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Guitar Scales

Ready for your first scale?
Proceed to the next lesson - Major Scale

On this chart you will start playing on the 6th string from left to right (2nd fret then 4th fret) then play the next string (1st fret then 2nd fret then 4th fret) and so on...

The numbers in the circles indicate which fingers need to be used when playing the scales (1 for index and 4 for pinkie). 

Root Notes

red notes indicate the root note of the scale.  This simply means the main note around which the scale is built.  For the A scale the root note would always be A, for the B scale B etc.  As you're going to learn different scales it's also important to try and memorize where the root notes are for every scale since this will greatly aid you at a later stage when you start to improvise with scales.  The scale above thus starts and ends on the root note.  This will not always be the case with different kind of scales.

The fret that your root note is played on determines what key your playing in.  So if you play this scale so that the first root note falls on the fifth fret you're playing the A major scale.

If this sounds too complicated (or if you're not sure which frets represent which notes) don't worry.  At this stage it's important to not be weighted down with technical information, but to actually learn and play the scales!

Like anything else on the guitar, scales can also be tabbed out.  Here's what a tab will look like for the chart above:

Moving From Scales to Soloing

For a more in depth look at the basic guitar scales, at least more in-depth than what I'll be presenting here, I recommend you check out what I've written on Craig Bassett's Guitar Scale Mastery.  This is one of those products that'll help you transition from being able to play lullaby's around the campfire, to soloing, riffing, improvising and rocking on stage.

Aimed at intermediate & advanced players who've mastered guitar basics (i.e. these lessons), this product will teach you a unique and powerful way to internalize scales, so as make your playing more natural and your soloing more spontaneous.

Read my guitar scale mastery review for a deeper look.
No Scales = No Solo

Want to solo on guitar?  Then you need to know scales!  The one leads to the other and there's not getting around it.  Forget what you've heard about scales being boring or repetitive, the truth is that Guitar Scales are one of the most basic guitar exercises that should become a part of your daily practice routine

Scales help us understand the fundamentals of music and whenever a musicians learns a new instrument of any kind, scales are always used to help train the ears, fingers and brain.

Why Guitar Scales?

The best and quickest way for new guitar players to develop individual finger strength is to play a couple of scales at different speeds each day.  Scales also help train your ears to recognise common note combinations. 

Scales will grow the strength and flexibility on the fingers of your fretting hand.  Scales will also help you develop a solid alternate picking technique in your strumming hand.  Finally, scales are especially helpful for developing good coordination between the two hands, which you will definitely need as your skill becomes more advanced.

How to read Scale Charts

Scale Charts are written from the same perspective as guitar tabs.  In the chart below, the bottom horizontal line represents the 6th (thickest) string and the top line the 1st string.  The vertical lines represent different frets.

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“If you don't scale the mountain, you can't view the plain” - Chinese Proverb
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Learn to Read Scales
Guitar Scale Mastery Review
This is actually the chart for the major scale and you can see a video of what it should look like on the next page.
What Scales should I know?

With this free guitar lesson I'm going to teach you the five primary guitar scales which will form the foundation of your picking technique.