4 easy steps when learning guitar scales

Posted by | Posted in | Posted on 3:14 AM


Learning guitar scales is an easy process to do especially when you follow these easy steps that i am going to teach you, make sure you follow them while learning guitar scales as i did when i learned scales.

1- Start by knowing the structure of the scale with the concept of whole and half steps, by knowing that, you can play any scale without even having to know about its intervals.

2- The second thing is to play the scale over all string, that means that you complete the scale after it reaches the octave note (play 2 octaves until the 6th string) following the same concept of the whole and half steps and playing 3 notes per string.

3- At this time you've played the scale and it took you about 2 minutes (how awesome is that!), the next think to do is trying to know the interval structure of the scale, knowing that will help you understand the theory and the application of this scale, does it have 3b or 6b...etc comparing to the major scale..

4- The last thing is to try to play the scale in every position on the neck by finding the root note all over the fretboard and start playing from there forward and backward.

If you apply these easy 4 steps when learning guitar scales, you'll be able to master any scale in a very short time.

Learning guitar scales: How modes look on the fretboard

Posted by | Posted in | Posted on 6:51 AM


You can play modes following the whole and half formula described on "Modes of the major scale lesson", but to make it easy on you, i am going to give how you can play modes on the fretboard.

I'm going to apply the G major scale (in the key of G) : G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G again.

These are the shapes of the modes on the fretboard:

Lets begin with the first mode (The major scale or the Ionian mode), we begin with the root note G


The second mode (Dorian mode), we begin with the second note A


The third mode (Phrygian mode), we begin the mode with the third note B


The fourth mode (Lydian mode), we begin with the fourth note C


The fifth mode (Mixolydian mode), we begin with the fifth note D


The sixth mode (Aeolian mode or natural minor scale), we begin with the sixth note E


The seventh and last mode (Locrian mode), we begin with the seventh and the last note of the G major scale F#


These are the shapes of all modes of the major scale, and you must learn them when learning guitar scales.

Learning guitar scales: Defining modes by intervals

Posted by | Posted in | Posted on 6:05 AM


Modes are just variations of the major scale, each notes of the major scale represents the root note of a mode, because of this; modes can be identified using intervals. So if we want to identify what mode is played, we can see the intervals in it or follow the concept whole and half step.

So lets go back to our seven modes:

Ionian (The same as the Major scale)

Dorian (The same as Aeolian but with a raised 6th)

Phrygian (The same as Aeolian but with a b2nd)

Lydian (The same as Ionian but with a #4th)

Mixolydian (The same as Ionian but with a b7th)

Aeolian (The same as the Natural Minor)

Locrian (The same as Phrygian but with a b5th)

Note: This is how are different modes related to each other but you can also set the major scale or the Ionian mode as your reference to all of them.

The major scale is the base in learning guitar scales because all other scales goes back to the major scale, even modes are simple variation of the major scale.

You're may be asking what's the use of modes when we know the major scale, well they have a lot of impact on the music theme, some of them look major and happy and some look minor and sad, some dissonant...etc, also they help you play your scale in every position on the fretboard in every given note.

Learning guitar scales: Modes of the major scale

Posted by | Posted in | Posted on 9:58 AM


I'm sure that many of you have heard the word "Modes" before. "Modes of the major scale" is the most popular subject discussed by new guitarists, and most beginner guitarists are afraid of it because they think it's a very hard subject to learn, believe me it's not true, modes are very easy to learn and very important in learning guitar scales.

Modes are simple variation of the major scale. We know that the major scale have seven "7" notes in it, each note of these is associated with a mode of the major scale (seven modes).

These modes of the major scale appear always in the same order and have different "interval" structure that makes each mode very unique.

Basically, a mode is when we pick a major scale in a given key and start to play from other notes then the root note, conserving the structure of the major scale (WH, WH, H, WH, WH, WH, H), where the first whole step is always between the first note and the 2nd of the major scale (i know that this seems a little complicated, but you will understand it well when you continue reading).

Let's take the example of the C Major scale:

C -wh- D -wh- E -h- F -wh- G -wh- A -wh- B -h- C again.

wh: whole step.
h: half step

If we begin our scale from the second note "D" and continue the same order of notes without changing the structure of the whole and half steps, we get:

D -wh- E -h- F -wh- G -wh- A -wh- B -h- C -wh- D again

If we bagin with E we get:

E -h- F -wh- G -wh- A -wh- B -h- C -wh- D -wh- E again

And so on........

The seven modes of the major scale that represent the seven notes of it are: (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian), to memorize this i will give you a simple phrase where every beginning letter of the words in it represents a mode, this phrase is "I DON'T PARTICULARLY LIKE MODES A LOT"

I : Ionian (1st mode).

DON'T: Dorain (2nd mode).

PARTICULARLY: Phrygian (3rd mode).

LIKE: Lydian (4th mode).

MODES: Mixolydian (5th mode).

