3 Sources of Scale Unhappiness

If you've been curious about why learning scales seems to cause so much frustration, stay tuned because this video is going to explain, "3 Sources of Scale Unhappiness." 

For most guitar players, the study of scales is something that happens way later on in guitar life. After a lot of songs and a lot of chords and a lot of strumming players will finally take the plunge into scales. Then, once the scale practice begins, there can be a lot of pain and unhappiness from how many patterns there are and all of the training, memorizing and discipline it takes to be able to use scales.


Because learning to play scales is more often than not a routine that comes up way down the road in guitar study, players will quite often have problems with knowing what to do or not to do for a solid scale study routine.

Scales are often taught as shapes, so guitar players won't learn them in the same memorized ways that horn players and keyboard players will learn scales, (which is by notes). Guitarists will hardly ever learn scales by notes. That is why it's so common for a guitarist to only learn some root note locations from the 6th and 5th strings - but yet have no clue about where other tones exist on the fret-board. This (as you could imagine) could end up causing a lot of unhappiness!

One of the first sources of scale unhappiness will tend to be confusion regarding where and how scales are established across the neck. There's really no "one common standardized" way that the guitar's scales are taught, so players are (in general) exposed to around a 1/2 dozen different ways of learning the scale patterns.

The first method a player may learn guitar scales might not clarify root notes properly, another system shown to them might not explain the importance of degrees (major and minor tonality /intervals). Other scale methods could leave out details that will add to scale unhappiness.

Confusion tends to slow the feeling of usefulness for what we're learning. And, that vague clarity for "why am I doing this," will cause problems for players in understanding scale application. Especially with regard to how scales should be used to establish and to create melody.

This is why guitarists need a scale pattern system to follow. A system that plots scales off of the 6th, 5th and 4th guitar strings. Guitar students also need to know why the scale that they're playing is major or minor.

The second source of scale unhappiness is not receiving any instruction (when you learn your scale patterns) for having to do with "where and how" the shapes can be applied. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard a student show up here at Creative Guitar and tell me that they did learn all of their scales (at one point), but they've since forgotten all of them.

If you do not understand where and how a scale is used, there's no way that you'll associate any usefulness to the scale. The result will be that you'll likely forget it. It's going to seem irrelevant. Sort of like "What's the Point" of this pattern. What does it do? What can I do with this thing? Why am I doing this?

Guitar students need to know what the scale does, players need to learn licks, learn songs that have the scales in play, and they need to learn solos. Above all else, the guitarist must use the scale in a JamTrack, so that they can begin applying it and making music with it. If a student learns how to make music with a scale they'll never forget it.

The final source of scale unhappiness is more often than not poor technique. It's one thing to learn a scale shape, to memorize how it sits on the neck and to know how to plot the tones from memory, (maybe even be able to play a few short licks and the odd melody line). But, all too often, there's a lack of control over notes, and not being able to phrase what melodies are heard in the mind.

Those notes (from scale patterns) need technical control, a guitarist has to dominant the scale and manipulate it. Bend notes, slide to them, do "hammer-ons, and pull-offs" and grab at 2 and 3 note chord shapes to create movable lines.

Technique is vital to controlling those notes from your patterns, and that only comes from hitting high levels of left and right hand control. So, work hard to develop a series of guitar technique exercises that will improve your weak zones. Also, please use a metronome and learn to play your scales quickly from memory, using your unconscious mind /reflexes, so that your conscious mind can be free to create musical ideas.

So, there ya have it... my comments on - three sources of scale unhappiness... If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, head over to my website at creativeguitarstudio.com and get your FREE lifetime membership.

And, when you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar course. Yes, I have a guitar course online. So, I hope to see you on the website soon.



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