Reading Scales

author: guitar98765432 date: 01/12/2006 category: music theory tips
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Reading scale tab is actually very easy. First, I'll show you a scale tab:
e|--0--|-----|-----|--0--| B|-----|--0--|--0--|-----| G|--0--|-----|-----|--0--| D|-----|--0--|--0--|-----| A|--0--|-----|-----|--0--| E|-----|--0--|--0--|-----|
Don't worry, its not as hard as it looks. This is the same scale in standard tab:
e|-1--4---------------------------| B|-------2--3---------------------| G|------------1--4----------------| D|-----------------2--3-----------| A|----------------------1--4------| E|---------------------------2--3-|
Scale tab shows you what fret to press down in a differen way then tab does. On the high E string it tells you to press down the 1st fret then the 4th fret. After you are done with the Hgh E string then you can go to the B strin and play the 2nd fret then the 3rd fret and so on. This should make it easier:
|-1st-|-2nd-|-3rd-|-4th-| <--fret number-- e|--0--|-----|-----|--0--| B|-----|--0--|--0--|-----| G|--0--|-----|-----|--0--| D|-----|--0--|--0--|-----| A|--0--|-----|-----|--0--| E|-----|--0--|--0--|-----|
Now you're asking yourself why don't they just number the frets in the fiirst place? Good question. The reason is scales are moveable. You can start on the high e string at the 4th fret, the 5th fret, any fret you want. If this was the tab for the scale:
e|--1--4-------------------------------------| B|--------2--3-------------------------------| G|--------------1--4-------------------------| D|--------------------2--3-------------------| A|--------------------------1--4-------------| E|--------------------------------2--3-------|
Then this is also true, since scales are moveable:
e|--5--8-------------------------------------| B|--------6--7-------------------------------| G|--------------5--8-------------------------| D|--------------------6--7-------------------| A|--------------------------5--8-------------| E|--------------------------------6--7-------|
You can start on any fret you want. Once you learn the scale foward then you can play it backwards, too this is the same scale, only backwards:
e|--------------------------------5--8-------| B|--------------------------6--7-------------| G|--------------------5--8-------------------| D|--------------6--7-------------------------| A|--------5--8-------------------------------| E|--6--7-------------------------------------|
If you are still confused, then this should help. This is theslace tab again, with the order you are supposed to play it in:
e|--1--|-----|-----|--2--| B|-----|--3--|--4--|-----| G|--5--|-----|-----|--6--| D|-----|--7--|--8--|-----| A|--9--|-----|-----|--10-| E|-----|--11-|--12-|-----|
Once you learn a scale then you will start memorizing it and eventually start playing it faster and faster, wich will help your ability to create and play solos. If you have any corrections, questions, or comments, please feel free to email me at
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