Hello, so ive recently started trying to learn more theory, and i have a question about scales, so scales are pretty much just a bundle of notes that sound well together, i know you learn them in there box shapes but what if you took them out of that, say playing the notes of a C major scale on 1 string, is this still a scale. If not what would that be called if anything?
As long as your playing C D E F G A B, its a c major scale, regardless of the shape you play it in.
Scales are scales, regardless of the shape you play them in. Your problem is, you are viewing them as shapes, not recognizing that all that matters is sounds in the scale.
Quote by Confound
Hello, so ive recently started trying to learn more theory, and i have a question about scales, so scales are pretty much just a bundle of notes that sound well together,

While on one one level, this is true, it's an oversimplification that can actually be damaging to your development if you approach it the wrong way.

This is because the notes DON'T all sound good together. There is dissonance even in the major scale.

A better way to think of it is that a scale is a collection of notes which each have a clear, distinct, functional relationship to the tonic. e.g., if your tonic is C, then F and E both have different, unique relationships to the note of C.

That may seem like an arcane distinction at this point, but trust me, it's not.

i know you learn them in there box shapes but what if you took them out of that, say playing the notes of a C major scale on 1 string, is this still a scale. If not what would that be called if anything?

Yes, it's still a scale. A scale is the collection of notes - if they're played on a horn, a single string, a piano, a harp, a guitar, you name it.
A scale is literally just a defined set of notes, listed in order of lowest to highest pitch. There doesn't have to be any rhyme or reason to them, and they don't have to sound good together (some sound completely bizarre when played by themselves).

Your basic scales are the major scales, the most basic of those being C major. It seems like you've managed to learn that much already, but it looks to me like you looked up the C major scale and haven't yet figured out how to apply it to the guitar.

Since you're looking for practical knowledge, you should be concerned with how to practice scales, rather than just what they are or what notes they're made of. I suggest first looking up the basic major scale pattern, and then "3 note per string" scales, but look up ONLY C major. Do not look up any others yet, because your most guaranteed method of learning them is to figure them out on your own.

The 3 note per string pattern is the most common and useful way to play scales because it hits every single note on from the scale that is on your guitar. Once you can play C major and know which notes are which, figure out what scales are closest to C and repeat the process (hint: F major and G major are closest to C). You will then learn all the scales simply by adding one sharp or flat at a time, and you'll do it without having to look up a bunch of stuff. The result will be a thorough knowledge of the fretboard and the basic tools to play songs in any key.

There is a lot of instructional material on this out there on the internet, but remember that for your own development as a guitarist, it's extremely important that you apply concepts to your instrument with your own effort and don't simply look up where to put your fingers.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 12, 2015,
^I'd learn how to play in position before moving on to 3nps, it'll improve your fretboard knowledge a little more, without being as overwhelming.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp