I've been playing for 8 months. Most of my "practice" consists of trying to learn songs, and messing around with some open chords. I've gotten decent at the rhythm sections of several Metallica songs, and bits & peices of various other riffs. I have not yet delved into lead & solo playing.

I would like to start focusing on learning scales, one at a time. The only ones I know now are basic pentatonic & chromatic scales.

I usually go to chordbook.com and try practicing several different scales, which ends up doing me no good because I never remember any of them.

So, what would be ONE good scale to focus on for now?
Why only one?

I remember the first thing I really did continuously and repetitively was play the Major scale up and the down guitar, most often in G because it just started and stopped at convenient frets

It helped me memorize the notes pretty well, to be honest I still mess up and play odd sharp/flat notes if I run through it in unorthodox ways, but it was just a good comfortable way to learn how to visualize the notes in advance, which helps when learning new scales
Quote by steven seagull
The major scale

This, then the minor and blues.
Eack major key has a relative minor (a minor scale which sounds good with the major scale as it has the same key signature (sharps and flats)). For example, A minor is the relative minor of C major as they both support no sharps and flats.

Best of luck.
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Quote by steven seagull
The major scale
This. And don't just learn how to play it - learn it so you understand how its constructed.
Quote by zhilla
This. And don't just learn how to play it - learn it so you understand how its constructed.

+1 - If you learn the major scale, not only the patterns, but also how to use it, it will make everything else you attempt to learn easier.
Thanks for the advice so far!

Quote by voodoochild23
Why only one?

Just one at a time. Because I know if I try learning several at once, I wont learn any of them.
Quote by steven seagull
The major scale

this and only this.

EDIT: i see this has been covered.

Learning the major scale goes so much further than just scales.
Lots of good learning there.
Last edited by epic7734 at Aug 14, 2009,
how can you be sure that you learn(ed) the major scale?

and TS, try to learn simple solo's like invader by judas priest
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You know you've learnt the scale properly when you can construct an improvised melody in key beginning at any fret of the guitar

Not just a melody which goes nowhere and bends notes to make it sound bluesy, but melodies where you are paying attention to the main focal points within it, the key notes, the intervals, making sure it is all based somehow or other upon a specific chord progression... that's the kinda thing you wanna be able to do, when you know your major scale properly.
make your own scales!
chose a root note,and a number of notes you want to have.
just experiment,of course the end result would be some known scale,
but the difference is that YOU came up with that,meaning your own taste got to that scale,
not just playing something someone told you to.
I'd suggest you to learn the pentatonic minor and major, first. Start with a basic position and jam on a blues/rock jam track with easy chords. You are not going to do anything if you just play the scale up and down, you have to use it!
Learn the major and minor scales (which are relatives, but you'll figure that by you're own). Jam, jam and jam.
This process can lead you to memorize the scales remembering the structure (the form) it makes on the fretboard. This is good but bad at the same time. The ideal is that you memorize the scales by knowing the notes and locating instantly those notes on the fretboard, but that takes time, I can't event do it.
I really don't like licks. I think that every guitarist is unique, and his/her sound has to be unique, and when you use licks, i think it's not very original and, personally, I get bored listenin to a lick-based solo. That's why I don't like to learn scales by learning solos of several songs.
Again, what you should do its to jam with scales, to make experiments, you can figure out that going out the scale sometimes has an interesting sound, but be careful with it, you have to know when and why use that.
Probably you don't underestand the 100% of my message, because English is not my mother language. :/.
I hope you find this useful.
Quote by steven seagull
The major scale


It just makes sense seeing as all the theory and other scales you learn are based off of it.
^Note: Probably sarcastic
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Definately the major scale, as Steven Seagull/Mark (and others) said. You get so much mileage out of learning that one scale. Learn the major scale, and you get the relative minor and all the modes for free. Leave out a couple of notes and you get the major and minor pentatonic. Sharp one note and you get the harmonic minor and it's family of modes like the phrygian dominant.