Guitar Scales

Whatever style you want to play, technique will come in handy.
And perhaps the most universally handy tool is guitar scales.
Not only will they improve your chops tremendously, but they
are a great way to find the right notes to play.

Think of guitar scales as a bridge between technique and
fretboard knowledgable. Within the realm of scales, it is
counterproductive to try to learn too many. Forget those
books that show you 100 different scales.

For starters, work with the pentatonic scale. This is a 5 note scale
and its the easiest scale to get started with to make some
sweet lead guitar sounds. Even when you become advanced,
you will still rely heavily on this basic scale.

It is important to be able to play through each scale pattern.
After that, learn sequences on each of the scales. Practice alternate picking.
Here are the 5 basic patterns of the pentatonic scale:
Pattern 1:

This is the “home base” pattern with the root of the scale
as the first note on the low E string. For example, in the key of A,
you would start this pattern on the fifth fret. The nice thing about
any pattern on the guitar that doesn’t use open strings, is that you
can change keys by moving it up or down on the fretboard without
changing the shape.

In case you’ve never seen these kinds of patterns before, the highest
string (the high E string) is first, then B, G, D, A, and low E strings:

Starting on the next note of the scale, pattern 2 would look like this:

Starting on the 3rd note of the scale gives you pattern 3:

Starting on the 4th note of the scale gives you pattern 4:

And finally, the last or 5th note of the scale gives you pattern 5:

These patterns are well known to experienced guitarists. Nothing new here, but how
well do you really know the patterns? Can you play all of them with no problem?

Next, you should practice diatonic scale. “Woah, hold on”,
you might be saying… What the heck is the diatonic

The well-known “major” scale is the diatonic scale.
However, the “minor” scale is really the same scale
but starting on a different note.
For example, the G major scale contains
the notes: G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#.

These are the same notes as in the
E minor scale: E, F#, G, A, B, C, and D.

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Wavatar christina

can you make a video showing the keys or chords so I can learn then ? I am9years old and want to learn to play really bad. Thank you for your time

Wavatar Joe

Thanks for sharing your guitar exp i just started playing in church and i realy think that your skills are gonna take me to where i want to be playing,making music for GOD thanks for a great website God bless you.

Wavatar Phil

I assume the 2nd note of the scale is the 2nd note on the 6th string !

And that the 3rd note of the scale must be the 1st note on the 5th string !

But I can not figure out how you get the second pattern of the scale
from the 2nd,3rd, 4th, 5th notes of the scale .

IS There is something I’m missing, or is there something missing ?

regards confused !

Wavatar LisA

It is great

Wavatar shawndon

im a guitarist barley starting off. i love playing guitar and i would really love to learn it. if u have some videos that show all of the chords nd notes can u please send it to my email? sorry if this isnt the kind of comment u wanted. and just to let u know ur website has tought me alot.

Wavatar Alice Cunningham

Hi Claude,
I was practicing these scale patterns and found that the sounds
were not to my ears liking. I guess I wanted to hear scales. Did I have too many piano lessons ? Can you show me how they should sound ?
Thank You,

Wavatar Kenneth

I’m 60 and picked up the guitar after a 40 year hiatus… help!

Wavatar K Stewart

COOL! I thought “Diatonic” referred to Semi tones with the same note but different name ie: d sharp / e flat

Wavatar Tim Carroll

Want to learn all scales and their variations,mixalodian,Dorian etc.

Wavatar ron short

Claude, now this is very helpful to me. Playing on and off since 1967, I never learned to read music always played by ear. Now i’m learning to to read and play right. It’s like starting from the begining. Now I have to break old habits, strange. But you are performing a great lesson to many of us out here, and we are greatful for your time and knowledge you give us. Keep training us, love it Ron. disabled vet.

Wavatar jon

This is helpful. Very simple. I get the Penatonic patterns and the relationship between the major and minor scales.
Forget the Guitar God crap. I’d pay real money for a basic music theory course that incorporates the kind of clarity you have here.


old beginner/I WILL BE BACK

Wavatar Bishara

Hi MR. claude what you ‘re doing is not just to earn respect or likewise
but to earn your place in heaven so I personally thank you and on behalf
of those have been learning

Wavatar steve

I’ve been playing for ten years, really just needed some help with scales. Fortunately when look at these diagrams I know exactly what I’m looking at thanks.

Wavatar Debbie

Ok, I’m a complete beginner and have no idea
What these scales mean. Am I just stupid?

Wavatar Eddie Knox

No Debbie your not stupid. It is very easy to get over whelmed with the scales and the modes at first. But with practice you will begin to see how they all fall together. If you need help, just holler. Happy picking

Wavatar core

Thanks big time for the basic scales (pentatonic & diatonic) okay now I practice:)

Wavatar Shaun

Thanks so much for posting this scale guide. You really break it down, so it’s easy to understand. Now I have some scales to practice!

Wavatar Susan

this is great, thanks!

Wavatar Tia

Agree with Shaun, is easy to understand, and like Kenneth, picked up the guitar after a 40 year stop, I find this very informative, if only this was around years ago!

Wavatar jackie clemons

it would be awesome to have these five scales to download

Wavatar Andy

You’ve made it so simple, thanks.

Wavatar phil

Can you do the same for the Major scale.Show the 5 patterns Preferably in A major PLEASE !!!!

Wavatar Nadine

Hi Claude . Just stopping by to say Hi! Love your stufff 🙂

Wavatar bob lind

I’ve been playing rhythm guitar now for about 5 years.

Recently I have started studying scale patterns in the hope of eventually understanding how lead guitarists doo it. THEY DON”T SEEM
to be able to explain it.

Is the first pattern as shown in your mini-lesson a D Major scale?

I see 2 F# and C# in the range of the pattern.

If it isn’t the D Major scale, what is it?

It doesn’t sound right if I just play the red notes.

What am I missing here?

Wavatar Rob

I am hoping you get this e-mail. I’ve been trying to contact you for weeks. I am older and retired. I have been playing for going on 40 years, so the tabs is not really helping me. And learning the scales would be easier if I were just starting to play. Rob Tucker Cincinnati, Oh.