Descending Diagonal Scales

Question by Jim Wolverton

I am pretty comfortable with ascending diagonal scales now, but what about descending? Seems a bit more awkward and easier to lose your way, any tips?



This is a nice question about the diagoal playing aspect of playing the guitar.

I think the general tendency for guitarists is to “fumble over their index” when they go down the fretboard. I believe it comes partly from being used to ascending all the time and also from awkward fingerings for the descending portion.

So I have three suggestions :

1- Learn to shift with the index when coming down. Devise a different set of fingerings that work well for you in descending the diagonal scales / exercises.

2- Practice MORE the descending version for now! Say, ascend only once and descend the same exercise 3-4 times. You’ll get used to it fast then…

3- Try to master single-string and positions as the diagonal playing is simply a blend of both.

If you know your positions really well, you merely have to shift at the right moment to make a diagonal move… and your “shifting” skills will be greatly enhance by a deep knowledge of the fretboard from single-string playing.

I hope this helps,
Please ask more other questions
(or refine your current question) in the comments below.

Practice Well,
Marc-Andre Seguin


Old Comments for Descending Diagonal Scales

Mar 08, 2012
T thought dialognal scales are supposed to be easier
by: Eliott Minkovitch

The whole point of the diagonal scale is to benefit from repeating patterns, but – I find that it does not work well because of two things: a) on the B string, you have different pattern, and b) shifting over two frets in some cases, which takes away any remaining benefit of this technique.

So it’s just as hard as learning the different patterns in the “boxes”…

My 5 cents 🙂

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