up guitar solos...

3 note per string licks and scales are generally used for speed picking. Whenever you hear a guitar player playing those really crazy fast licks, it’s more than likely a 3 note per string lick. Paul Gilbert of Mr.Big is one of many great experts in this field.

If you practice these exercises properly, and often enough, you will increase your speed. Because of the 3 notes per string technique, mapping out a scale pattern like this will create a particular fingering layout that will help you start playing faster lines.

Our 3 note per string exercises are played using alternate picking technique. There are other techniques as well like sweep picking but alternate picking is the most common. Alternate picking means you use consistent alternating down and up strokes.

Once you get the hang of them, 3-note per string scales can become quite addictive. Don’t however overdo it with them when you are soloing or improvising. It can become a little boring for the non-guitarist listener after a while. Use these patterns now and then and you will sound great. For speed practice (and improving your alternative picking technique) study the 3 note per string exercises as much as you can.

The one and only reason why the legendary monster guitar players become so incredibly fast is that they practice long hours, and do so for days, weeks, months and years. And why do they want to do that? Because it’s fun when the progress begins to show and because getting better for a guitar player makes them want to practice even more.

Practice these 3 note per string shapes given below. Practice slowly first and then gradually build up more speed.

We'll begin with a 3-note per string pattern in the key of "E Minor."

The next example is another minor key longer run of notes. key of "A Minor."

This one is a conversion of the "A Minor" from example #2, (it is flipped over to it's relative Major scale tonality, "C Major").

In wrapping up, I've got a 3 note per string "A Minor" Pentatonic scale.

After you have memorized each of the examples above, turn on a metronome and begin testing your skill as you push up the tempo. Your first goal should be 60 b.p.m. with the metronome. The next level to reach would be a tempo of 92 b.p.m. After that, shoot for a speed of 120 b.p.m.

You can also double the speed when you feel ready by changing your note duration over to the 16th-note triplet and dropping the metronome under 60 b.p.m.



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