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The Beginner's Guide to Guitar Scales

Article by Belle, for CleverJoe.com.
Belle writes for guitar site SherwoodMusic.org, where you can read her latest posts on using a guitar chord finder and learning how to play bass guitar.

A guide to guitar scales for beginner guitar players.

Guitar scales are just like any other types of scales - even if they're written for other musical instruments - in the sense that they're always composed of notes grouped together in an ascending or descending arrangement. There are also various types of guitar scales - minors, majors, etc. - and each type has its own characteristics and note patterns.

How to Learn Guitar Scales Quick and Easy

The idea of learning, much less mastering, numerous guitar scales is rather overwhelming, but rest assured that it can be done and you will be able to do so if you apply a little patience and effort. That's all you need. You don't have to be a musical virtuoso. You just have to be passionate about learning and playing the guitar and everything else will fall into place.

Play and Play and Play

That's the best way to memorize guitar scales. When you play the scales often enough, your muscles will do the memorizing for you even though your brain isn't actively focused on recalling and committing them to memory. One day, you'll be surprised at how your fingers seem to move on their own whenever you try to call a particular guitar scale to mind.

Learn One Scale at a Time

You'll find it easier to learn all guitar scales when you pour all your effort and time into learning one scale at a time. That way, when you move on to the next scale, you won't have to worry so much about forgetting the previous scale. You won't. You will have played it long that it will always be in your mind as long as you play it even just sporadically afterwards.

Learn One String at a Time

Similarly, you don't need to push yourself too hard on learning to master the scale on multiple strings. There's no rush. Just learn at your own pace and the results will be a lot better.

Sing the Scale

Singing while playing a particular guitar scale helps you identify the varying notes it's made of and distinguish it from other scales. That way, you'll have an easier time knowing when you played the wrong note and identifying a scale that's being played. Also, it doesn't hurt to hone your vocal chords if you're known to be, well, a bit tone deaf.

Test Yourself

You can do so on your own or you can ask a friend to help you out. A test - even one that has no incentives behind it - will still motivate you to practice and play better. It's also an accurate way to determine if you're making progress.

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CleverJoe Guitar Scale Reference Top Picks:

Hal Leonard All Scales in All Positions for Guitar (Book)

Hal Leonard All Scales in All Positions for Guitar
This book gives guitarists the tools to really understand scales, and to create any type of scale in any position. All Scales in All Positions for Guitar covers: major and minor scales; pentatonic and blues scales; the modes; harmonic minor, melodic minor, whole tone, diminished, chromatic and harp scales; the relationships between scales and chords; and a unique approach to visualizing patterns that will allow players to learn scales more quickly than they ever thought possible. Includes standard notation and guitar tablature.



MJS Easy Guitar Scales DVD
Scales are the foundation of music and can be found in every known culture. With all styles of modern music, scales are the heartbeat, breath and soul of the guitar solo, the guitar riff and even the vocal melody. This video course includes every guitar scale you've ever wanted to learn-presented in a simple root-to -octave format, starting with basic scales, such as major, minor, pentatonic and blues. There are over 50 scales for you to use right away to spice up your guitar playing, each with an on-screen demonstration at both a slow and fast tempo. CleverJoe Top Pick.

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