Are you afraid that the standard scales will turn you into an over-tapped player who consistently responds with the same sounds during guitar solos? Or even worse, do you feel like all of your rocking guitar solos feel like just moving up and down the scales - even if you don't know any to begin with? How does this happen, and why is everybody so worried about sounding like they're playing scales?
When I began learning the guitar, I made every mistake imaginable - such as trying to sidestep learning scales. Many of my teachers warned me about that, but I was stubborn and didn't change my ways for quite a long time - so you can see I know all about why people believe learning scales limits a player's ability. I believed that as well and spent countless hours looking to excuse myself from learning them.
In hindsight, I wish I could have known then what I found later about guitar scales (and also about girls, but that's a whole other story). And now that I've been able to do it for myself, it's time to help others.
So, after making years of mistakes, I learned how scales actually foster creativity. Yes, that is not what you normally hear. There are plenty of reasons why that is, but here are the main points:
But how should you learn the scales on guitar? Certainly not just by playing them up and down until they become muscle memory. Here's a video with a couple strategies for learning the scales. Take a look below:
You'll agree with me that it is fairly simple and straightforward - however, it may be that it seems this way to me after making thousands of mistakes :-) Try adding this to your daily routine, and you'll notice a major difference. It's certainly more challenging (and fun) than just playing the same shapes all day. Enjoy, and let me know what your experience with this ideas are.
Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.
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