The sequence of scales to learn first on the electric guitar- 2021 guide

Knowing your electric guitar scales is going to benefit you in many ways, such as,

  • Understand the music & chords: everything about music will start making a lot more sense
  • Build finger strength: vital for playing an electric guitar
  • Improve your skills: know what you do and get better, improve & improvise
  • Start soloing and even writing your own songs in the long run: the dream of every musician

No matter how much you practice, won’t the songs and tunes you play sound the same as the originals? That could be because you haven’t practiced your scales right. 

Trust me, It’s not rocket science!

What is a scale?

Simply, a group of notes that create Melody. Notes and scales are the Theory of Music. Well, not every person who plays guitar will fancy learning the theory and techniques of music, but actual musicians put their foundation through the knowledge. Reading this content will make you realize that knowing your basic scales is not rocket science, instead, it’s simple, fun, and encouraging. 

Scales can be used to build chord progressions, write riffs & solos. But before we talk about scales in detail, you ought to know about the intervals.

Intervals

The gap between two notes. The distance between gaps is measured through terms such as; whole-tone/whole-step, half-step/semitone, and zero frets. A semitone or half-step is one fret interval. “The root note” is the starting note of an interval. 

Two types of intervals:

  • Melodic: playing the two notes one after the other (one note at a time)
  • Hamonic: play two notes at the same time

You may know the above already, but it is a great lead to get to the scales part.

Scales and Genres

No genre is specifically limited to the associated scales as scales don’t define music genres. But it’s great to have an idea about the common scales in certain genres. 

  • Rock – Major/minor pentatonic, major scale, natural minor scale, blues scale
  • Metal – Depends on the type of metal but commonly,
    • Chromatic scale
    • Minor pentatonic
    • Natural minor scale
  • Jazz – Depends on the type of Jazz played but commonly,
    • Mixolydian
    • Major scale
    • Bebop
    • Harmonic minor melodic minor
    • Whole tone scale
    • Chromatic scale
    • Diminished
  • Blues – Blues scale
  • Country – Major pentatonic, blues scale
  • Ska / Reggae – Major scale, natural minor scale
  • Easy listening – Major pentatonic, the major scale

What are Chords?

Chords are made by using different notes from the scale. They are in fact a collection of notes that belong to a scale. Chords make more of harmony as scales make melody.

What scale should I learn first?

As a beginner, we come across four of the most common beginner scales that are versatile and amongst the easiest scales to learn. 

  1. Pentatonic Scales
  2. The Blues Scale
  3. The Natural Minor Scale or the Aeolian Mode
  4. The Major Scale

Pentatonic Scales

The word “Pentatonic“ comes from Greek words, “pente” meaning five and “tonic” meaning tone. This has 5 notes per octave. Pentatonic scales are about the easiest scales to learn and very versatile. They come in two tonalities; Minor & Major.

Minor Pentatonic scale

Minor Pentatonic scale may also be considered a gapped blues scale and a great start for beginners. There are 5 Patterns to the Minor Pentatonic Scale. 

Pattern One:

Start with your first (index) finger on the sixth string, third fret. Play that note then put your fourth (pinky) finger on the sixth string, sixth fret and play that.

Once you have practiced the above enough times, now play it in reverse. 

This is a G minor pentatonic scale as the first note we play is a G. Strum a G minor chord, then play the notes of the G minor pentatonic scale. The both sounds should match.

Pattern Two:

Start by playing the sixth string, sixth fret. Play with your second finger as you’ll need to use your first finger in the fifth fret on other strings, and you want to keep that box shape. When you’ve reached the top of the scale, play it reverse. Remember by heart as you go. 

Pattern Three:

Place your middle finger on the sixth string, eighth fret and play through the pattern as noted. As you reach the second string, shift your hand up one fret. And as you play back down the scale, remember to change position again, moving your hand down one fret when you reach the third string.

Play the pattern reverse as well. 

Pattern Four:

The first finger on the sixth string, tenth fret. Continue throughout the rest of the pattern. Again, play this pattern reverse as well while memorizing. 

Pattern Five:

The second finger on the sixth string, thirteenth fret. Continue throughout with the rest of the pattern. Don’t forget to play it reverse as well.

Minor Pentatonic scale is the most basic scale you may master as a beginner. Quite easy, pretty simple, and very clear. As you grow confident with the minor pentatonic scales, you can then move on to the next scales in the following order;

  • Major Pentatonic Scale
  • Blues Scale
  • The Natural Minor Scale or the Aeolian Mode
  • The Major Scale

Lots and lots of practice is how you can get good at scales. As you memorize the 5 patterns of minor pentatonic scale you can already start exploring ways how you can use them in your music. 

You may also easily sign-up to a guitar learning website to get proper guidance and a flexible, personalized training plan, and track your progress on the way all for an extremely affordable price. 

It’s never more exciting than learning more about what you love and master it along the way. The knowledge definitely comes in handy when you show your electric guitar moves on a stage or in between a crowd. More techniques in your performance will always keep the spotlight focused on you. Don’t forget that you should know the rules before you start breaking them!

Further Reading

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