Scales Made Easy

author: Unregistered date: 04/30/2004 category: scales
rating: 9 / votes: 121 
So you know your basic chords? D, G, E, A, B, F? And you can play them cleanly and switch between them to sound half way decent. So now, you want to advance your skills and solos. Well before you can solo, you must practice scales. Every great guitarist practiced, still practices, and will practice scales. What Is A Scale? Well a scale is basiclly playing a bunch of notes from low to high or high to low in a good sounding order. There are a lot of notes out there, so scales teach us to play them in the right order. If you think about it, in the first 15 frets, there are about 96 different notes you can play (16x6 strings +1 for open). So lets look at how scales are tabed.
E|-O-|---|---|-O-|
B|-O-|---|---|-O-|
G|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|-O-|---|---|-O-|
What the hell does that mean? Well its quite simple. First you must realize that this is different from regular guitar tabs. First, like regular tabs, each string is labeled. But instead of numbers to tell you what fret to play, the frets are already drawn out. So:
 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |  -(frets 1-4 labeled)
E|-O-|---|---|-O-|
B|-O-|---|---|-O-|
G|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|-O-|---|---|-O-|
The row of the 1 is fret 1, the row of the 2 is fret 2 and so on. Scale tabs can also be slid down the fret board, so the 1 could actually be the 5th fret, then the 2 would be the 6th fret and so on. This is why we don't label the fret numbers, because it could start and end anywhere. So how do you play this? Well first lets look at the same scale in regular tab form starting on the 5th fret:
E|-5--8--------------------------------
B|-------5--8--------------------------
G|-------------5--7--------------------
D|-------------------5--7--------------
A|-------------------------5--7--------
E|-------------------------------5--8--
Another look at it in scale tab form:
E|-5-|---|---|-8-|
B|-5-|---|---|-8-|
G|-5-|---|-7-|---|
D|-5-|---|-7-|---|
A|-5-|---|-7-|---|
E|-5-|---|---|-8-|
But remember, the scale is slideable. So this is also true:
E|-3--6--------------------------------
B|-------3--6--------------------------
G|-------------3--5--------------------
D|-------------------3--5--------------
A|-------------------------3--5--------
E|-------------------------------3--6--
There are many more places to start. Here is a diagram of the order the notes are played in:
E|-1-|---|---|-2-|
B|-3-|---|---|-4-|
G|-5-|---|-6-|---|
D|-7-|---|-8-|---|
A|-9-|---|-10|---|
E|-11|---|---|-12|
You can also play it backwards to go from low to high:
E|-12|---|---|-11|
B|-10|---|---|-9-|
G|-8-|---|-7-|---|
D|-6-|---|-5-|---|
A|-4-|---|-3-|---|
E|-2-|---|---|-1-|
In tab form starting on the 5th fret:
E|-------------------------------8--5--
B|-------------------------8--5--------
G|-------------------7--5--------------
D|-------------7--5--------------------
A|-------7--5--------------------------
E|-8--5--------------------------------
You'll notice when your playing this basic scale that your fingers just walk up and down the fret board in a back and forth motion. And not only will you start to memmorize it, but you will also be able to play it faster and faster. I hope this helps with starting and reading scales. I hope to post more scales to practice and go through other things later on.
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