Scales Patterns

A set of 5 scale patterns, and 4 extended scales for Major, Minor, Harmonic Minor, Pentatonic Minor and Pentatonic Major scales.

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Here are some useful scales. These scales will help you with many things, such as composing music, playing existing music, improving speed and accuracy, and soloing. Remember, that these are patterns, which means you can move them up and down providing you keep the same fret distance between each note. I have based all of these scales in A. To assist, I have included finger numbers for the way that I play the scale, It may not be the *best* way, but it works for me.
Legend:
R = Root Note
1 = Index Finger
2 = Middle Finger
3 = Ring Finger
4 = Pinky Finger

1: A Natural Minor (Two Octaves)
e|------------------------------5------------------------------|
B|------------------------5-6-8---8-6-5------------------------|
G|------------------4-5-7---------------7-5-4------------------|
D|--------------5-7---------------------------7-5--------------|
A|--------5-7-8-----------------------------------8-7-5--------|
E|--5-7-8-----------------------------------------------8-7-5--|
    R             R             R             R             R
    1 3 4 1 3 4 1 3 1 2 4 1 2 4 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 3 1 4 3 1 4 3 1


2: A Harmonic Minor (Two Octaves)
e|----------------------------4-5-4----------------------------|
B|------------------------5-6-------6-5------------------------|
G|--------------------5-7---------------7-5--------------------|
D|--------------6-7-9-----------------------9-7-6--------------|
A|--------5-7-8-----------------------------------8-7-5--------|
E|--5-7-8-----------------------------------------------8-7-5--|
    R             R             R             R             R
    1 3 4 1 3 4 2 3 4 1 3 2 3 1 2 1 3 2 3 1 4 3 2 4 3 1 4 3 1


3: A Major (Two Octaves)
e|----------------------------4-5-4----------------------------|
B|------------------------5-7-------7-5------------------------|
G|------------------4-6-7---------------7-6-4------------------|
D|------------4-6-7---------------------------7-6-4------------|
A|------4-5-7---------------------------------------7-5-4------|
E|--5-7---------------------------------------------------7-5--|
    R             R             R             R             R
    1 4 1 2 4 1 3 4 1 3 4 2 4 1 2 1 4 2 4 3 1 4 3 1 4 2 1 4 1
Note: when the pentatonic scales are played, an additional note is often added in at the end of the scale. Its perfectly fine not to play this note at all. I have put the note in brackets. This applies to Scale 4 and 5.
4: A Pentatonic Minor (Two Octaves)
e|----------------------5-(8)-5----------------------|
B|------------------5-8---------8-5------------------|
G|--------------5-7-----------------7-5--------------|
D|----------5-7-------------------------7-5----------|
A|------5-7---------------------------------7-5------|
E|--5-8-----------------------------------------8-5--|
    R         R         R     R         R         R
    1 4 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 4 1  4  1 4 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 4 1


5: A Pentatonic Major (Two Octaves)
e|----------------------5-(7)-5----------------------|
B|------------------5-7---------7-5------------------|
G|--------------4-6-----------------6-4--------------|
D|----------4-7-------------------------7-4----------|
A|------4-7---------------------------------7-4------|
E|--5-7-----------------------------------------7-5--|
    R         R         R     R         R         R
    1 4 1 4 1 4 1 3 2 4 2  4  2 4 2 3 1 4 1 4 1 4 1
Ok, so there are the basic scales. Practise them through at take notice of the finger patterns, as they are quite cumfortable once you get used to them. "Great, after a bit of practise you can make up some short solo licks and put together a solo (Particularly using the minor pentatonic, which I generally find is easiest). So, your playing along with your band, come to take your solo, and it sounds great, except, you're stuck. It sounds good but needs more variety in pitch, needs to go a bit higher up. Well how can you do that? The easy way out would be just to raise the pattern 12 frets, but this usually ends up sounding out of place." The above descibes how I was, still partly am, and why I am writing this lesson. I worked out the below 4 scales for my own use and improvement, but I decided to share them. These scales span 3 octaves, rather than 2, which gives you alot more (almost all) the range of the fretboard, and help you to do buildups to the higher notes. For these, I am only giving the ascending (going up), the finger pattern is the same coming back down, as are the frets.
6: A Natural Minor Extended (3 Octaves)
e|-----------------------------------------------12-13-15-17-|
B|-----------------------------------10-12-13-15-------------|
G|---------------------------9-10-12-------------------------|
D|-----------------7-9-10-12---------------------------------|
A|----------7-8-10-------------------------------------------|
E|-5-7-8-10--------------------------------------------------|
   R               R                 R                    R
   1 2 3 4  1 2 4  1 2 3  4  1 2  3  1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4


