Single String Practice Techniques

Welcome back! In this lesson I will be showing you some examples you can use to practice on one string. Single string practice is one of the best ways to memorize your scales on the neck and help you break out of the patterns you have been stuck in. This form of practice is one of the best ways to help you with visualizing the fretboard, which will improve your soloing drastically.

You can start off by taking the notes of a G major scale (G, A, B, C , D, E, F#) and playing only those notes on each string. Take your high E string for example, start off on the lowest note of the G scale on the high E string, which in this case is E, play up the neck in the G scale as high up the neck as you can and come back down. You don't have to always start with G; don't move on to the next string unless you have the notes memorized on each string. You will want to use a metronome for this exercise.

Example 1 Is a Bb major scale (Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A) played with a 3 note sequence on the E string. Reverse this pattern down the neck and continue this pattern on other strings as well - and make sure your left and right hands are in sync at all times. This will make you a cleaner player and it will improve your technique.

MP3 - Example 1

Example 2 is also a 3 note pattern like Example 1, but we are skipping the second note and starting on the last note of each 3 note pattern and going back one. So we are not playing the 3 note pattern off each note in order. Repeat this same pattern up the neck and then reverse it. This is a great practice technique for learning your scales all over the neck, it makes you think ahead. This one can be tricky at high speeds.

MP3 - Example 2

Now, Example 3 is based off a pedal point pattern used in classical music, which is also in the key of Bb. This one is great for your technique, play this one precisely on all strings and in different keys.

MP3 - Example 3

Example 4 uses the same pedal point idea in Example 3, but I applied the same concept we used in Example 2 - skipping a note. Be sure to do this same pattern on all strings and keys.

MP3 - Example 4


There are plenty of ideas you can make up with one string practice. I just gave you some to get you thinking this way. Apply these techniques to different keys and make up your own ideas. If you practice this way a lot, you will notice you will break out of those old patterns and advance your technique. Always know what notes you are playing, and use your imagination.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Be sure to check out my CDs on this amazing site and check out my new CD release, "The New". Also visit for more information.

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

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