Guitar scales present scales by pictures and supplementary information. You can choose between scales for guitar and bass guitar.

The scales are presented on a diagram demonstrating a fingerboard and — if nothing else is mentioned — based on standard tuning.

Guitar scale graphics explained

Scales presented in an easy way

This site has set a goal to present scales in a way so that beginners could understand how to play them.

The goal is also to deliver additional information so that ambitious musicians can study scales and understand them on a deeper level. By clicking on the collapsible panels on the scales’ presentation pages, more information is available including scale degrees, related chords and theoretical explanation.

What is a scale?

A scale in music is constructed from a series of tones. Such series of tones will sound great played together and are often used as foundation for composing or improvisation. They can be played in any order, whereas playing them root to root is only when practicing.

A distinction could be made between rhythm and lead guitar. For example, in a rock band with two guitarists, one could play the rhythmic parts whereas the other guitarist plays the solo parts. A guitar solo is often based upon a scale.

In blues and jazz, it’s common with improvisations. Improvisations are often played “over” chords and is often based on scales that fit well together with the chords.

How to learn and memorize scales?

The first step is to study diagrams, such presented on this site, and exercise them (perhaps in conjunction with tabs or notes). Scales are often learned in parts of one or two octaves. The final goal, however, is to be able to play the scale over the whole fingerboard. The latter will be possible after the guitarist has been familiar with the scale and practice it in different positions.

The hard part is to memorize scales. Being able to visualize different scales all over the fretboard is not achieved in a short time. A tip is to take a shortcut, by learning the intervals. Here are the intervals for the Dorian scale: 2 - 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 2. This means that whenever you start on a root note, you can go two steps up or down the fretboard on the same string. After that you can go another one step up or down. And after that, go can go two steps up or down three times in a row - still all on the same string. When, you can go one step in either direction and finally two steps in any direction to return to the root note. By this method you can move all over the fretboard with speed just minutes after you know the intervals of the scale!

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