It might seem boring to learn guitar scales but it is really important that you take the time to practice and learn at least the basic shapes and variations of the most important guitar scales if you want to get good on the guitar. Besides, there are ways to make it more interesting…even fun!
Let me explain to you you some of the benefits you will get if you take the time to learn guitar scales and practice them regularly.
First of all, they are a really good way to improve your finger strength and accuracy, which is obviously extremely important for playing guitar well.
Also, by playing the notes of a scale using the correct fingering, you will find your muscle-memory improving and before long you won’t even need to think about where to put your fingers next. They will just move automatically to the next position smoothly and efficiently.
Another huge benefit you’ll get when you learn guitar scales is that it will train your ear to recognise the different notes that make up the scale as well as how they sound together. If you practice with a backing track it will also help you to understand the relationships between different chord and scale combinations.
If you are hoping to improve your improvisation skills then it is important to learn guitar scales because this will give you the foundation and confidence to impress your fellow musicians with your knowledge and ability to conjure up amazing licks in any context.
Make practicing guitar scales each day a part of your routine. I’d recommend practicing them little and often to make sure you use your time in the most productive way. If you spend an hour practicing the same scale over and over again not only will you get bored but you’ll find the learning benefit you get will diminish. In my opinion you are far better spending short blocks of time (say 10 minutes at a time) but doing so often.
A good way to learn guitar scales and fit them into your practice is to incorporate some exercises into your warm up at the start of each practice session. I find this works best for me, but you need to find what suits you best.
2 Tips to Help You Learn
- When practicing, it is important to keep your thumb in roughly the center of the guitar neck in order to maintain good technique. You should also make sure that you pick the string with your right hand at the precise moment you press the next fret with your left hand. This synchronisation can be tricky at first but keep practicing and it will become second nature.
- It is also important to make sure that you don’t rush your practice. I recommend that you learn guitar scales by practicing with a metronome so that your tempo is consistent. It is only natural to speed up slightly with finger transitions that you are comfortable with and to slow down when you get to a troublesome section. You really want to avoid this and a metronome will help you identify when and where you a susceptible to this happening so that you can avoid it becoming ingrained, because once learned, it is very hard to unlearn.
So if you take the time to learn guitar scales thoroughly, you’ll find your playing will improve and your knowledge of guitar theory and music in general will increase. This will allow you to improvise effortlessly and come up with original and interesting riffs and licks of your own.