I’m sure there are many great players around who don’t know how to play a single scale, but in my experience scales can be pretty useful to know about. They serve as great exercises for developing technique and, more importantly, they offer a good way into single note playing and improvisation. In this lesson I look at 3 very common scales – C major, A minor, and E minor Pentatonic. Find the scales written out below (download here). I explain how to read guitar tab at the end of the lesson. The scales are simultaneously written out in traditional music notation, but you needn’t worry too much about that, just stick to the tab at this stage.
Practise the scales as written from low to high and back again. Once you can do that you could experiment with mixing up the order of the notes in the scale and coming up with your own melodies. I’ll talk in more detail about using scales as a starting point for improvisation and melody playing in another lesson.
I’ve deliberately not dealt with alternate (ie. down-up) picking in this course, just to keep things very simple. But it’s certainly something you could try, once you’re comfortable playing the scales with all downstrokes.