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Which Guitar Scales To Learn First?

So, you’ve mastered the chords. Your technique is becoming better. Then, one day you’ve been asked to a jam session with a few buddies. They begin playing in G and request that you improvise a solo. You should know a few guitar scales by now but don’t know where to begin or how to apply them. The song’s opening flies past, and you begin to think, “Is it hot in here?!” It’s your chance to play, your moment to shine. And… you wake up in a horror-movie-style fear.

Learning scales are typically outside the top of the priority list for many individuals who pick up the guitar for the first time. This is natural, and as a novice guitarist, you should first gain more fundamental foundation information. However, when you start studying scales as a guitarist, you know you’re becoming serious about your playing. Learning guitar scales is an excellent method to improve your technique and theory. Scales may also be useful for writing music, improvising/jamming with others, and understanding how music is created.

Learning guitar scales takes time, just like everything else. However, it is critical to grasp the relevance of scales and how and when to utilize them. That being said, if you want to take your playing and understanding to the next level, you must master your scales as well as how to apply them creatively.

This article will cover various aspects of guitar scales, covering anything from what a guitar scale is to teaching you some of the most common beginner scales available. When everything else fails, every guitarist should have these scales ready. We’ll go through the steps in order of complexity, so keep reading to find out how you may master guitar scales and surprise people with your guitar talents.

What Are Guitar Scales?

You’ve probably heard the term “scales” at some point in your guitar career, but some musicians aren’t sure what they are.

Before learning guitar scales and how to play them, it’s vital first to understand what a guitar scale is. A scale is merely a method of arranging a certain combination of those 12 notes to produce a pleasing sound.

To put it another way, consider guitar chords to be words and scales to be the alphabet. Knowing the alphabet enables you to string letters together to form words. As a result, you have far more creative flexibility and range with which to operate. Similarly, knowing the scales in the guitar allows you to build on an established baseline or create something altogether new.

Guitar scales are structured sequences of notes played in ascending or descending order that aid in developing finger strength and agility. Practicing guitar scales also helps you get more comfortable with the notes on your fretboard, improves your musical ear, and serves as a foundation for developing melodies for your own creative tunes.

The Importance of Guitar Scale Learning

One of the most crucial things to understand before diving into guitar scales is why they are significant. Knowing this increases your appreciation for guitar scales. Even those who believe they do not need to study scales may rethink after understanding why they are essential if you want to improve in guitar.


First and foremost, studying guitar scales is excellent practice for improving finger agility. Running up and down each scale repeatedly will strengthen your finger muscles and allow them to move quickly as you progress. Being capable of moving your fingers quickly can aid you with chord changes, faster soloing, and so forth.


Scales play a significant part in how solos are created. Knowing your scales and how to employ them will help you to feel at ease soloing over any chord sequence in any key. Scales will also assist you in comprehending the solos you hear. Have you previously heard a solo and wondered, “how did they come up with that?” A good solo is a combination of originality and knowledge of the fundamentals of guitar theory. You’ll be able to solo up and down the fretboard far more easily after you know your scales and are comfortable with them.

Improved chord knowledge

Chords are built on the foundation of scales. A C major chord is made by taking the C major scale and picking the first note, missing the next, choosing the next, passing the next, and taking the next, as stated in the what is a guitar chord page. The C major chord is formed by these three notes from the C major scale. This procedure (in several versions) generates chords from scales.

Improved music writing ability

Knowing your scales can improve your writing skills since you’ll have a set of criteria for what sounds nice together and what doesn’t. Chord progressions may also be formed from scales, which can aid in songwriting. Scales, like soloing, may assist you in coming up with ideas for licks and riffs that will suit a song.

A greater appreciation for music in general

While knowing your scales will not make you a better guitarist, it will give you a broader respect for music. As you learn more about music theory, you’ll see that there is some structure to crafting a composition. The nice thing about music is that it does not necessarily have to follow a set framework. You could make something that shouldn’t “in principle” sound correct but sounds fantastic when played in a specific way. Remember, you should understand the rules before breaking them.

How Do You Play Common Guitar Scales?

1. E Minor Pentatonic Scale

In an open position, the E minor pentatonic scale is the starting point for soloing. Popular songs that use this scale include. Led Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times,” AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” and Link Wray’s “Rumble.”

The E minor pentatonic scale is composed of just five notes, as opposed to the conventional eight (octave) notes present in all major and minor scales. On the other hand, Pentatonic scales are truncated scales that follow a pattern, choosing five notes from the matching octave-based scale and omitting three of those eight notes.

