Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Guitar Scale Theory

How to learn guitar scales:

* 99% of popular music is Pentatonic and Major scales.
* Scales aren't just for playing guitar solos.
* Rhythm guitar players can benefit from scales too.

Guitar players don't need to learn a ton of scales.
Have you ever tried working through a book about guitar scales? Did you feel a little overwhelmed by the pages and pages of patterns and scales? Pentatonic scale, major scale, minor scale, harmonic minor scale, melodic minor scale, whole-tone/half-tone scale, lydian dominant scale, gypsy minor scale, blah, blah, blah. And what about using these scales? Why don't these books tell you what to do with them? How about a song reference or demonstration? Is this really how guitar players learn how to play melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos and bass lines?

The answer to the last question is, NO! There are actually only two primary scales that comprise most of popular music. Guitar players need to learn the theory behind all the different ways of playing and applying the Pentatonic and Major scales. When you learn guitar scale theory correctly, you'll have 99% of the music you listen to covered. That's the truth! If you want to explore additional guitar theory and more exotic scales later, then you'll have the proper music theory foundation to do it.

Pentatonic Scale Patterns On the Guitar
The pentatonic scale creates the simplest patterns on the guitar neck and the theory behind it makes it very easy to apply. You can use the pentatonic boxes to play melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos and bass lines. All styles of popular music utilize this essential guitar scale including pop, rock, blues, and country. Some classic songs that utilize the pentatonic scale, and make great learning material for any guitar theory program, include:

“Lowrider” War (G minor pentatonic scale)
“Lady Marmalade” Patti LaBelle (G minor pentatonic scale)
“Susie Q” Creedence Clearwater Revival (E minor pentatonic scale)
“My Girl” The Temptations (C major pentatonic scale)
“Wish You Were Here” Pink Floyd (G major pentatonic scale)
“Tweezer” Phish (A minor pentatonic scale)
“Purple Haze” Jimi Hendrix (E minor pentatonic scale)
“Breakdown” Tom Petty (A minor pentatonic scale)
“Pawn Shop” Sublime (E minor pentatonic scale)
“Turn Off the Light” Nelly Furtado (E minor pentatonic scale)
“Honky Tonk Women” The Rolling Stones (G major pentatonic scale)
“Hey Joe” Jimi Hendrix (E minor pentatonic scale)
“Yellow Ledbetter” Pearl Jam (E major pentatonic scale)
“Sunshine of Your Love” Cream (D minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Baby Please Don’t Go” Them/Van Morrison (F minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Iron Man” Black Sabbath (B minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Roadhouse Blues” The Doors (E minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Heartbreaker” Led Zeppelin (A minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Maggie May” Rod Stewart (D major pentatonic scale)
“Sir Duke” Stevie Wonder (B major pentatonic "blues scale")

Wanna hear the pentatonic scale in action right now? Click Guitar Pentatonic Scale Songs MP3 for a free audio track that includes a variety of well-known guitar melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos and bass lines.

Rhythm Guitar Players Use the Pentatonic Scale Too
The purpose of learning how to play the pentatonic scale, or any scale for that matter, isn't limited to guitar riffs and solos. If you're strictly a rhythm guitar player, you can still study guitar music theory and spice up your chords with catchy hooks derived from the pentatonic scale. Guitar theory further teaches that pentatonic scale notes can be added to basic chords to create rich new sounds.

Compose On the Guitar with Pentatonic Scale Theory
There's one more thing about learning the pentatonic scale that you should take into consideration. The pentatonic scale isn't a scale unique to only fretted instruments. All instruments utilize music theory and the pentatonic scale including singers. Many songs have pentatonic scale vocal melodies, keyboard parts, horn parts and more. These things can be worked out and arranged on guitar if you know your scales!

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, and More