Many people don’t like the idea of having to practice their scales on any instrument. There seems to be this idea that because the guitar is a pop music instrument that you don’t have to learn any real fundamentals like scales to be a good player. It’s no surprise because beginning music players, regardless of age, are like young children. They are immature to the disciplines involved and will do certain things that aren’t considered good manners simply because they aren’t aware of them yet. Learning scales means you learn to discriminate this note from that note. Just like chords, there are lots and lots of scales that you can learn. Each has a unique musical quality that has it’s own appeal. Whether people learn music formally or not, the tendency for most people is to play music that can clearly be identified as belonging to a scale. Many who are unaware of the purpose and functions of scales will make music within a scale because they are used to hearing scales from other people’s music. While there are many types of scales, the two main ones are Major and Minor. Most popular music can be analyzed as belonging to one of these two scales. With a little bit of ear training practice musicians and non-musicians can easily learn to distinguish major and minor scales from each other. “Frosty the Snowman” would be an example of a song written in a major key while “Oh Come Emmanuel” is an example of a song written in a minor key. Guitar players should practice scales as much as possible. Learning scales, if for no other reason, will improve your physical technique when playing songs. This will make your playing more pleasing to all the listeners even if it’s just your 2 ears. Learn one basic scale and practice it with a metronome for 5 minutes straight. 5 minutes never seems like much until you’re practicing scales! Getting slapped in the face for 5 minutes would also probably drag on too. Anyhow, it’s easy to be productive during your practice sessions with 5 minutes of scales. It’s a great warm up and will only improve chops. Major and minor scales are 7 note scales that repeat through several octaves on guitar. There are multiple positions to play each scale. Pentatonic scales are major and minor scales that leave out two of the notes and thus are only 5 note scales. Pentatonic scales are great for playing solos in Rock, Jazz, Blues, Country, Reggae, and other forms of music. “Everybody’s Guitar Scales” is a great guide to learning your scales with ease. It makes a great reference to playing scales is all positions.
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