How And Why To Practice Scales

Actually, you want to be touching the other strings a bit. Ideally you’d be using both your left and right hand to mute other strings. So your left hand fingers would be touching but not fretting adjacent strings, and the right hand taking care of other strings at times.

But don’t stress over that too much, especially the early stages.

1 Like

Oh I am not practicing muting as I am doing scales. I forget to, to be completely honest. Its just not cemented in my brain yet, as I clearly am trying to use fingertips only. I’ll write myself a sticky note to keep it in the back of my mind and even try to exercise muting a little bit as I practice. Thank you.

1 Like

Watch this video, answers your original question on fingering and goes through muting in a lot of detail.

1 Like

Stacy 2 things that are coming to mind - one is you need to push your wrist forward and put your thumba bit lower at the back of the neck as you would when playing strings at the bottom.

Second thing is if stretch is too much try starting higher up the neck so for instance same scale but starting on 5th, 7th or 8th fret. That way gap between frets is smaller and stretch is more manageable. When you are able to play it go back towards original starting fret position and try it out :wink:

1 Like

Scales. To pinky anchor or not?

I’m slowly learning more scales and trying to get faster and more accurate. I’m faster and more accurate when pinky anchoring, but I can’t help but think it might not be a good habit in the long run.

The alternative is not pinky anchoring - I guess still anchoring, with my forearm on the edge of the guitar body.


1 Like

Hey JK,

My 2 cents? Whatever feels best for you. You’ve already got some good technique sorted, you know what feels right, natural etc, so go with that.
I’ve generally played with an ‘open’ hand, with the pinky resting here and there on the fretboard. It sort of ‘bobs’ about. I cant see any physical advantage one way or the other. To be honest, I dont pay much attention to it anymore.
For me, have my fingers curled up would feel weird and unnatural, but for others it seems to work.

Cheers, Shane


Pinky anchoring while doing scales is something I personally would find odd, would you anchor while playing on high E and B strings too or only for higher ones? I guess if it works for you for now I would stick with it but I think while you get more proficient in playing quicker pinky will be on your way and eventually you’ll get rid of it. Anchoring against guitars body I am absolutely for it.


Hey @jkahn, I’m not an expert by any means, but I am trying to learn lead stuff and have thought about this issue a bit.

If by “anchor” you mean plant the pinky immovably on the guitar face, then I would say no. I do something similar to @sclay, I think, where my pinky rests lightly on the guitar face, but is free to move around as I move my picking hand.

One thing to consider is that you will eventually use your picking hand to mute all the strings lower (in pitch) than the one you are actually playing. That will involve shifting the picking hand position vertically as you pick notes on different strings. This would seem hard to do with a firmly anchored pinky.


Thanks for the thoughts @sclay @adi_mrok @jjw

I think I will try not to pinky anchor. I wouldn’t really describe what I was doing as occasional contact & bobbing. More like anchoring, but not so firm. Maybe a shifting anchor spot is the best way to describe it.

Yeah, I’m already doing that. Just stretching the hand while pinky anchoring :wink:

After playing around a bit yesterday and reading these comments, I think I’m going to go for not using the pinky at all. I can still do the scales, just slightly slower. I’d rather build that as a habit, I think.

1 Like