Villa Lobos Etude 7 part 1

Villa-Lobos Etude 7 Micro Study 1a

Villa Lobos Etude 7 Micro Study 1a is a guitar lesson designed to help with playing fast scales, this case Etude 7 by Villa Lobos. These are part of the #villalobos12in12 challenge.

Villa Lobos – Scales in Etude 7

This is a break down lesson on how to practice those 2 octaves scales at the beginning of Villa-Lobos’ fantastic Etude No. 7. The main aim: chunking the various options in the RH and LH so that you work on coordination first; then practice speed bursts. Slowly at first, then at speed.

What speed?

Well that is up to you, push the scale (with a metronome) until it falls apart, then back off from that speed and work up to pushing past that wall.

The main goals are to practice the stroke -rest or free – mechanism and control, as well as string crossing, which is the biggest hurdle to achieving speed in scale runs. And most importantly coordination.


E major scale that lands on a flat 9th

Here are the scale notes simplified with a variety of fingering options, not the only ones, enough to get you started. Practice slowly until secure.

Villa Lobos Micro study 1 Notes

Mighty 5

Use these to solidify fingers and coordination

Skip rhythms first, these will work the coordination. Make sure you are planting the RH fingers.

Villa Lobos Micro study 1 Skip rhythms

Next up are the gallop rhythms, these work the combinations that the skip rhythms above don’t.

Villa Lobos Micro study 1 Gallup rhythms

After that are the straight triplet and semiquaver (16ths). There are two more scale rhythms in the video above, those are for another day. (If you can work up to these two easily then by all means go onwards!)

Villa Lobos Micro study 1 Straight rhythms

Speed Burst

Bursts of 5 & 9 notes to get relaxed and fast

Here is where the real work begins: “I feel a need, a need for speed!” (A Top Gun quote is very appropriate here, so strap in and work these short bursts across the E major scale shape and fretboard.)

Check out the end of the video above as I have done a “warts ‘n all” practice session. You can hear all the issues, from misfire notes to timing deficiency. The truth of the matter is, you are not practicing musicianship your are trying to push your speed. Suck up the ugly noises etc. and work on the RH being relaxed and fast!

KEY Strategy

2 strategies for scales

The break down exercise outlined above is two fold: first, work on the coordination; then work on the speed. Once secure, play the whole scale through a few times. Then go grab a cup of tea and get on Instagram – you’ve earned it!

Planting: make sure you are sequential planting the fingers as you play this exercise. The notes should have a staccato beat to them, you can hear that in the video above. This exercise is played in two ways: free stroke (like the video) and rest stroke. Aim for an even tone between the two.

The fingers can also be: m i, m a,  a i

Other Info

Note: This study uses the both hands, string crossing, and all fingers of the LH. So go slow if you haven’t learnt this scale fragment before


Relaxed Bursts

The evidence is clear, you want to get fast: short bursts of notes. That is it! They hard part is practicing them consistently for a sustained period of time. So you will also need a healthy does of patience!

And Remember: move the stroke from the big knuckles, not the joints and relax!

Want More?

Click the link below if you want to go back to the beginning of the scale series which will help with getting this musical extract up and running. I would suggest you do this before tackling Villa-Lobos Etude 7, as it will give you a deeper understanding of the mechanics involved!

Scale Prep 1 Lesson

Scale Prep 2 Lesson

Scale Prep 3 Lesson


Grab a free copy of the Villa-Lobos Micro Study below!

Villa-Lobos Study 7 Micro Study 1

#villalobos12in12! what is that?

I bet, like me, you want to play all 12 of Villa-Lobos’ awesome studies? Find it a little tough to get some of them started, or even finished? Want some help? #villalobos12in12 is a community led challenge that aspires to inspire and help get these fantastic pieces up and running. And it all starts here at CGRocks.

Check out this more detailed post on this – #VillaLobos12in12

If you want to be informed as to when this exciting new challenge begins join the CGRocks community below.



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Classical guitarist who strives to share a little #6stringinspiration.

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