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Note: This section is still under construction, and may be lacking content (or some inaccuracies); It may be better to check back at a later date. Thank you.


Scales are a way of building up the muscles in your fingers and also their flexibility. They also help you to construct solos and melodies. Below is a simple G Major scale, and will probably sound pretty familiar:

G Major Scale (Ascending):


This can also be played in reverse:

G Major Scale (Descending):


Once you can do both of these play it first ascending and followed straight after descending so as to make it into one scale, up and down.

When you play these scales use each of you fingers for a different fret so as to build them all up. In this case start with your middle finger as the scale stretches over four frets - one for each finger. Also try to play down - up strokes with your picking hand, i.e. play the first note with a down stroke, the second with an up, the third down, etc. This helps you to get maximum speed.

You can also transpose (change the key or pitch of) this scale by simply moving your hand further up (or down) the fret board, e.g.:

A Major Scale (Ascending):


So, as you can see, each respective note in the two scales are the same, only two frets apart. To find the key of the scale (with this and most scales) you simply take the first note that you play. If you are not sure of the notes on the fret board take a look at this diagram:

E [1]----F----|--F#/Gb--|----G----|--G#/Ab--|----A----|--A#/Bb--|----B----|----C----|--C#/Db--|----D----|--D#/Eb--|----E----|----F----|--
B [2]----C----|--C#/Db--|----D----|--D#/Eb--|----E----|----F----|--F#/Gb--|----G----|--G#/Ab--|----A----|--A#/Bb--|----B----|----C----|---
G [3]--G#/Ab--|----A----|--A#/Bb--|----B----|----C----|--C#/Db--|----D----|--D#/Eb--|----E----|----F----|--F#/Gb--|----G----|--G#/Ab--|----
D [4]--D#/Eb--|----E----|----F----|--F#/Gb--|----G----|--G#/Ab--|----A----|--A#/Bb--|----B----|----C----|--C#/Db--|----D----|--D#/Eb--|-
A [5]--A#/Bb--|----B----|----C----|--C#/Db--|----D----|--D#/Eb--|----E----|----F----|--F#/Gb--|----G----|--G#/Ab--|----A----|--A#/Bb--|--
E [6]----F----|--F#/Gb--|----G----|--G#/Ab--|----A----|--A#/Bb--|----B----|----C----|--C#/Db--|----D----|--D#/Eb--|----E----|----F----|---

So as you can see the first note you played in the G Scale was on the 6th string, and on the 3rd fret, which is a G. And in the A Scale was on the 6th string, and on the 5rd fret, which is an A. So the root notes and therefore the key of the scales were G and A respectively.

Ways To Practise Scales

Apart from just playing the scale up and down, one note after another you can backtrack on your self, to complicate the scale. For example using the G Major scale from above, we could do it like so:

[1]---------------------------------------------------------- etc.
[2]---------------------------------------------------------- etc.
[3]---------------------------------------------------------- etc.
[4]------------------------------------2-----2--4--2--4--5--- etc.
[5]--------2-----2--3--2--3---5--3--5-----5------------------ etc.
[6]--3--5-----5---------------------------------------------- etc.

We could also do this over longer backtracks than just one note, such as:

[1]--------------------------------------------------------------------------- etc.
[2]--------------------------------------------------------------------------- etc.
[3]--------------------------------------------------------------------------- etc.
[4]--------------------------------------------2---------2--4-----2--4--5----- etc.
[5]--------2--------2--3-----2--3--5--2--3--5-----3---5--------5-------------- etc.
[6]--3--5-----3--5--------5--------------------------------------------------- etc.

You can make the backtracks as long as you like, but it gets more complicated the longer they get! Try to make up other ways of complicating scales if you want more of a challenge. But scales are pretty boring so don't worry about them too much.

More Scale Patterns

G Pentatonic Scale (Ascending):


This scale can become a blues scale with the addition of another notes:

G Blues Scale (Ascending):


All tutorials and content written by Rick Bull unless otherwise stated
Page's last update: Friday, 15th January 2010; 12:52:24 GMT +0000
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