How To Learn Any Guitar Scale In 15 Minutes

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Published: 20th July 2012
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I know. The word ďscaleĒ makes you picture mind numbing drills and hours of uninteresting exercises. But Iím about to provide you with an effective way to master almost any new scale and also be prepared to work with it to improvise in as little as fifteen minutes. Regardless of how simple or difficult the scale.

Among the best aspects of playing the guitar is moveable positions. This means that one can learn a scale pattern in one position and be able to easily move to any key you would like by just switching the starting fret. Muscle memory and finger patterns become your best allies in figuring out a new scale.

Of course this doesn't mean you should not also be studying how the scale is constructed and what the specific music notes would be in each key. You need to learn that as well. Though that is phase 2. This quickstart system is merely to get the scale beneath your fingertips so that you can begin to use it. I am additionally presuming here that you've a guitar neck chart or some form of notation which indicates just what the notes for your new scale are.

This list of simple steps will allow you to understand the scale in a single position. To study different positions, simply redo these at the new position on the guitar's neck.

Here are the steps:

1. With your written notation to help keep an eye on where you are, play the full scale in both directions one time. Be conscious of the fingering pattern and shape in each and every guitar string and search for patterns. In my own brain, a natural minor scale looks like this: 1-3-4,1-3-4,1-3,(shift) 1-2-4, (shift) 1-2-4,1-3-4.

2. Play the lower two strings of the pattern, up and down ten times.

3. Repeat step two using each pair of two strings, ie. 4 and 5, 3 and 4, 2 and 3, 1 and 2. Make sure that you go both directions and hold your tempo slow and consistent.

4. After that, play the scale using sets of 3 strings, ie. 4-5-6,3-4-5, and so forth. Go down and up, and do each 10 times just like before.

5. At this point, you'll be prepared to perform the full scale in both directions fairly easily. Play it with your eyes shut a number of times merely to understand that you're able to trust your muscle memory. If it turns out youíre still having a few troubles with it, it is possible to play groups of four strings like in steps 3 and 4.

Now we have got a scale, though you donít yet have music. Performing a scale up and down wonít get you any platinum albums. So letís escape that up-and-down pattern.

6. Start from the root note of the scale on the 6th string. Play every other note (called 3rds). Play down and up in your scale in this way and do it 5 times. Then continue doing this step starting off on each and every note of the scale. Start at the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.

7 . Once more, starting out at the root on the sixth string, play skipping two notes between each note you play. This would be playing in 4ths. Repeat this five times. Just like step six, do that same pattern beginning from each and every note in your scale.

8. Begin from the root again and play this specific pattern: up two notes, down one note. Example: C-E-D-F-E-G, etc. As you descend, do the reverse: down two, up one. Repeat that five times.

Now it's easy play through the scale linearly as well as break things up into 3rds and 4ths. At this stage you can easily start doing some soloing using it.

9. Letís return to the concept of using two guitar strings at a time. Solo on every pair of strings, working on creating appealing rhythm ideas for between 30 seconds and one minute. If perhaps you have got a backing track or something like that to play with, now is the right time to get it out. Try to play 12-16 bars while you improvise with only two strings of your scale.

10. Repeat this with every pair of strings.

11. Redo that same idea, but using groups of three strings. Don't forget that everybody uses exactly the same notes. Therefore the real artistic music will come in finding cool rhythms for these notes.

At this point you should be completely confident with your new scale. To understand a further scale or yet another position of the same scale, just redo all these simple steps. Just like anything you learn on guitar, the important thing to continuing to keep it stuck in your memory is to use it continually. Employ your new scale every single chance you have for the following two weeks and you will ensure it is secured into your mental scale database.

If you don't always have a guitar handy to practice with, check out this great article on how to practice without a guitar.

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