#1
I've been at guitar for 2 years and I can hold a rhythm well as well as learn a fair portion of songs I like......But I want to expand and begin breaking into leading and improv. I have the low E string and A strings memorized for power chords but I do not know the other strings THAT well. I've just now realized it would benefit me to begin learning scales so I've begun memorizing the A minor pentatonic scale positions....So here's my question--When you guys learn scales to you study everything about them right away (the names of the notes in the scale, their surrounding relations and patterns) or do you primarily just play the scales over and over until you get a sort of melodic feel for them--Or do you do both? And advice on this matter would be great, and honestly so would any relevant advice in general. Thanks guys. 
#2
The sounds a scale provides is the most important, along with the relationships between the scale members (chords, and scale tendency tones and strengths).
Any scale is a selection of intervals used to find the scfale pitches, once you've chosen your start note (tonic) for the scale.  Each interval has its own sound, and some of these, when heard against the tonic, set up different anticipations in the listener as to what's coming next.  So, it's good to learn these.

Since an interval is a sound established BETWEEN 2 pitches, this means it doesn't matter that much what the actual pitches involved are.  For example, listen to  (E.G)  and to (A, C)  ... each pair has the same sound flavour, as they both involve pitches 3 semitones apart.  Consequently, knowing all the pitch names in a scale is pragmatically the least useful ... compared to knowing the sound, and what shape makes that sound (a scale is a bunch of interval sounds and shapes, if you like, made with the tonic being one member of each interval).  This holds true for improvisation but if you intend to read music notation, then yes, to need to know the pitch names well.

In particular, be aware of the 3rd and 5th members of the scale ... for most scales, these, with the tonic, make a major or minor triad , and are the principal pitches of the key (the start note, and the scale).  Melodies draw upon these prinipal pitches a lot.

I'd suggest getting really familiar with the intervals just in one scale shape ... ideally get to the point where you can hear a scale interval, and associate it with somewhere in the scale shape.  Try moving the start pitch (so whole shape follows), and again try and hear the intervals from this new starting pitch, and if you get it right, you'll realise they locate at the same places in the shape, relative to the start pitch (tonic).

I'd also suggest starting with the major scale, as it has strong melodic tendencies.  Whereas, starting with a minor pentaonic (or blues scale) has less, and will box in the melodies you may try (the reason being the big gap of 3 semitones between its tonic, and the next pitch in the scale, at the b3).  The major scale has more pitches nearby its tonic, with stronger tendencies (e.g. the 7 of the scale is one semitone behind the tonic.  When heard, the ear very often wants to hear the adjacent tonic next.  Similarly the second pitch is only 2 semitones away, and aslo sets up a desire to hear the tonic next.  And the overall spacing of these pitches makes things more melodic.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 23, 2017,
#3
DePwnage I would memorise the patterns of scales - such as the major, minor, major pentatonic and minor pentatonic. 
Then start to learn the intervals and scale degrees - labelling the root note as 1. 
Then start to memorise names. 

Eventually you will come full cycle and learn it all - but here's just a suggested sequence. 

Memorising names of the fretboard may be too confusing when first starting - but interested in everyone else's opinion. 
#4
When asking a "what do I need to know to do this, that, or the other thing" kind of question, you should find someone who already can do this, that, or the other thing (like, play scales, play lead, and improvise), and ask them directly if they are thinking of the names of the notes on the finger board when they play, the key signatures of the keys within which they play, and the proper names of the notes of scales that they play.

They might tell you that each of the string/fret locations on the finger board may take up to four different proper names depending on the key, so the idea of "learning the notes of the finger board" is not a one name per location exercise. The correct names depends on the key. Whether you are just cruising along playing ten notes per second or blowing a burst of fifteen notes per second, there is no time to be figuring out which of the correct note names apply to each of the individual pitches.

They might tell you furthermore, lead playing and improvising both switch scales constantly in at least two ways. One is a "simple" switch where one might play three or four notes of one scale and continue with another. The other is "complex" in that the proper name for a series of a few notes (an incomplete scale) depends on the functional intention of the player and there may be a half dozen different possible harmonic perspectives that describe those few notes. In performance lead players may not know all or even any of the proper names of the scale fragments they may employ and certainly don't have time to sort it all out when performing at speed.

So now you must ask yourself, if players who play like I want to be able to play don't use knowledge of these things to do what they do, am I setting out to learn the wrong things? 
Quote by reverb66
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#5
For myself I learned the shape patterns, then the intervals.. where are my root notes then the 3rds, 4ths, etc.. For practising I don't just run up and down my scales. I use a looper pedal to play a chord progression as a backing track and and then practice improvising over the chords.. then you can practice moving the scale into other keys.. Once you get used to that you need to work on your phrasing how to end your licks on chord changes and making it sound good.
#6
^ That's pretty much my routine
Flying in a blue dream
Last edited by SanDune65 at Jul 25, 2017,