ArtistWorks Blog

Paul Gilbert's Guitar Scale Exercise

"The world would be such a better place if people practiced their scales like this!" - Paul Gilbert

Aside from being a world famous rock star, Paul's been teaching guitar for a long time and knows what works and what doesn't. What he's referring to here of course is that muted down/up stroke between notes, what he likes to call the CHICKA (pronounced just as it sounds… say it with me now: "Chick-Ah"). 

Most guitarists have heard about the Pentatonic Scale and how important it is in Rock music.  Well this exercise is even MORE important because it's something you can actually use in a song. And, it's a lot more fun to practice your scales this way. 

Most students practice their guitar scales straight forward, note by note, striving for speed rather than style. This kind of playing leads to a dead end, at least in Rock and Roll.  If you wanna ROCK, you need power behind your playing, and you need control for what strings you play.  Friends, you are in luck - because that's exactly what this guitar lesson will get you once you master… the Pentatonic Chicka!!!

Notice the vibrato Paul adds on certain notes, it gives it the sound a whole new dimension to this exercise. Paul is a huge advocate of vibrato (it's even the name of his new album!), and demonstrates his vibrato technique here.  The key for this is to connect the joint on your first finger to the bottom of the neck. Your finger connects to the note, and your wrist is what actually moves the note to create the vibrato. Your finger should stay locked in place while your wrist moves.Paul takes you through the first few notes of the pentatonic scale, stopping in between each note to add the Chicka. He gets more into the actual pentatonic scale later in another lesson, the emphasis here is getting comfortable adding the Chicka and making the notes sound good.

This is a really great exercise for not just practicing your scales, but it also keeps you in time as you can be tapping your foot and moving to the Chicka rhythm. As Paul says, "it's not just boring scales practice, it's music." Rock on.

rock guitar lessons

Paul Gilbert teaches rock guitar online at ArtistWorks, click below for more info and free sample lessons! 

Learn more about rock guitar lessons online at ArtistWorks

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