Scales on the guitar are likened to different ingredients used in cooking, the more ingredients you have, the more diversity you can add to your menu. Same for guitar, if you merely know 2 scales, you are limited to just that – 2 scales. Scales are also used to reflect the mood of the music.

Minor is sad, major is usually joyful etc. Without getting too much into music theory, in general guitar scales are useful for four reasons:

1. Scales are a collection of notes that when taken collectively help form a certain feeling, mood, or texture. For instance, if you want to write a sad song, you wouldn’t pick out chords from the major scale, you’d select them from the minor scale. That’s one of the biggest benefits of grasping the concepts of scales (and in music theory in general), it helps give you a direction to commence from if you wish to create a particular mood or feeling.

2. Scales help you compose melodies in a certain key or over a certain chord. Melodies based on a certain scale will oftentimes imply the moods, feelings, and textures mentioned previously, but the gain is that if you’re trying to play a lead over a dominant 7th chord, it aids a lot to know which scales match up well with a dominant 7th chord – the mixolydian and major pentatonic, for example.

3. Guitar scales are the single most important technique to help develop individual finger strength and train your ears to recognize musical patterns.

Scales are also the primary founding for guitar soloing. If you know a scale like the minor pentatonic scale, you merely need to add minimum improvisation and it already sounds like 80% of guitar solos.

Here are the five base scales you will need to learn:

- Major

- Minor

- Major Pentatonic

- Minor Pentatonic

- Blues

From my experience, scales are great for speed building and have helped me to improvise and compose riffs and short solo’s on the spot.

Whether you want to learn guitar scales depends on what type of guitarist you desire to be. Do you want to write your own stuff or play with a band? Scales give you an idea of what notes should fit along with progressions. If you merely want to be a rhythm guitar player who just plays other peoples stuff then you might not want to bother with them.

If you know your scales, then when you perform with a bunch of musicians, and they tell you the song is a particular key, you’ll know which notes to play.

If you understand only the fundamental major and minor scales, you can understand how to make any type of chord, produce melodies, and harmony parts, as well as lead parts and solos, and NEVER hit a note that doesn’t sound right.

Most people that don’t learn scales will eventually learn these patterns on their own, but it usually takes longer, and they cant communicate their ideas as easily as someone who knows the names of all these things.

Scales are the whole basis of western musical harmony. Learning the scales will acclimatise you to most of the ins and outs of rock harmony. It would in all probability also be worth it to learn the other modes as well (major and minor are just ionian and aeolian).


Guitar Chords & Scales: An Easy Reference for Acoustic or Electric Guitar Guitar Chords & Scales: An Easy Reference for Acoustic or Electric Guitar

(Guitar Educational). This book for both acoustic and electric guitarists is designed to be a handy guide to the two most important components of playing: chords and scales. More than just a reference, it will also help you understand how chords and scales are created, named and used, and how they are related to each other. Includes over 1,400 chord diagrams; major, minor, pentatonic, blues and di...
Guitar All-in-One For Dummies Guitar All-in-One For Dummies

Your comprehensive, hands-on guide to playing guitarHave you always wanted to play the guitar? You can start today with these 8 minibooks. Covering both acoustic and electric guitar, this hands-on resource gives you all the instruction you need to play across multiple genres, whether you're a beginner or an experienced guitarist. You'll find plenty of tips for playing easier and more complex piece...

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