When Learning Guitar Scales Which Ones Prove To Be The Most Useful?

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Learning guitar scales is an essential part of playing lead guitar and guitar improvisation.
Without them we don't have anything to hang our playing ideas on or structure our favourite licks and tricks.
But what are the best scales to learn to make the most of your playing? After all there are many to choose from e.
minor pentatonic, major scale, melodic minor, harmonic minor, diminished, dominant phrygian, super locrian diminished, Romanian minor...
the list goes on and on.
Rather than let all these possibilities overwhelm you let's focus on the most important ones.
The Minor Pentatonic This scale is an absolute must for any guitar player and also good for any style of music.
You're very likely already aware of this one but I can't emphasise enough how useful this scale is.
It doesn't matter how good you get as a player you will always be using this scale in one context or another.
The real beauty of this scale is its flexibility both musically and theoretically.
It will work in any style of music and although it's a minor scale it works over major or minor chords / keys.
As such, it means you can get to work on your improvisational skills straight away without having to bog yourself down with learning lots of theory.
The Blues Scale Again, an absolute must learn scale and structured the same as the minor pentatonic but with the addition of one more note.
It's called the blues scale but don't be drawn into the believe that it should only be used for blues music.
The 'blue' refers to the additional blue note (i.
the flat 5th), which creates a more dissonant sound to the scale.
It's intended as what's known as a 'passing tone' which is a note you wouldn't normally end a lick on but more play briefly on your way to another note.
Though it is actually good for blues it is brilliant for rock, metal and jazz due to the edgy sound that the 'blue' note produces.
The Major Pentatonic This is a bit of a secret weapon scale as not many players seem to be aware of it though they can already play it without realising.
The reason is that it is made up the same notes as the minor pentatonic scale but with a different root note.
It's not as flexible as the minor pentatonic so you'd be advised to use it over a major chord / key but it produces a different 'nicer' sound.
The way it works is like this - C major pentatonic has exactly the same notes as A minor pentatonic so you play all your licks in the same way but think of C as the root note rather than A.
One great example of this is Slash's lead line in Paradise City (Guns n Roses).
The song is orientated towards G major but notice how Slash is playing some bluesy licks based mainly around the scale of E minor pentatonic - the same notes as G major pentatonic.
Or check out Paul Kossoff's solo in All Right Now by Free.
The chords are based around A major but the licks are centred around F# minor pentatonic.
Major Scale / Natural minor One more scale I think would be worth pursuing is the major scale.
It has a similar relationship to the natural minor scale that I discussed earlier with the pentatonic scales i.
they have the same notes but with different roots.
The major scale is a happy sounding scale but the natural minor makes for a great straight ahead rock sound.
It's a bit like an elaborated version of the minor pentatonic.
Just one point to make about the major scale, and its relative minor, is that you would be well advised to learn the theory of the major scale if you want to get the most out it.
Within it are seven modes which will really open up your playing after you understand how to get to grips with them.
This is only intended to give you an overview of the best scales to concentrate in order to make the most of your playing.
They have been tried and tested by numerous great guitar players and some dedicated practice will ensure you are not wasting your valuable practice time with some flamboyant scales that you may not actually find very useful.
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