How To Play Guitar Scales

Playing Guitar ScalesWhen my guitar students ask me how to play guitar scales, it’s usually at a rather premature point in the process. Even though I will admit that some of the folks I taught actually said that they find it easier to play scales than chords. In addition to that, I will acknowledge that this is a very broad question and there’s no way to give a comprehensive answer in one session. But for starters, I thought we just pick one popular guitar scale for example purposes and get started with some basic concepts.

In order to play a guitar solo it is certainly advisable to familiarize with some of the basic scales. While not necessary, I still highly recommend that you actually try to understand what you are doing and put the notes you are playing in the context of scales. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to over-theorize this. All I’m saying is that it is definitely very helpful if you try to get some basic understanding of the most popular guitar scales.

Arguably, the one of the most utilized guitar scales is the minor pentatonic scale. It is relatively easy to play and it usually fits to almost anything you can think of – every now and then you need to tweak it a little, but by just using this particular scale, you can cover a lot of ‘guitar ground’.

In the guitar video tutorial below I show you how to play this scale. We will take things very slowly, step by step. After that, I will show you a couple of exercises which will help you to play guitar scales faster. Or I should say ultimately faster, because I strongly suggest that you take things very slow as you practice a new scale and gradually step up the tempo. A metronome is a huge help when practicing guitar scales.

In a follow up video we can then cover how to use a guitar scale when playing a solo.


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