September 3, 2019

Beginners Guide To Practicing Scales

It is common for beginners to make a lot of mistakes, when it comes to practicing scales on guitar. Before you say, “Tell me something I’m not aware of”, let me clarify that I’m not talking about the technical mistakes in your guitar playing.

Guitar being a physically demanding instrument, there are several aspects of guitar technique, and musical skills to become fluent with scales on guitar. But that does not mean that you cannot or should not practice scales as a beginner. So if you have pondered over the idea of learning scales on the guitar, but not sure how to go about doing that, then keep reading.

There definitely are many proven and easy to implement methods you can use to improve the speed at which you learn scales, while avoiding the common mistakes that stop beginners from progressing faster on learning and using scales. I’m going to list down 5 easy to implement, but highly important scale practice guidelines for you here.

I’m going to list down 5 easy to implement, but highly important scale practice guidelines for you here.

If you are making any of the mistakes listed below, then try to incorporate the changes I suggest here and see your scale learning and application improving much faster

1.     Break Down The Scales

This is the first and most basic mistake that every guitar player is guilty of making. I myself have been prey to this one many times as a beginner.  Don’t look at the scale shape as a big project, instead try and break it down into smaller parts.

E.g. If the scale consists of notes starting on the 6th string and goes all the way up to the 1st string, and you are not comfortable playing the lower 6th, 5th and 4th guitar strings. Play only a fragment of the scale on the Top 3 strings. This will ensure that you can play the scale at your own playing level and still be able to use it for improvisation training.

A good guitar teacher can help you easily use the right techniques required to play any scale at your individual playing level.

2.     Start Practicing Them

This is the mother of all mistakes you can make as a beginner who wants to quickly progress to higher guitar playing levels. There are these myths that beginners must focus on learning chords first, and only when they have mastered chord playing to some extent, should they start learning scales and lead guitar. This is completely false, unless your goal is to just be able to play rhythm guitar all your life.

Practicing scales and lead guitar helps develop your guitar technique faster, and helps you in other areas of your guitar playing like playing chords.

So start incorporating some scale practice into your routine and advanced to higher playing levels faster.

3.     Do It Anyway

Another beginner mistake is to assume that you need to understand a lot of music theory to be able to use scales effectively in your playing. While I agree that having a good understanding of the theory and application of a scale is a huge help, you don’t really need to be a music theory wizard to start practicing scales.

If you are taking lessons from a good guitar teacher, you will be getting better at your musical knowledge in due course, but you don’t want to delay developing your lead guitar skills and technique till you master musical concepts.

You can easily pickup scale shapes, and practice them at your own speed, and you’ll find that it’ll be off huge benefit later on in your playing.

4.     Listen To The Scale

Scales Talk! I mean literally they do. But you’ll be able to realize that only if you make an attempt to hear what you are playing.

It’s a very common mistake to keep sitting for hours practicing scale shapes without paying attention to the sound of the scale. Scales not only help you develop your lead guitar playing skills, but they also help with training your ears to identify and recognize the sounds of scales.

This will be hugely beneficial when you reach the next level of guitar playing.

5.     Learn The Notes And Apply Them

Once you have a basic hang of playing some scale shapes, you should move towards learning the notes in the scale, what type of scale it is and how is it formed.

This is where your guitar teacher can play a big role by imparting the right musical knowledge required for you to understand the theory.

You also need to work on applying the scales to real time playing situations. So whatever scale shape you learn, find out how you can use it in improvisations, and start practicing improvising with the scale.

This will make you learn the scale faster and have a much deeper understanding of it.

So there you have it. 5 simple and easy to apply steps that’s guaranteed to help you learn scales faster  and better on guitar and apply them to make your music. Apply these, and you’ll realize that improving your lead guitar playing and aural skills becomes way easier than you thought it would be.

You’ll also find that a really good guitar teacher would always help you build your lead guitar skills through various other methods at a beginner level.

So if you find it difficult to implement any of the above steps, then find the right guitar teacher who can help you easily achieve these and many more correct scale practice habits.

About The Author:

Dhanesh Sarangadharan is a certified guitar teacher in Pune, Maharashtra India, who helps solving guitar learning problems quickly and helps students progress faster towards their guitar playing ambitions.