Because it only has five notes, the E minor pentatonic is simple for beginners to master. Your fingers can move between only a few different frets and can reach too far. Even better, in the open position, those notes may be played over open strings as well as the second and third frets of your guitar. As a result, the E minor pentatonic is also famous among advanced guitarists for creating powerful yet lightning-fast solos.

What is Pentatonic Scale?

You’ve probably heard a pentatonic scale without realizing it! A pentatonic scale is a common five-note scale used for riffs, solos, and melodies. It is a popular guitar style in rock and blues music.

A pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that is composed of tones from its equivalent eight-note scale. This is not exceptional because all pentatonic scales include five notes rather than eight. Because there are fewer notes to know, these reduced scales are ideal for beginners. Furthermore, creating these scales allows young guitarists to use their newly acquired understanding of the notes that comprise each scale and how these notes sound when played together to good use.

Different pentatonic scales are created using distinct formulas. For example, if you wanted to create a major pentatonic scale, you would play the scale’s first, second, third, fifth, and sixth notes. A major pentatonic scale, like typical octave-based major scales, has a bright, upbeat tone. Similarly, to make a minor pentatonic scale, play the first, flattened third (b3), fourth, fifth, and flattened seventh (b7) notes of a scale. A minor pentatonic scale, like ordinary eight-note minor scales, has a deeper, more solemn tone.

2. A Minor Pentatonic Scale

It’s simple to master over two octaves in the fifth position for the A minor pentatonic scale and helps with fret-hand strength. When we refer to “octaves” in the context of pentatonic scales, we imply a group of five notes chosen from a conventional eight-note scale using an established formula.

The A minor pentatonic scale is stretched across two octaves in this rendition, for each five-note series note beginning. With “A” and the following series of five notes similarly beginning with “A,” but taken up one octave higher. You should be able to hear the same beginning point note but at a higher pitch. This can aid in the development of a novice guitarist’s musical ear.the ability to detect a note performed at either a higher or lower octave.

“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and “Hoodoo Bluesman” by Junior Wells are two popular songs that use the A minor pentatonic scale.

3. C Major Scale

Studying the C major scale would help you learn the key of C, and because it lacks sharps and flats, it’s an excellent starting point for musical creativity. To play it entirely on the B string, use a whole step / whole step/half step / whole step / whole step / whole step / whole step / whole step / whole step / whole step/half step formula. This approach allows you to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”!

While this is an excellent technique to learn the C major scale, it is more usually played in an open position over many strings to fret the notes.

As previously stated, the C major scale has no sharps or flats, making it simple to recall. Starting with a low C note, the C major scale has seven total notes – 8 if you consider the last note, which is the same as the first (or root) note. When you play the “C” note in this scale again, just after the 7th note, you’ll see that it’s an octave higher than the scale’s first note.

4. G Major Scale

Like the C major scale, the G major scale may be played on a single string using the two-whole step/half step / three-whole steps/half step formula. However, using all six strings to properly fret all of the notes is more typical.

Major scales, as opposed to pentatonic scales, have all notes in the key. So, if you’re playing a G major scale, you’ll be playing all seven notes in the key of G. In contrast to the key of C, the key of G contains one sharp note you should be aware of. The G major scale has seven notes between a low G and a high G.

5. E Harmonic Minor

The E harmonic minor scale is frequently employed in classical, jazz, and metal music to spice up solos. To learn the E harmonic minor scale, go from the open position to the 2nd fret (whole step), second to 3rd fret (half step), 3rd to 5th fret (whole step), 5th to 7th fret (whole step), 7th to 8th fret (half step), 8th to 11th fret (minor third), and 11th to 12th fret (whole step) (half step). However, playing the E harmonic minor scale on all six strings will be more convenient.

The E harmonic minor scale notes are the same as those in the G major scale. The only distinction is that you begin and conclude with a different tone. If you can play the G major scale on the guitar. Learning the notes in the E harmonic minor will be a piece of cake. The E harmonic minor scale has seven notes ranging from low E to high E.

Final Thoughts

These scales are merely the starting point for your improvisation adventure. Scale forms can be difficult to remember at first, and utilizing scales in real-world situations can be intimidating. Stick with and learn them in the above sequence to optimize your effort and understand the forms’ relationships.

The thrill of maneuvering the guitar with freedom. Confidence can only be obtained by diligent practice of these and more difficult scales. Always search for parallels and contrasts between the scales you already know, and build one on top of the other.

If you want to learn and master guitar scales, you can use the Deplike Learning App. The Deplike Learning App offers a diverse library of guitar learning. You can find out how to play your favorite songs you want to play. Which guitar skills you need to learn by following the Deplike Learning App and the Deplike Blog!


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