7 Reasons Why You Should Learn and Master Guitar Scales

Whether you’re just getting started on guitar or have been playing for years, if you are like most people, your biggest problem on guitar is getting enough time to practice.

With your limited time you want to get as much enjoyment as you can out of your guitar practice sessions.  And of course, you want to improve your guitar playing as quickly as possible.

But let’s face it.  With limited time it’s not so easy.

You’ve heard that you should learn to play guitar scales, but let’s be honest…you would rather play your favourite guitar songs instead of playing boring old guitar scales.

So is it really worth investing some of your limited practice time into learning and mastering guitar scales?

Let me start by asking you this: “Why did you decide to learn to play guitar?”

Now I don’t have to be a mind reader to answer this. Pretty much everyone that decides to learn to play guitar does it because they want to play their favourite songs.  In my 20+ years of teaching I have yet to meet anyone that wanted to learn to play the guitar to only play scales and chords.

So if your main reason for learning to play guitar is to learn songs, then you’ll be interested in anything that makes it easier to learn songs and play them better.  And if you could learn songs faster that would be the icing on the cake.

Now here are 7 compelling reasons why you will probably want to start investing a bit of time into learning and mastering guitar scales…

1. When you play guitar songs, the riffs and licks actually come from scales.

That’s right.

When you play those single note lines in a song they are really just rearranged notes from guitar scales.  So if you already know how to play the scales that are used in the riffs, you will learn those parts of the song much faster.

2. When you know how to play the most common guitar scales, you will learn to play guitar solos faster.

A guitar solo is simply a guitar melody that is created from one or more guitar scales.  If you already know how to play the scales, all you have to do is learn the order that the notes are used.  This makes it much easier to learn guitar solos.  When you know the scales you already know half of the guitar solo!  You just need to learn the order that the notes are used in song.

3. Would you love to be able to pick up the guitar and jam with some friends?

Just imagine being able to create your own guitar solos and make it look easy.

How do you do it?

Guitar solos are built from scales.  If you know your scales and which chords go best with them, you can create cool guitar solos.

4. When you practice guitar scales you will improve your guitar technique.

There are many different ways to practice guitar scales─some more effective than others.  Generally though, the more varied your practice approach to scales, the better your technique will become.  And of course, as your technique improves you will begin to learn guitar songs faster and faster.

5. Learning guitar scales improves your overall understanding of music.

This is a biggie!  The more you learn about music, the faster you will learn new things in music.  So as you learn more about music you will be able to learn songs faster.  Also, as you learn more about music, you’ll have more tools to use for writing your own songs.  So you’ll find writing songs will be easier too.

6. As you learn guitar scales, you will learn arpeggios faster.

When you learn and master guitar scales, you will “see” arpeggio shapes within scale forms.  An arpeggio is simply the notes of a chord played one-by-one.  Often these notes are played in quick succession with sweep picking.  Arpeggios are used in guitar riffs and guitar solos.

7. When you master guitar scales, you will see chord shapes within scale fingerings.

This will make is easier to create guitar solos.  You will be able to see the actual chords that you can use the scale over.  Here is an example:

Below you will see an A minor chord.

Now here is an A minor scale.

Notice how the notes in the A minor chord are found in the A minor scale fingering.  This means you can use the A minor scale to create a guitar solo over top of the A minor chord.

The black notes in the above A minor scale form show the notes in an A minor barre chord.

Now I could go on.  There are actually many more reasons why it’s worth investing some of your practice time into guitar scales, but I won’t get into that here.

Even with these 7 great reasons to learn guitar scales, most guitar players still find learning scales to be about as exciting as watching the grass grow.

The main reason for this is that most guitarists learn scales by rote─they practice scales forwards and backwards over and over and over again.

Learning guitar scales this way is as hard as trying to drain a swimming pool with a soda straw!  You can do it, but who wants to take that long?

There is a better way to learn and master guitar scales.

You’ll learn how to do that in The World of Scales: A Compendium of Scales for the Modern Guitar Player.

In the World of Scales you will discover the most effective ways to quickly learn, master and understand guitar scales.  You’ll also learn some really fun ways to practice and apply guitar scales.   And of course, as you improve your scale mastery, you will learn songs faster and faster.  You can learn more about this proven method here: How to Learn and Master Guitar Scales.


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