We describe a new spectroscopic technique for measuring radial metallicity gradients out to large galactocentric radii. We use the DEep Imaging Multi-Object Spectrograph (DEIMOS) on the Keck telescope and the galaxy spectrum extraction technique of Proctor et al. We also make use of the metallicity sensitive near-infrared Calcium ii triplet (CaT) features together with single stellar population models to obtain metallicities. Our technique is applied as a pilot study to a sample of three relatively nearby (≤30 Mpc) intermediate-mass to massive early-type galaxies. Results are compared with previous literature inner region values and generally show good agreement. We also include a comparison with profiles from dissipational disc–disc major merger simulations. Based on our new extended metallicity gradients combined with other observational evidence and theoretical predictions, we discuss possible formation scenarios for the galaxies in our sample. The limitations of our new technique are also discussed.