a new way to practise scales

Welcome to a new Monday email with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including a sad email about struggling with barre chords, a new way to practise scales, and more. Here we go…


#1 – A new way to practise scales

People often find playing scales boring, so I want to tell you about a new way to practise scales. One of the most brain intensive music books I have ever read is The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick.

It is hard work but very interesting (not a beginner book though).

One thing he talked about in that book was how the Western and Eastern worlds treat scales.


In the West, the tendency is to play “box” scales, where you stay in one area of the fretboard and play the scale notes across a few strings.

In Eastern cultures though, they tend to stay on the same string and run up and down this string to play their scales.

It’s surprising how little people talk about playing scales up and down one string in the West.

There are some great possibilities to be had here.


Overall, I would say, neither way is better. Both have pros and cons, and both allow and encourage different melodies, techniques, and sounds.

That’s why I teach what I call the “Big Cycle” of scales, where you combine both in a practical way. (A new lesson on this is being released in the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy tomorrow).

It’s a fun, new way to practise scales that gives the best of both worlds and combines the best of the West and the East.


#2) How much Tupperware does one bloke need?

Tomorrow will be an exciting day.

Archie and I will be getting the keys to our new home.

It’s all very exciting.

For the past four years, we have rented a lovely, quirky apartment.

Now though, it’s time to move on.


Archie is 6 and growing, so having a nice big garden for him to play in will be great.

I’ll also have the 3rd bedroom as my studio/music/office space to do all my work and filming.

A big selling point of this house was all three bedrooms are big, so I can work comfortably there (just like I often say your practice environment should be a comfortable one).

There will probably be guitars in every room though still!


Four years of hard work have made this happen so as you can imagine I’m pretty excited.

The big move will happen Saturday, and yesterday Archie and I were sorting stuff and organising the kitchen drawers.

It took forever – I mean, how much Tupperware do one bloke and one child need? Ha-ha


#3 – A sad email

On a sad note, I got this email the other day:


“Hello Dan. I have been playing and basically learning/playing guitar for 40 years and I’m still at the beginner’s level. For the time I devoted, I’m discouraged with my guitar playing level/skills. I’m presently trying to learn fingerpicking to songs I would like to sing. This learning curve has identified how terrible my bar chords sound. Just can’t get it. I almost want to cry.”


Non-guitarists simply won’t understand an email like this, but 99% of you will feel his pain.

I certainly do, and it made me sad reading it.

At the same time, I’m hopeful for him too.

…Because I know that if this fella spends some time focusing, I mean really focusing on just doing a handful of things well, he can change all that.


…And he will start having fun, making progress, and being the guitarist he has no doubt wanted to be all those years.

All he has to do is choose a simple song that is technically not hard, practise it every day for a month or so, and make it sound darn beautiful.

He should also spend time working on the basics of his technique that allow him to play this song, his other songs, and everything he has ever learnt, better.


The key thing is to stop being distracted by the things that don’t matter.

…And only focus on the above essentials.

If you have struggled before, I urge you to do the same.

Make today a fresh start and forget all the distractions out there!


Have a great Monday!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. If you want help with the above, you may want to check out the new Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons, because I’ll be giving you a 3-step plan to make big progress in February. This plan works like so:

Step 1 – Learn my new arrangement of “Wayfaring Stranger” for 10-20 minutes per day.

Step 2 – Go through my step-by-step technique-building and good-habit-creating In Focus Course for 5-10 minutes a day.

Step 3 – Fill in any gaps in your playing (I’ll show you how to do this optional step, which is a good one when you have any spare or extra time).

I’ll be sending regular emails throughout the month too, to ensure you stick to this plan.


If you want to join, today is the last day and you can find out more below:

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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