7: A Major Extended (3 Octaves)
e|-----------------------------------------------12-14-16-17-|
B|-----------------------------------10-12-14-15-------------|
G|---------------------------9-11-13-------------------------|
D|-----------------7-9-11-12---------------------------------|
A|----------7-9-11-------------------------------------------|
E|-5-7-9-10--------------------------------------------------|
   R               R                 R                    R
   1 2 3 4  1 2 3  1 2 3  4  1 2  3  1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4


8: A Minor Pentatonic Extended (3 Octaves)
e|-------------------------------------12-15-17-|
B|----------------------------10-13-15----------|
G|-----------------------9-12-------------------|
D|-----------------10-12------------------------|
A|---------7-10-12------------------------------|
E|--5-8-10--------------------------------------|
    R           R             R              R
    1 2 4  1 3  4  1  3  1 3  1  3  4  1  3  4


9: A Major Pentatonic Extended (3 Octaves)
e|---------------------------------12-14-17--|
B|------------------------10-12-14-----------|
G|-------------------9-11--------------------|
D|------------7-9-11-------------------------|
A|--------7-9--------------------------------|
E|--5-7-9------------------------------------|
    R          R            R            R
    1 2 4 1 3 1 2 4  1 3  1  2  3  1  2  4
And there you have it. Practise these and you will notice substaintial improvement. Id reccomend practising clean, and slower to start with, to make sure you hit each fret accuratley and pick at the right time, then speed it up! Make sure you go ascending and descending!

101 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Fed_X666
    great lesson it really helped me out i can't afford lessons so this site has been a very good help thanks a lot guys keep up the good work.
    pablo_89
    great lesson!!! it pleased my guitar teacher when he wanted me to learn these!!!
    feeney
    thanks dude! i will be learning this as soon as i get home from school !!!!!
    Metal101
    Thanks dude! This really helped me out! It's just so easy to follow, I'm printing it out...
    guerito
    I haven't gone through all the scales yet, but i'm pretty sure that your major scale and your minor pentatonic scale are both in E, not A. And i think the major pentatonic scale you show is in F. I mapped out the notes on the fretboard and filled in the entire scale.
    conquistador
    ok so your saying if i moved down the a natural minor scale 2 frets it would be the G natural minor scale??
    Stringtastic!!
    Maxamillion!! Thanks 4 taking the time.. U-G is in fact my only instructor, truly a gr8t site!!
    Beware!Criminal
    Thank you so much for posting this. You did a great job, and helped me tremendously. I added two new scales to my repertoire (minor and harmonic minor), and cleared up some confusion. Thanks again.
    b0xD
    Wow this lesson is awesome...Finally made it clear how to read scales and understand what they are and do. Best lesson on this site...I been coming here for some time now and I have only just found this lesson now. Awesome work.
    Metalhead1991
    thx a lot for an awsun lesson. im just gettin into scales and this helped. one thing i want explainin a bit if sum1 cud plz. ok so i thought the root note was the like the first note on a scale or sumthin.. but how come ther are like 5 root notes in these scales.... can sum1 plz explain this to me.
    matt \,,/
    ???im confused.....i understand what you mean by playing the notes in a certain order so they sound good, its jst that every lesson about scales i go onto its always got a different bunch of notes in the same part of the neck..jst dont know what one to practice an i end up mixing them up....
    TheOrphan
    Matt - if you're still out there, thanks for pretty much "dumbing it down" for me. For a geezer like me who just wants to be able to lay out a lick every so often and have absolutely no bong-fueled fantasies of becoming heavy metal's next savior, this lesson was perfect.
    Gortorek
    Great lesson. There's far too many jargon-based lessons on this site, and only a few that explain the jargon. Thankfully, this is one of the latter.
    EdguyRule_22
    Sweet lesson dude. Thanks. Especially for your personal stuff you added, definately something I'm gonna try.
    kevintimmers
    GREAT LESSION! Im serious, my fingers are starting to feel loose everytime they are landing on the strings while practising these scales! keep it up.
    manwe1
    Great lesson, thanks. As an absolute beginner this is valuable stuff. More of the same please.
    ColCommunism
    Actually, I'd like to amend my comment above. This was the lesson that taught me the minor pentatonic pattern, and it's revolutionized my playing. Thank you for improving my guitar playing tenfold.
    saril_malankian
    i ve enterad a short term class, but i dont realy understand about scaling and the extended..so this lesson make me clear...
    mellobello
    This lesson helped a lot. But any ideas for remembering all/a lot of scales? I know most/all great guitarists have them in their minds. Help!
    guitarguru134
    yes thank you for these scale patterns, i recently quite lessons because all i was learning was songs, and i reall y need to know the scales to improvise solos in songs that i have wrote,and real songs from famous artists. It was alright learning the solo note for note, but it didnt really improve my playing and knowledge of scales. thank you again for this!
    guitarismylife1
    That really was a great lesson especially the three octave spanning scales, they are the key thing thats been missing from my solos (the runs up to high notes), so thanks a lot and keep up the good work