Memorizing Guitar Scales Efficiently

Memorizing Guitar Scales Efficiently

Memorizing Guitar Scales from Essential Scales Book

Muse-Eek-Publishing_Company_Frequently-Asked_Questions about Ear Training, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Rhythm, Time, Sight Reading, Technique, Scales, Harmony, Reharmonization, Practicing, Music, Music Practice Schedule, Optimize Ear Training Practice Time, Guitar Chords Chart Fingerings, Moveable Do Fixed Do Solfeggio, Guitar Scales Knowledge, The 10 Most Commonly Used Guitar Scales, Memorizing Guitar Scales from Essential Scales Book

Memorizing Guitar Scales from Essential Scales Book

Q: I've bought "Essential Scales". There is so much information, that I'm confused. I.e. I'd like to master C-major scale. I have it written down, and intervals structure is also memorized. Then I grab my guitar and play listed 3-notes per string one after another using MetroDrone and long-rhythm conception. But I don't feel like I'm memorizing or understanding anything. I also don't quite understand how to use the other information in the book: 3 and 4 notes harmonic constructions and melodic patterns. Could you please give me some hint what am I possibly do wrong?

A: There are some common mistakes that guitar students make when learning their scales that can make one feel like they aren't learning correctly. Here is some things I recommend:

  • 1. At the beginning I would play one scale in every position thinking either the note names or the degrees. I would switch each day. One day think note names the next degrees.
  • 2. If you are saying the note names or degrees and this is really hard for you still use the MetroDrone but don't play in time. Just have the MetroDrone going to hear the key center but play the scales slow enough so you can say the note names or degrees. Then slowly speed up over time until you can use the MetroDrone in time.
  • 3. Practice the scales in your mind when you are away from the guitar. I use to walk and see if I could say envision a note on the guitar fret board and say it's name for each step I took. You could also do the same thing but with degrees.
  • I would switch to a new scale each week. Spend about 20 minutes a day playing the scale through the positions and then spend about 10 minutes jamming with Jam Tracks so that you begin to use the scale creatively. Many times students think they have to completely master a scale before moving on. Remember many scales will have almost the same notes. For instance a C Major and C Mixoldyian scale only have one note that is different i.e. "Bb." Go through the scales all in "C" first so that you begin to see how one scale relates to the others.
  • The 3 and 4 note chords listed in the Essential Scales book are most useful when you have a one chord vamp. This is often referred to as a "Modal" situation. You can again use the Jam Tracks to play these chord voicings while a Jam Track is playing. Keep in mind that some of the 3 and 4 note voicings will be hard to play on the guitar so find some easy ones and start playing those as the Jam Tracks plays. For instance I would start with B, C, E over a C Major Jam Track. Make sure to play the inversions of the chord too. So learn C,E,B and E,B,C. Play them on consecutive strings. Later you can start spreading out the voicing to cover more strings. All of these chords will be very useful once you have a group of them learned. Remember the "Essential Scales"book lists all possible chords so some will be hard on the guitar. Start with easier ones that sound good to you.
  • Sometimes students are weak in their music theory knowledge and that holds them back when playing scales. To see if this is true put on a metronome at 80 BPM. See if you can say the notes of the scale or the degrees one note for every click. If you can't then you should also work with the Music Theory Workbook for Guitar Volume Two. That book will give you 100 pages of exercises to write out to improve your knowledge of the important scales.
  • Some times a student has a hard time memorizing the notes or degrees because they instantly see a fingering pattern when they play. In that case I recommend playing the scale up and down each string in groups of 3 notes. For instance if you playing a C Major scale on the low E string you would play F,G,A then switch up to B with your first finger and play B,C,D then switch with your first finger and play E,F,G. Continue up the neck as high as you can. When you descend the scale switch with your little finger. So if you were descending from just playing G,F,E you would play D,C,B by putting your little finger on "D" and then play the C and B.
  • Some times to help students memorizing guitar scales I also recommend the Single String Studies for Guitar Volume One to help guitarists learn the notes on the guitar and to see a relationship between a note written on a staff and where it would be on the guitar fret board. I would also use the MetroDrone when playing through these exercises and use your ear to tell you whether you played the correct note. This will build up ear training ability and note recognition on the fret board at the same time.

Let me know if these suggestions help and stay in touch as you try to memorizing guitar scales. The last thing I would recommend is you check out some of the videos from my Guitar Physiology course on YouTube This will help you see the correct approach to playing the scales using the right technique which extremely important.

It is also recommended that you read Bruce Arnold's Blog at his artist site. It contains more discussion of the musical topics found in these FAQs as well as other subjects of interest. You will also find the "Music Education Genealogy Chart" located here which shows you the historic significance of the music education products found on the Muse Eek Publishing Company Website.

Memorizing Guitar Scales from Essential Scales Book

← Back to FAQs