An Overview Of Guitar Scales

A scale is a series of musical notes, in a given order. Every scale is the same, regardless of the instrument which is used for playing music.

Why are scales important?

There is no way to play musical solos or fills if you at don’t know the basics of musical scales. This goes for guitar playing as well. Scales are to guitar playing what alphabet is to writing – the very basics. Without scales, you would be completely lost. It is important to note that there are many scales, but you are not required to know them all. The use of a given scale will vary, depending on the musical style, or genre you are in. Therefore, you can play really well without knowing every single scale out there. The greatest masters of the guitar are the greatest because they “specialized” in only one guitar style, which automatically means they are most comfortable within certain scales (not necessarily all of them).

How are scales different from one another?

The scales differ from one another in the number of notes within one, as well as in the exact “position” of the notes on the fretboard. That is why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your guitar, and make sure your fingers are comfortable around the fretboard, because you won’t be able to play unless you don’t hit the exact marks. The only way to produce a good, clear note is by plucking the string while your finger is on one fret, pressing the string.

How to start learning guitar scales?

You cannot learn the scales before you learn the basics of the guitar. This means that you should know the names of all six strings, before you can move on and start soloing( Utilizing Guitar Backing Tracks can help). The names and order of the strings differ, depending on the tuning, but here we will talk about the so-called standard tuning. In this tuning, the order of the strings is as follows (from top to bottom): E, A, D, G, B, and E. By knowing this, you will have less trouble finding your way through different scales. This is especially important when you’re playing a note without pressing a string, because you will know exactly which note you’re playing ate the moment.

How the play the notes?

As we mentioned, you have to bear in mind that one guitar fret equals one note. But there is another extremely important piece of information here: the difference between a whole note and a half-note, or a half-step, as some call it. In most cases, whole notes are two frets apart, and half-notes are only one fret apart (but there are a lot of exceptions to this). Many scales have a lot of half-notes embedded, and you have to know this or you will hit bum notes and play out of key.

What are the main types of guitar scales?

Major scales: Major scales have a pattern of notes that should be memorized for proper playing. The pattern is as follows: whole step, whole step, half-step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half-step. This means that we have semi-notes between the third and the fourth, as well as the sixth and the seventh tone in the scale, and they are the “neighboring” frets, so to speak.

Minor scales: There are a couple of minor scales in music theory, but the basic one is the natural minor scale, and its note sequence is as follows: whole step, half-step, whole step, whole, step, half-step, whole step, whole step. That means that the semi-notes are between the second and the third, as well as the fifth and the sixth note. (In the harmonic minor scale, everything is the same, but the second semi-note break is between the sixth and the seventh note).



What are the additional types of guitar scales?

The two aforementioned guitar scales belong to the so-called heptatonic group, which means they have seven notes within themselves. On the other hand, there is a group of very important and influential guitar scales, by the name of pentatonic, which means they have only five notes within themselves. The major pentatonic scale uses the first, second, third, fifth and sixth note from the major scale. The minor pentatonic scale uses the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh note from the major scale, but the third and the seventh are semi-notes! In jazz scales, there are many which are used, but they are a bit more complicated because jazz follows the “chord-scale” agreement, where the two work together and help each other, in a way. So it is a topic for a separate article, because it is too broad and intricate. Once you learn the basic scales for the guitar, you will be able to move on and delve into jazz scales.

Do I have to know every guitar scale by heart?

It depends, really. If you’re just getting started, it would be a good idea to memorize every note position for a given scale. After that, when you pick up speed and get comfortable within a scale, you won’t even have to think about note positions – they will come to you naturally.

How do I learn guitar scales quickly?

Practice. That’s all there is to it. If you put enough effort into it, you will master any guitar scale within a reasonable time frame, and you’ll be on your way to some nice soloing.

If you’re serious about learning guitar scales then I would highly recommend Guitar Scale Mastery. It’s breaks down step by step how to master scales and play the guitar. You can check it out below