A: Aeolian (6th mode).

LOT: Locrian (7th mode).

in the key of C we get:

Ionian            C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

Dorian               D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D

Phrygian                 E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E

Lydian                        F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F 

Mixolydian                     G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G   

Aeolian                              A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A

Locrian                                  B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B

The structure with the whole and half steps will be:

Ionian            wh-wh-h-wh-wh-wh-h-

Dorian                 wh-h-wh-wh-wh-h-wh

Phrygian                    h-wh-wh-wh-h-wh-wh

Lydian                           wh-wh-wh-h-whwh-h

Mixolydian                           wh-wh-h-wh-wh-h-wh

Aeolian                                      wh-h-wh-wh-h-wh-wh

Locrian                                            h-wh-wh-h-wh-wh-wh


1- The ionian mode is the same as the major scale because it represents the root note.

2- The aeolian mode is the same as the natural minor scale.

Learning guitar scales is a very accurate process, so make sure to learn scales gradually from the beginning, and when you master some level move to the next one.

Learning guitar scales: Intervals

Posted by | Posted in , | Posted on 5:05 AM


Intervals are the key to learning guitar scales "i can't insist enough". Learning intervals will let you really understand music theory and especially guitar scales. Intervals are a must and are the first thing you should learn after learning "the notes on the fretboard" and "whole and half steps".

An interval is the distance between 2 notes and they are measured from the lower note to the higher one. They could be described as "melodic" intervals if the notes sound successively OR "harmonic" if the two notes sound simultaneously.

Intervals could take a lot of shapes, so an interval could be described as: "Major", "Minor", "Perfect", "Diminished", "Augmented".

Lets take the major interval as a reference to other intervals (remember:the major scale is the standard to all other scales), we get these:

- A major interval lowered by a "half step", becomes a minor interval ==> A minor interval raised by one half step, becomes a major interval.

- A major interval lowered by 2 "half steps= whole step", becomes a diminished interval ==> A diminished interval raised by 2 half steps, becomes a major interval.

- A major interval raised by a "half step", becomes an augmented interval ==> An augmented interval lowered by one half step, becomes a major interval.

In the case of Perfect interval:

- A perfect interval lowered by a "half step", becomes a diminished interval.
- A perfect interval raised by a "half step", becomes an augmented interval

These are the basic shapes of intervals that will help you in learning guitar scales and naming scales and chords without even knowing them, you can try other combination your self and find out the resulting interval like for example a minor interval raised by two half steps, becomes an augmented interval...and so on.

Intervals are the basic concept in learning guitar scales, when you learn them properly you'll be able to name any scale and any chord just by knowing its intervals.

Learning guitar scales: The major scale

Posted by | Posted in | Posted on 8:31 AM


Most of the music theory is build around the concept of scales, and most of scales are build in reference to the "Major scale", it is the first scale that you should learn because it plays the role of a parameter or reference to all other scales, so it's the constant of the music theory.

To begin learning guitar scales you should have a general view on "the notes on the guitar's fretboard", and the concept of the "whole and half steps".

The major scale have 7 notes (Doe, Re, Me, Fa, Sol, La, Ti). The standard formula of building the major scale is measured by the concept of "whole and half steps", so every major scale played on every key on the fretboard has the same formula which is (WH, WH, H, WH, WH, Wh, H).  "WH" stands for a whole step (2 frets on the guitar's fretboard), "H" stands for a half step (1 fret on the guitar's fretboard).

So let's take the example of the key of C (we set C as the first note or the root of the scale), the major scale will appear like this (C D E F G A B and back to the root note C).

The notes on the fretboard will look like this:


So if we want our major scale to be in the key of G, (G A B C D E F# and back to the root note G).


And the same pattern applies to every key note on the fretboard (WH, WH, H, WH, WH, Wh, H).

1- In the previous examples, we've played the major scale using 3 string.
2- You can play it on the same string, but this is just for knowing the notes (you can't solo over one string...!!!).
3- We've used an average of 3 notes per string except the first string (we can play it 3 notes in the first string), and this is the best formula, because using this formula will make you a fast and accurate player.

The major scale is the major key in learning guitar scales, because every other scale goes back to the major scale, and this concept will help you a lot in constructing chords and writing songs.

Any questions, you're welcome.

Whole and Half steps in learning guitar scales

Posted by | Posted in , | Posted on 4:42 AM


One of the basics of learning guitar scales are whole steps (whole tone sometimes) and half steps (semitone).

A half step is equal to one fret; so if you want to move a half step up from A (the fifth fret of lower E in standard tuning) you'll get A# (the sixth fret).

A whole step is equal to two frets; so if you want to move a whole step up from A (the fifth fret of lower E in standard tuning) you'll get B (the seventh fret).

Whole and half steps are the major key in learning guitar scales, because the first thing to do when learning guitar scales is memorizing the whole steps and half steps to make it super easy for you to learn a scale.

