Become an Awesome Musician with The 96-Bar Drill

The 96 Bar Drill

Before we get into the 96 bar drill, let’s have a quick look first at a soloing method I blogged about in the past: single-string soloing.
You can review this here:
Rock Guitar Soloing Episode 1

The 96 bar drill, requires that you know the key signatures of the major scale in all keys pretty well and that you know your fretboard well.
If not, you want to spend some time first soloing over songs in the key of C major.
Do so on a daily basis till you have the locations of all the notes of the C major scale, memorized pretty well on every string.

When you feel pretty confident soloing in C on every string, move on to soloing over songs in the key of G (which has an F# note)
Then move on to the key of D, which has 2 sharps (F# and C#).
Keep moving through the circle of 5ths till you can solo in every key on every string.

Then… you are ready for the next exercise I wanted to cover today: 96 bar drill.

This is a great exercise.
I use Band In A Box software for this. You can learn more about the software here: Band In A Box
If you have Band In A Box already: shoot me an email and I’ll gladly email you the band in a box 96 bar drill exercise file I created.

If you don’t have the software: here’s access to mp3’s of the 96 bar drill at different tempi.

Get the 96-Bar Drill mp3’s Here!

The 96 Bar Drill Explained

The exercise is this:

  1. Do the single-string soloing exercise.
  2. In all 12 keys. It starts with C, the keys move up in circle of 4ths. (C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, F#, B, E, A, D, G)
  3. Each key lasts 8 bars. Every 8 bars, move to the next key (up a 4th).
  4. = 96 bars.

The 96 bars will repeat 5 times.
Play the whole 96 bar drill on every string (no 6th string. You already practiced the E string when you played on the E treble string.)
Don’t stop in between strings: keep going.

By the time the drill is done, you will have improvised in all 12 keys, on every string.

Do this drill at 120bpm.
If that is too fast, slow the mp3 down if you have the software to do so, or use the slower tempo mp3.

DO NOT stop the drill when you mess up a lot or can’t keep up: keep going, it will get easier over time.
This IS challenging. Challenge is good for you.

Do this drill EVERY day.
If you have a hard time concentrating for that long: do 2 strings one day, and 3 strings the next day.
(Or break it up and practice twice the same day, covering 2 strings in 1 practice session and 3 strings later in the day)

When you notice the exercise gets easier, make it more challenging: speed up the tempo to a higher bpm or use one of the faster tempo mp3s.
This will force you to have to think faster.


This is drill is above many things, an exercise in “quick thinking”.
The lesser time you need to think, the better you know your scales and the better you know your fretboard.
When you “know” (something), you no longer have to “think”.

You can also use this 96 bar drill for many other purposes.
Some examples:

  1. Practicing pentatonic scales all 12 keys
  2. Practicing all triad fingerings on every string set in all keys. (Play the inversions up and down each string set)
  3. Practicing pentatonic substitution ideas
  4. Triad pairs. (Triad substitution)
  5. Practice yours in position 7-note scale fingerings.

There’s a lot you can practice with those mp3 backing tracks covering all 12 keys.


Hit me up anytime at if you have any questions, or if you would like to book a lesson.

These free lessons are cool, but you will never experience the progress, joy, and results that my students experience in lessons when you’re learning by yourself from blogs and videos.

That is why people take lessons: way better results and progress, much more complete information, exposed to way more creative ideas than you can get from a blog or YouTube video.
There is only so much that self-study can accomplish.

If you want to see amazing results and progress in your guitar playing, buy your first lesson here and get started ASAP.

  • 1 Lesson = 75

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