4 Easy Guitar Scales for Absolute Beginners

easy guitar scales for beginners

Are you a beginner guitarist who is looking to start learning a scale or two?

Playing guitar scales is a great way to improve your guitar playing skills. Scales are the foundation of music and can be used in a variety of ways. They help you develop your technique and musicality. They can be used to create melodies, solos and chord progressions.

Start learning how to play guitar scales today!

What are Musical Scales?

A scale is a pattern of notes that can be played on the guitar and other musical instruments. It is a sequence of notes that are ascending or descending by pitch. Generally, you play scales when you want to solo or improvise over a particular chord progression. Furthermore, a musician should not overlook the core advantages of having a grasp on the theory behind it.

A scale is, in essence, one of the most important aspects of music theory that we should consider. They establish the groundwork and influence how chords or family chords are built. Without scales, we wouldn’t have the same music that we know and love today.

When it comes to learning a scale, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. By learning just a few basic scales, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better guitarist.

It’s easy to learn scales. You can do it, too!

Why Learn Guitar Scales?

There are many reasons why you should learn scales as a beginner guitarist. Firstly, it can help you develop your technique. They also improve your musicality and ear training. Secondly, it can be used to create melodies, solos and chord progressions.

Thirdly, it can help you understand the fretboard better. And lastly, scales are a great way to warm up before playing guitar.

Easy Beginner Scales: Major, Minor

Scales are a necessary part of learning guitar. They help with developing technique, speed, and strength. The major and minor scales are the most basic scales, each with seven notes. The eighth note is actually the tonic but an octave higher pitch or double the frequency of the original.

Major Scale

The major scale is the most basic of all scales and the most important scale in music. It’s a great place to start for beginners.

It is used in many genres of music, such as pop, rock, jazz, and classical. The major scale has a happy sound and is used in many famous songs.

To play a major scale, start on the root note. For example, if you’re playing a C major scale, you would start on the C note. From there, follow this pattern: whole step (two frets), whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step.

  • Major Scale Interval: W-W-H-W-W-W-H
  • C Major Scale: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

The most familiar sound of scale we learn in school is the major scale. Finding this scale in different keys is not difficult since all you have to do is sing the solfège: Do re mi fa sol la ti do.

Once you have the major scale down, you can start learning the minor scale.

Minor Scale

The minor scale is very similar to the major scale, except for one key difference. The minor scale has a flattened third note, which gives it a slightly sadder sound than the major scale.

To play a minor scale, start on the root note. If you’re playing a C minor scale, you would start on the C note. From there, follow this pattern: whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step.

  • Minor Scale Interval: W – H – W – W – H – W – W
  • Minor Scale Formula: 1, 2, ♭3, 4, 5, ♭6, ♭7
  • C minor scale: C – D – Eb – F – G – Ab – Bb

There are three minor scales, and the formula above is the most common, natural minor scale. The other two minor scales, harmonic and melodic minor, are variations of the natural minor scale.

Five-Note Scales: Major and Minor

The most popular scale is the seven-note scale, but the five-note or the pentatonic scale is the simplest to learn.

Pentatonic scale is another type of scale that’s popular in guitar playing. They’re great for beginners because they’re easy to learn and they sound good.

Pentatonic scale is five-note in major and minor scales that are used in a variety of genres, such as blues and rock.

Major Pentatonic Scale

To play a major pentatonic scale, start on the root note. For example, if you’re playing a C pentatonic scale, you would start on the C note. From there, follow the pattern below:

  • Major Pentatonic Scale Formula: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
  • C Major Pentatonic Scale: C-D-E-G-A

The above scale formula indicates that the fourth and seventh notes of the major scale are removed.

Minor Pentatonic Scale

Similarly, the minor pentatonic scale removes the second and sixth notes of the natural minor scale.

  • Minor Pentatonic Scale Formula: 1, ♭3, 4, 5, ♭7
  • C minor pentatonic scale: C – Eb – F – G – Bb

Playing Scales on Guitar: Scale Box Patterns

When you’re ready to start playing a scale on guitar, there are a few things you need to know. First, you need to learn the notes on the fretboard. Second, you need to learn how to play a scale in different positions.

Beginner guitarists are usually taught to play scales with box patterns. Simply put, a scale box pattern is a diagram that shows you where to place your fingers to play a scale within three to four frets. Playing the scale on all six strings generates two octaves of that scale.

To play the scale, begin by fingering the notes listed below on the low E string, which are in order from lowest to highest.

String NamesIIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIII
eFF#GG#ABbBC
BCC#DEbEFF#G
GG#ABbBCC#DEb
DEbEFF#GG#ABb
ABbBCC#DEbEF
EFF#GG#ABbBC

MAJOR SCALE | Key of A

  • A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#
String NameFret NumberNotes
e4, 5, 7G#, A, B
B5, 7E, F#
G4, 6, 7B, C#, D
D4, 6, 7F#, G#, A
A4, 5, 7C#, D, E
E4, 5, 7G#, A, B

Now, pluck each string one at a time in order from low to high. When you get to the high E string, start over again on the low E string. Keep plucking each string until you memorize the order of the notes. Then, try playing the scale faster.

Once you can play the major scale, you can begin learning the next scale.

MAJOR PENTATONIC SCALE | Key of A

  • A, B, C#, E, F#, A
String NameFret NumberNotes
e5, 7A, B
B5, 7E, F#
G4, 6B, C#
D4, 7F#, A
A4, 7C#, E
E5, 7A, B

MINOR SCALE | Key of A

  • A, B, C, D, E, F, G
String NameFret NumberNotes
e5, 7, 8A, B, C
B5, 6, 8E, F, G
G4, 5, 7B, C, D
D5, 7G, A
A5, 7, 8D, E, F
E5, 7, 8A, B, C

MINOR PENTATONIC SCALE | Key of A

  • A, C, D, E, G
String NameFret NumberNotes
e5, 8A, C
B5, 8E, G
G5, 7C, D
D5, 7G, A
A5, 7D, E
E5, 8A, C

After you’ve learned the scale box patterns for each scale type listed above, you may start practicing scales in various keys by playing different notes. Another option is to look for other scale patterns all across the fretboard.

Now that we know what scales are, and where to find them on the fretboard, let’s talk about how to practice scales.

How to Practice Guitar Scales

Now that you know how to play scales on guitar, it’s time to practice. The goal is to be able to play scales smoothly and evenly without thinking too much about where your fingers go. Here are some tips:

  • Start slowly at a comfortable tempo. As you get better, you can increase the speed.
  • Use a metronome to keep time. This will help you play evenly and not rush through the scales.
  • Play scales in both directions, ascending (from the root note to the highest note) and descending (from the highest note to the root note).
  • To play the scale, use a guitar pick.
  • Begin with downstrokes, but work your way up to alternate picking (up-down-up-down) as you become more comfortable.
  • Practicing scales every day would be better if you use it as a warm-up exercise before your guitar lesson.
  • Experiment with different dynamics (soft, medium, and loud) and articulations (legato, staccato, etc.).
  • Playing the scale with a backing track and forming note patterns within the scale pattern given.

Pick a Scale and Play it!

Scales are an essential part of learning guitar. They help you build technique, speed, and accuracy by practicing scales regularly.

Practice scales every day, even if it’s for just a few minutes. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at playing them.

If you want to take your guitar playing skills to the next level, then learning how to play scales is a must. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can start using these scales in your own music. You’ll be able to play solos and melodies that sound amazing. And best of all, it’s a lot of fun!

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