Best Exercise for Difficult Chord Progressions – Never ending Scale Exercise

We want to be free when we improvise over difficult chord progressions. This Flexible Scale exercise is a great way to start working on having an overview of the fretboard and the scales you need for difficult chord progresssions like Giant Steps, Moments Notice and Very Early.

The exercise helps you learn to think ahead, know where you are in the bar and play towards target notes. The goal is that your melodic idea is stronger than the movement of the chord progression.

List of content:

0:00 Intro — The Exercise for difficult progressions 

0:39 The Chord Progression for this lesson and where this works well 

1:05 The Turnaround: Cmaj7 A7alt Dm7 G7alt 

1:21 The Goals of doing this exercise 


1:42 The Scale exercise 

2:05 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar — scales in position 

2:20 Keep it open: Positions and different starting notes 

2:49 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar starting on the 5th — scales in position 

3:10 Positions vs Entire fretboard 

3:20 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar — Scales Entire Fretboard 

3:34 Don’t play too fast — stay ahead of what you are playing. 


3:55 The next level: Structures like arpeggios and triads through the scale 

4:21 Why it is still just a scale exercise and not a solo 

5:01 Demonstration: Diatonic Arpeggios in position 

5:29 Also on the entire fretboad 

5:38 Demonstration: Diatonic Spread Triads — Entire Fretboard 

5:57 The weird Loop in this example 

6:28 Why this turnaround is a good place to start 

6:44 Increase the tempo of the harmony: Two chords per bar 

6:59 Demonstration: 2 chords per bar — scales in position 

7:18 Avoiding the loop 


8:27 Exercises should be close to the songs/music we work on 

8:57 Do you have great exercises like this geared towards playing over a progression 

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