It is vitally important to learn guitar scales as it creates a framework for your entire guitar playing, whether it be lead guitar, rhythm guitar or both. Scales are essentially the fundamental building blocks in which music is created. By learning even just a few scales and being able to apply them in a musical context, you skills will grow and you will ultimately become a better guitar player and musician.
Have you noticed how some music makes you feel bright and happy and other songs may make you feel sad or blue? Scales affect the mood in music. For example sad songs may use the minor scale to create the feeling of sadness. In the same way, to create a bright and happy feeling to a piece of music, the major scale would often be used. When creating or listening to music, it is important to understand that the notes contained in the piece come from a certain scales or scales and this will influence the mood of the music.
To know and learn guitar scales is especially important in lead guitar. For example if you’re interested in improvising a guitar solo, you must know which notes are contained in the musical backing piece and the key that the piece is in. By knowing the scale that fits the piece of music, this allows you not to think so much about what notes work, but more importantly, how to express yourself by using the notes that you know fit perfectly. By having a framework in your head of what notes are available to you when improvising a guitar solo – you can create a better solo in much less time and never hit a wrong note. By knowing the appropriate scales, this will make your playing effortless and unlock your creativity.
To learn guitar scales will allow you to fully explore and understand different genres of music that you may be interested in. For example you may love to play the blues. In this case your playing depends upon whether you can apply the most common scales for this genre of music – ie, the minor pentatonic, major pentatonic and blues scales. Perhaps you’re interested in Spanish or flamenco guitar – there are scales that will give you the exact flavour to any type of music that you’re into. The point here is that you don’t need to know every scale that exists for guitar. Start by learning only the scales that are commonly used for the genre of music that you’re interested in.
Lastly, it is important not to think of learning guitar scales as a boring, repetitive and difficult exercise. By learning guitar scales in an actual musical context, the learning process can be fun, exiting and something to actually look forward to. I have been able to learn guitar scales simply by improvising over backing tracks. More of this to come later..