Scalestudies for Beginners and Intermediate Students: How to Approach Them?

For this article a few pointers about how to approach your scalestudies.

         New To Playing Scales?

When you are completely new to playing scales you should first learn more about scales, this so you know what you are playing. Learn about the framework of the scale, learn the pattern (memorise it!)
At this stage you should just play the scalepattern, try to use the right fingering, you should be able to get a smooth sound after you played the scale for a little while. Try to get used to the sound, play the pattern without thinking too much and just listen to the notes, get the notes to sound full and similar, make sure no notes are jumping out when you change strings, they should all sound equal and full.

Once you feel familiar with the given scalepattern move on to another pattern of the same scale. Most likely this scale will be in a different position, again get use to playing the pattern, make it sound good, memorise it and play.

Making music and improvising is not about playing patterns, the patterns are there just as a guide, you use the suggested pattern to make your own phrases, melodies, riffs and licks. Once you will get used to the process you will start to love what these patterns can do for your playing.

         Been Playing Scales for a while?

Okay time to look what we have here. How good are you at playing the scale anywhere? Playing it from any give note, not just the Rootnote. Can you play the scale over one string?
When you are not sure what I mean here look at your scalespattern again as a tool of inspiration for technical excercises: Start playing the scale over one string and play patterns using three or four (or maybe just two) notes at a time. Try this approach for all your strings. Why? Because playing on your bassstrings feels very different compared to playing over the thinner, melody strings such as the G, B and E. Get good with all your strings and the whole fretboard, your playing will start to sound so much better, you will also become freer (your overal goal!) at playing anything at will.
If you have only played your scales in position the approach I mentioned above will make a change in your playing. Once you start with it you may feel you can no longer play what you used to play, perfectly normal, stick with it and carry on as soon you will be able to play what you used to do before and even more!

Good Luck and enjoy!