Practising through the Cycle of Fifths

Guitar Practise

Have you ever been in the situation where you can play a lick absolutely fluently in one key, but the moment someone asked you to to transpose it to another, you falter?

If this happens a lot, then you’ve got to read this article.

Even though the guitar is an instrument that lends itself easily to the science of moving from one key to another, one still has to put things into practice! (i.e. – proper preparation prevents poor performance)

Let’s say you’ve got some sort of blues, jazz or metal/rock lick down in one key, but you want to perform it to perfection in all the keys. The best way to go about this, is simply to practise that lick throughout the cycle of fifths! Practising all your links throughout the cycle of fifths will make you a productive, proficient and successful guitarist.

The best method of doing this is simply to follow this diagram: (Start from C and move clocks wise all the way back to C! throughout the keys…)


Simply take your link/scale/arpeggio/chord and play them in the following sequence:

C – G – D – A – E – B – F# – C# – Ab – Eb – Bb – F – (Back to C!)

After you’ve completed the awesome cycle of fifths, you will know so much more about that particular lick and your knowledge of the guitar neck will expand greatly!

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Some practical exercises for you to do:

  • Warm up – 10 minutes
  • Memorise the cycle of the fifths
  • Practice all the positions of the pentatonic scale throughout the cycle of fifths
  • Practice your repertoire throughout the cycle
  • Play the cycle of fifths backwards to get/play the cycle of fourths
  • Memorise the cycle of fourths

Now, go and have an excellent time practising the cycle of 5ths and remember anytime you need a lesson or some tips and EXPERT advice, I’m available for guitar coaching via Skype or via my online correspondence guitar course!

Practice smart and practice a lot! – Questions? – email me:

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