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Beginners Guitar Lessons, Scales - 4 Tips to Get the Most From Your Lead Playing

Mike P Hayes

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Learning guitar scales can be frustrating and confusing for the beginning guitarist. Often the student simply doesn't know where to start.

How important are scales?

It appears that learning and understanding scales is vital to becoming a better guitarist, how many scales should I learn and which scales should I learn first?

Good questions, the truth is scales re important, they're like our musical alphabet. The thing to keep in mind is that you only need to know a few scales, guitarists often become obsessed with practicing scales and over their real purpose which is to make music.

Here's a list to help you choose what scales to practice and eliminate the confusion.

Tip 1 - Select a style

With literally thousands of scales to learn the first thing to do is decide on which style of music you want to play. Certain scales are more applicable to particular types of music e. g. , the minor pentatonic scale works well for rock, blues, metal music. . . mainly songs with power chords.

The blues scale is used mainly for rock, blues, metal music while the major pentatonic scale is mostly used for country, pop, country rock . . . generally songs with open chords.

Of course, I'm generalizing here, you can use any scale you wish for any style of music, however some scales work better than others. The idea is to use the correct musical alphabet (scale) for the style of music you want to play.

Tip 2 - start on the keynote

Simply running up and down a scale won't produce any meaningful music no matter how fast you play them. It won't communicate anything to the listener.

The idea is to train our brain and fingers to make musical decisions, which note do you want to play next? Where is the note I'm hearing in my head is it higher or lower than the previous note?

To get this brain - fingers connection practice starting on the keynote of the scale and decide whether your next note is higher or lower than the keynote.

The keynote is the first note of the scale, e. g. , the keynote for the A minor pentatonic scale would be “A".

Tip 3 - record a background

Once you have decided on a scale to practice, record a background in the key you want to practice. The recording does not have to be elaborate, a simple acoustic guitar will work fine.

Record the backing track for 5 to 10 minutes duration, this will give you plenty of time to practice and try out your ideas.

A good idea is to try and play just one note (the keynote is an idea choice for this), practice all different types of rhythms, slides, bends etc. , to see how creative you can be.

Recording a backing track is very helpful as you will find that you react differently to certain chord textures, the same note will sound different when played against a variety of chords.

Tip 4 - learn all keys

Guitarists should practice their favorite scale(s) in all keys, this is especially important when working with singers.

Each key has it's own personality, certain keys have a warm feeling, while others are bright.

Try playing a “G" minor pentatonic scale over a recorded background in the key of “G", then, play a “B" minor pentatonic scale over a pre-recorded background in the key of “B".

Scales can “free your fingers and freeze your brain" the whole idea of scales is to help you play music. Think of music as a language, scales are our musical alphabet, knowing the alphabet is just the beginning, it's how we use the alphabet to communicate that's important.

These ideas will help you develop your own style and soon you will be transferring the music you are hearing in your head onto the guitar.

Mike Hayes develops systems and products to help you succeed in your guitar playing. Find out more about how to learn guitar fast with his popular free ecourse, available at: =>


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