Guitar scales are the foundation and basis for every guitar solo that has ever been played. You simply can’t escape the fact that the guitar scale IS the solo, as Joe Satriani once famously said.
I’ve often heard people say that you can learn to solo well without knowing any guitar scales, but that simply isn’t true. If the notes in your guitar solo come from the scale, then by default, it will help you to know what that scale is, right?
Okay, so now that we’ve established that guitar scales are important, how do we go about learning them, and which ones do we start with?
The first guitar scale to start with is the pentatonic minor scale. Of all the various guitar scales, the pentatonic minor is both the simplest to learn and the easiest to apply.
With the pentatonic scales, you’re only dealing with five notes, versus the seven that are found in a normal diatonic scale. Because the two notes most likely to conflict with other notes in that key have been removed, you can literally pick any note that you want in the pentatonic scale and solo over top of a progression (as long as you’re in the right key!).
So the pentatonic scale is bulletproof – as long as you’re in the right key, you can’t play a wrong note. That makes it an excellent place for beginners to get started.
Once you’ve learned that scale, you’re going to want to start moving into the diatonic scales, or alternatively taking the pentatonic minor into other positions on the fretboard. Either path will help open up the fretboard to you.
To get started mastering your guitar scales right now, I recommend joining my free guitar lessons email list. You can signup using the form on the left, and you’ll begin receiving free guitar lessons geared towards teaching you to solo.
In addition, you can pick one of the lessons below and start practicing your guitar scales right away!