Reading Scales

This is for anyone who dosen't know how to play or read scale tab.

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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 mike98765432@aol.com.

50 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Stratocaster17
    I bought this book on guitar soloing and there's a separate chapter on the "major pentatonic scale" and the "minor pentatonic scale." But the scale charts for the two are identical. Am i missing something or have i been ripped off?
    Stratocaster17
    Cool article. I wish someone would do one thats like a list of scales and what they're for. that would be helpful.
    St. Timmy
    very helpful ive wanted to learn some scales as my fellow band member says they help with solo-ing. could include more though i agree with Stratocaster17 about the list of scales/
    x8DisturbeD8x
    Very Helpful....I knew a little bit about scales and could get by but it was helpful to make me remember....G/J
    savy11
    im new at guitar an just started lokkin at sum theory an this helped alot thanks
    savy11
    Ummm...on a scale (at the beginning of the article) you would go from high note to low note, so the fret order would be reversed. You would play 4 then 1 on the first string, 3 then 2 on the 2nd string, etc.
    hes right i think
    TyphoidSpider
    i've only been playing for a couple months and this helped heaps. Great article. TOOL is awesome
    GuitarJunkie
    ^yea they are similar, but slight diff...still have that same "box" pattern but not the same notes
    Vindication
    I'm pretty sure not all scale patterns are moveable...it would change (at least the key...)
    KoRRuPT
    Nice dude this thought me once I was done reading it once I got it already 5 STARS ***** (if there was a billion stars I would put it)
    R0CKER1220
    47th!!!! good article, already knew how to read scales though, but still good
    danger_boy_13
    Ummm...on a scale (at the beginning of the article) you would go from high note to low note, so the fret order would be reversed. You would play 4 then 1 on the first string, 3 then 2 on the 2nd string, etc.
    AvengedUNEARTH
    nice man.. i knew this but i wish that when i was tryin to find a good scale lesson that i woulda found this one first and not wasted my time with other ones. good job
    Metallica12_12
    Yes it does though you do not have to use all 6 strings to play a full scale, u can use one if you want. With you saying "will increase your ability to solo" yes it will help you in a way however you have to use scale notes out of sequence to get a unique sound. Minor Pentatonic goes (from 6-1) 1-4, 1-3, 1-3, 1-3, 1-4, 1-4. Both e strings play the same notes.
    NemesisX wrote: I never.. knew that.. but, surely the minor pentatonic doesn't have the same on both E's does it? (Give me a break, I've gone totally blank and can't remember it.)
    NemesisX
    I never.. knew that.. but, surely the minor pentatonic doesn't have the same on both E's does it? (Give me a break, I've gone totally blank and can't remember it.)
    deslni01
    Both E strings will always play the same notes on a scale, being as they are the exact same string (only a different octave).
    thembones16
    Trust me this wasnt pointless i could never read these damn things until just now great job 5 stars
    RustyGold
    whitebluesboy wrote: The only problem with your scale is that you have different notes on the low e and the high e, which you can't do with a scale.
    yup, they have to be the same. e is an e. lol
    whitebluesboy
    The only problem with your scale is that you have different notes on the low e and the high e, which you can't do with a scale.
    apanda1234
    hey man great article. for those who thought it was sooo pointless...why even bother wasting your precious time and energy and poopin' on the article? great stuff. always helps me out. how do you harmonize tho?
    Reaver19
    Some people are ignorant. Though I knew this before you put it up, I know there are many who don't. Lesson appreciated, nice work (ignore those who said it was pointless)
    MarcW
    not pointless at all. i could never read scales before this! thanks!
    Night_Lights
    this is good for beginners. all you tooks giving this bad ratings need to remmeber back in the day when YOU were noobs
    cefasnacht
    i always thought that reading scales was pretty straight forward. if you can read a tab, why can't you figure this out???
    jon736
    G major scale e|-----5-7-8---- -| B|-----5-7-8-----| G |-----4-5-7- ----| D|---- -4-5-7-----| A|-----3-5- 7-----| E|--3-5-7----- | Both e strings do not have the same notes on them but the notes stay on a consistant note pattern: G A B C D E F# The Pentatonic does not do this same thing and jumps and skips around like yours. Although your scale does not seem to follow a normal note pattern, it does not mean that it fails to be a scale. The sound is just a bit different: F# G A# C# E F G# B C# D F G# using A# B C C# D E F F# G G# whatever
    metaljunkie
    i'm use to playing rythem and always want to learn scales to some degree, so this is actually pretty helpful. the people who say its pointless forget that they were a wee guitar lad and needed to learn this crap to.
    Hosscat
    This forum is for discussions at all levels of proficiency and understanding of guitar related subjects. Although the subject seems pretty ovbiuos to me, I can understand that young players might not get it right away without it being pointed out. So, good job. There are no stupid questions as long as they are sincere.
    SR20DETT
    Hosscat wrote: This forum is for discussions at all levels of proficiency and understanding of guitar related subjects. Although the subject seems pretty ovbiuos to me, I can understand that young players might not get it right away without it being pointed out. So, good job. There are no stupid questions as long as they are sincere.
    Amen to that
    black_sabbath85
    Hosscat wrote: This forum is for discussions at all levels of proficiency and understanding of guitar related subjects. Although the subject seems pretty ovbiuos to me, I can understand that young players might not get it right away without it being pointed out. So, good job. There are no stupid questions as long as they are sincere.
    The god father has spoken....amen.