Learn the notes on the fretboard

Posted by | Posted in , | Posted on 6:03 AM


Normally when people arrive at learning guitar scales, it's sure that they now the basic things like (notes on the fretboard, some chords...etc), but just to make sure, this is an introductory lesson on notes.

The western music is based on 12 notes "12 notes scale", with these 12 notes, we can play billions of combination, and that's what scales are all about (different combination of notes).These notes are in this order beginning from the note A.

A - A# - B - C - C# - D - D# - E - F - F# - G - G# ,and back to A.

You can see that B and E doesn't have sharps (#). "#" means higher in pitch by a semitone or half step."Flat" means lower in pitch by semitone ===> A# is the same as Bb (flat).

The standard tuning of the guitar (the six open strings) is E - A - D - G - B - E (you can use a guitar tuner to tune it). If you play the first open string or thickest, that's an E, if you hold the string down at the first fret it's an F, if you hold it at the second fret, it's an F#....and so on.You can go to Google image and type "guitar notes", you'll find a lot of charts describing guitar notes.

As you can see in guitar, if you reach the 12th fret, the 12th fret has the same note as the open string but 1 octave higher (12 successive notes).

Learning guitar notes is the first step in learning guitar scales process, so make sure that you master it in order to move to another step.

Why learning guitar scales is so important?

Posted by | Posted in | Posted on 6:08 AM


When it comes to learning guitar scales, most beginners skip that part, because they think it's very complicated to learn it, and that's exactly what makes them remain beginners. They know how to play guitar but not why the riffs sound like this.

As every learning process that you'll come across in your life, the most certain and required thing is "Practicing", that's what makes great people "great" in every field including music. and as someone said "creativity is not a thing you born with, it's a thing that you can learn".So what really makes the difference is practicing and practicing until you master it.

Not knowing about music theory will make you always a third degree musician, that's why learning guitar scales is a necessity to every musician who have passion about music. If you learn scales you'll almost master the music theory, and you'll be able to write your own songs and enjoy more and more others songs (because you'll understand it).

Learning guitar scales process is easy if you follow the right steps, but it takes a little time to master it, when you do, it will be an unconscious process and you'll not even think about it when you're playing, you'll just improvise and play.

The easy process of learning guitar scales

Posted by | Posted in | Posted on 4:33 AM


Most people (non musicians) think that writing music is just random, you know, picking some chords and notes randomly until they fit together...etc!!!, but when you enter the world of writing your own music, you'll discover that it's much like math, and scales are the basic of music, because when you learn them properly, you'll be able to read music tabs even without seeing them and that's what we all want!!!

Learning guitar scales is not an easy process to learn and it's not a hard process neither, because you have to be persistent to learn them, that's why it's hard for people who get bored easily, but if you "love" music as i do, the process of learning guitar scales will become a natural and easy process.

The first thing when you learn music scales in general is to memorize patterns (the shape of the scale in the neck of the guitar), to do that you should be familiar with half and whole steps (half step= one note, whole step= 2 notes).

All scales are based on intervals, so all you have to do is memorize the intervals on the scale like major scale for example (whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half), how easy is that!!!, and the funny thing about guitar is when you memorize a scale at one position, you'll be able to play it in every other position on the neck.

The second thing to do in learning guitar scales after memorizing the shape is to know the notes, the notes will help you a lot in constructing chords.

After that you have to know the position of notes in the scale (intervals), root, 2nd, 3rd, 5th...etc, that will help you in knowing your scales, majors, minors, diminished...etc.

The last thing is to play that scale in every position and note on the neck (first string, 2nd, 3rd...etc) , this will give you a flexibility in your playing and will allow you to solo over some specific chords.

When you master guitar scales, you can combine them or play different scales with every chord or do whatever you want with them.

If you follow these easy steps, you'll discover that learning guitar scales isn't hard as most people say.

Learning guitar scales

Posted by | Posted in | Posted on 5:34 AM


What makes great guitarists great, is not their techniques or fast playing as much as their beautiful music that is compatible with the lyrics and get loved very easily.The beautiful music sometimes has a story to tell even without the lyrics, these great guitarists have learned the music theory and applied it to their music.

Sometimes you see someone who plays guitar super fast or use a lot of techniques (harmonics, hammer ons, pull offs, alternative picking...etc), but unfortunately this guy doesn't know anything about scales or writing music at all, he just copies somebody's riffs and play them!!!don't get me wrong this is cool also but learning guitar scales will make you a better player and a better music writer, so when you listen to a song by a famous guitarist, you'll understand how it's made exactly,so scales are your way to begin composing your own music and understanding others music.

The process of learning guitar scales may seem a lot scary and confusing to a lot, because when they hear the word "music theory", they think that this is sort of space physics that is probably can't be learned without 8 hours of dedication each day.

Learning guitar scales is not easy and it takes sometime to master it, but it's very funny and easy to learn if you follow the right procedures, especially when you go gradually from the scratch.

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