How To Play Guitar Scales, Wiggle Your Fingers And Not Go Crazy!

This cool guitar lesson is an introduction on how to play guitar scales. How can scales be useful and how to practice them? When you are learning guitar there seem to be so many! Depending on your guitar playing goals, it also lays a foundation for an advanced guitar lesson on playing guitar scales. There are free printable guitar diagrams below for you to use. I recommend downloading them now! Also study the free guitar lesson video.

note: The advanced lessons are coming! The guitar scale downloads have the 7 forms I learned way back in my school days. The ROOT of the scale is in red and the rest of the notes are numbered and in black. I no longer stick within these forms when I play guitar, but they are a very good place to start from. With consistent practice and attention you too can advance on your quest for guitar fretboard mastery!

Free Printable Guitar Scale Downloads

Click here to read the guitar scale charts PDF in your browser, or right-click to download it.

Click here for the blank guitar neck diagrams to help you memorize the guitar scale shapes.

If you're just beginning to get more serious about playing electric guitar, learning how to play guitar scales is very useful to get your motor skills working efficiently. It will also help you hear certain details in music and you'll begin mapping your way around the guitar fretboard.

What if you're an intermediate player and want very much to take you guitar playing to the next level? Take a minute to think about your goals. Do you want to be able to shred? If so, shredding is by nature a more "mechanical" approach. Practicing guitar scales and patterns to a metronome is probably something you will need to spend some time doing.

If you want to play mind blowing cosmically charged melodic guitar solos that connect with the hearts of your listeners, it doesn't matter what style you play -- you will need to target the strong notes. I talk about this a lot! What are strong notes?

Strong Notes

Think about some of the most captivating guitar solos you've ever heard. For me it could be Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Slash, Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughan amongst many others. What is it that these guitar players have in common? They all target strong notes in their solos! In other words, they play through the changes. I go into more detail with this in the caged system free guitar lesson online.

For Now...

Follow the 5 steps below on how to play guitar scales. I also demonstrate everything in the online guitar lesson video. For this guitar lesson I use the C major scale. Just a random choice and easy if you play keyboards. If you aren't already familiar with alternate picking, I demonstrate it briefly in the video.

  • Step 1 Download the "how to play guitar scales" fretboard diagrams. It's a clear diagram of the C major scale shapes for guitar. See the download links at the top of this page.
  • Step 2 Learn ONE guitar scale form on your guitar in the key of C. Also draw it on the blank guitar neck. Shouldn't take more than 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this every day until you have it memorized. Maybe 3 or 4 days depending on what ability/experience level you are starting from.
  • Step 3 After completing Step 2, learn one more C major guitar scale form on your guitar. Draw it out. Review and practice the first scale form as well.
  • Step 4 Repeat this procedure until you have all the guitar scale forms for the key of C memorized.
  • Step 5 Try to play the various scale forms in other keys. Start with the key of G. Try the key of D and perhaps A. At this point I recommend going to the advanced how to play guitar scales lesson. It gets more into how to make MUSIC by using the guitar scales and modes as a rough guide. You don't want to get stuck playing scales up and down for the rest of your guitar playing life do you?

If you're feeling frustrated at with this, it IS pretty intense! You may need the guidance of a good private teacher. I am also always available for any questions you may have and will answer them as best I can. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Just learn one guitar scale form at a time. One per week would be going quickly. One per month would be great! It depends on your time.

Note: Please don't underestimate the importance of drawing the guitar scale shapes out for yourself. You will learn how to play guitar scales in 1/3 the time!

Also study the free guitar lesson video! It demonstrates everything on this page about how to play guitar scales. If you can, please comment on the video and share it :-)

That wraps it up for how to play guitar scales. As you can see, they're just shapes on the guitar fretboard…just like chords. They serve a purpose, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. Make music! I highly recommend my other free guitar lessons online that relate to this lesson. Look under Guitar Music Theory for great guitar lessons that will enhance how to play guitar scales! Thanks for tuning up!


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