guitar scales

The scales shown in this section are progressive, and get gradually more difficult. All guitarists need to know scales and regular practice of them will improve your left and right hand coordination dramatically. If you intend to create riffs and lead guitar lines then a good grounding in scale knowledge is essential. If you don't understand anything here, check the essential lessons. If you are more advanced, there are many more scales and arpeggios in the RGT Exam Resources Section. It is recommended that you check it out, even if you have no interest in exams, it gives you a 'ball park' figure of where you are.

level 1 guitar scales

  • first scales
    Here are some scales for the beginner. Scales are very important, and form the basis of all music. Try to learn the names of the notes as well as the scale 'shape', good fingerboard knowledge is very useful. The names of the notes are listed call them out as you play.

level 2 guitar scales

  • open scales
    These scales are shown over 2 octaves. Open scales are scales that use some open strings. They are very useful and are used for lead guitar in many styles.

level 3 guitar scales

  • the minor pentatonic scale
    This scale is the most used by rock guitar players. If you're in to rock/blues guitar, this moveable scale should be the first one you learn.
  • the major pentatonic scale
    This is the most used scale in country music. However, it is also common in blues and rock guitar.
  • the blues scale
    As the name suggests, a big scale in blues guitar. Also much used in rock, and many famous riffs:- 'Smoke On The Water', 'Sunshine Of Your Love' have been composed using this scale.
  • the major scale
    The most common scale in all music and essential to learn. Also known as the Ionian mode.
  • the natural minor scale
    The most common and useful minor scale. Also known as the Aeolian mode.

level 4 guitar scales

  • essential scale shapes
    A handy print off of the moveable scale forms above, all on one page. Make sure you know these scales really well before moving on.
  • essential scales 2
    The same scales that are in 'Essential Scales'. However, these are in another position, this will enhance your ability to develop phrases.

level 5 guitar scales

  • minor pentatonic scale 5 Positions
    This is the minor pentatonic scale shown over the entire fingerboard. Learning these shapes will open up your creative abilities, but don't try to learn them all at once.
  • blues scale 5 Positions
    This is the blues scale shown in the same way as the minor pentatonic above. Don't just learn the shapes, make sure you can use each one before moving on to the next.
  • major pentatonic scale 5 Positions
    These 'shapes' are the same as the minor pentatonic but start at different frets. Again, make sure you can use the scales rather than just know them. Try to create phrases that go from one shape to the next without stopping.
  • the major scale 5 Positions
    This is the major scale shown in all fingerboard positions. You need to learn these shapes in all keys. Learn one shape at a time, these shapes are really important as they are the same shapes for all modes of the major scale (more about this later). The major scale is also known as the Ionian Mode.
  • the natural minor scale 5 Positions
    This is the natural minor scale shown in all fingerboard positions. Notice the 'shapes' are the same as the major scale. Again you need to lean these shapes in all keys, the natural minor scale is also known as the Aeolian Mode.