How to play Guitar Scales

Joe Satriani: “You’ve gotta know all the notes on your guitar, you’ve got to know all the scales (you really have to know all the scales), you have to know all the chords and make sure you do that stuff as much as possible”

How to play Guitar Scales

In this course, at the Creative Guitar School in Melbourne, you will learn the most basic vocabulary of music, the scales. We might say that the scales are like the letters of the alphabet. Scales are just groups of notes but they come to life in melodies, harmonies and songs. Let’s learn how to play guitar scales, these basic sounds of music on the guitar.

On the guitar we also have to be aware that we can play higher pitch notes in relation to the one we are playing in two manners: vertically and horizontally. Vertically, by moving downwards across the strings from low to high frequencies or horizontally along a string and or groups of strings moving from the neck towards the bridge.

I encourage the student to learn how to create melodies and use the scales in both manners. We will also develop the capability of seeing in our mind where an imagined pitch is on the instrument. That is you will be able to hear a melody, recognize the scale and then play that melody on the guitar.

When you hear solos by Frank Zappa, Steve Vai or Jimi Hendrix, you will hear them with a thorough understanding of scales. Once again, we will provide you with tools on how to play guitar scales that you will use in accordance to your creative output.

Specific course content

  • Constructing the major scale on the fingerboard. You will learn three fingerings on the 5th and 6th string in one and two octaves.
  • Major pentatonic scales. You will learn two fingerings of the major pentatonic starting the scale on the 5th and or 6th string.
  • Minor pentatonic scales and minor blues scales. You will learn two two fingerings of each scale starting the scale on the 5th and on the 6th string.
  •  You will learn how to improvise with the minor pentatonic scale.
  •  You will learn deriving from the major scale fingerings to play dorian and mixolydian scales.
  •  You will learn how to play guitar scales by moving horizontally and vertically across the fingerboard.
  •  You will learn how to play scales in intervals of thirds, fourths and sixths.
  •  You will learn all the modes of the major scale and how to derive them from fingerings previously learnt.
  •  You will learn how to construct the harmonic minor scale and relative fingerings for such on the guitar n one or two octaves starting the scale from the 6th and 5th strings.
  •  You will learn how to construct the melodic minor zcale and relative fingerings for such on the guitar in one or two octaves starting the scale from the 6th and 5th strings.
  •  Symmetric Scales. Whole tone scales and diminished scales.
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