new to the guitar, and new to music, you are probably not even
quite sure exactly what a scale actually is, which certainly adds
to the aura of mystery that begins to surround the subject.
Learning and practicing scales can become an obsession for many
guitarists. Scales can "free your fingers and freeze your brain",
if you're not careful. Always keep in mind that scales are part
of the preparation work we do so we will be free to express
Scales are to the musician what skipping a rope is to a boxer,
it's part of the preparation work. Scales are simply a means to
an end. What guitar scales should you study depends on the type
of music you want to play. It's far better to master a small
number of scales and be able to apply these scales to many
The first thing to understand is that there are hundreds of
scales, to give you an idea of what you're up against, here's a
short sample of some of the names of scales starting with the
Leading Whole Tone
Locrian Flat 4
Locrian natural 2
Locrian Natural 2nd
Locrian Sharp 2nd
Lydian Diminished 1
Lydian Diminished 2
Lydian dominant scale4
Lydian Sharp 2nd
Keep in mind, this is only a sample from a very long list of
scales. Each one of these scales can be played in 12 different
keys as guitarists we have the added issue of multiple fingering
options on the guitar fretboard. What guitar scales should we
study is a very important question, to be honest five minutes
thought deciding what to practice is much better than five hours
of haphazard practice.
Scales are the building blocks from which all music is created. we use
scales to create melodies (horizontal structures), chords (vertical structures),
arpeggios (oblique structures).
Scales in themselves are not music they are simply our musical
alphabet. In the hands of a skilled musician they can create
Three things to consider when learning scales:
(a) there's the intellectual aspect, data memory information
i.e., the names of the notes and their scale step numbers.
(b) applying this knowledge to the guitar, in order to do this
successfully we need to be able to identify all the notes on the
fingerboard by name, not simply by a fingering pattern.
(c) motor skill training i.e., speed is a byproduct of accuracy,
with the right amount of accurate repetitions, scales will be
stored in the brain as a reflex function, training very slowly to
Where to start:
The first scale guitar players should study would be the minor
pentatonic scale. the minor pentatonic scale is a five note
scale, (penta = five) found throughout the world.
Example of the minor pentatonic scale in the key of A would be:
A - C - D - E - G
The second scale guitar players should study would be the blues
scale. the blues scale is one of the most frequently used scales.
It is also important because it is the first real scale of
The blues scale is a six note scale, one way of thinking of this
scale would be to treat the blues scale as a minor pentatonic
scale with a flattened 5th.
Example of the Blues scale in the key of A would be:
A - C - D - Eb - E - G
The third scale guitar players should study would be the major
pentatonic scale. The major pentatonic scale is another five note
Example of the major pentatonic scale in the key of A would be:
A - B - C# - E - F#
It is thought that the pentatonic scales represent early stages
of musical development, because it is found, in different forms,
in most of the world's music. These two pentatonic scales
together with the blues scale are used to create riffs, licks and
solos on many popular recordings.