10 Step Method to Memorize Scales Once and For All...

Imagine if you had a, "10 step scale learning weapon," in your arsenal that would allow you to quickly understand scales and play licks and lines more easily (and faster) than you ever could before! In this video I’m going to show you exactly that. And, from here on out, your knowledge for scales will reach a whole new level...

If you've ever tried to write melody lines, or play a lead on the guitar, (without really knowing your scale patterns), then I'm sure that you've already discovered how difficult it can be to compose a melody without proper scale knowledge.

With a low-end ability for guitar scale knowledge, not only will your melodic composing suffer, but you'll also quite likely wind up getting yourself incredibly frustrated after attempting to do this work without a good knowledge of your scales across the neck.


Memorizing Scales on the Neck:
You’ve probably tried learning all your scales at least once or twice, and maybe you’ve perhaps met with some 'not so great' results.

And, I understand that, learning scales is complicated and it can feel really crushing when you don’t exactly know how a scale operates and when you don’t have a clear cut way of keeping a scale clear in your mind.

If you want to achieve more results with what you’re playing, if you want a better ear, and if you want a better sense of neck awareness, there’s nothing that can beat learning how scales operate and how your notes are aligned on the neck.

So, if you need to learn this, we can actually do something about it. I’m going to give you a breakdown of 10 things that you can work on (starting right now), to be able to gain a better comprehension for scales on the neck!

1). Learn about the most popular guitar keys first. And, because (as guitar players), we play so often from the open 6th and 5th strings, my suggestion is to start with the key of “E” and also the key of “A.”

Learn those keys as a specific tonality (Major or Minor) and get them onto the neck right away by using a key signatures chart and the "Guitar Scientist" website.

2). Note mapping is best done using a limited range across the guitar fingerboard. For example; the key of “E” Minor has one sharp, the “F#.” You can easily begin this mapping study by simply drawing out those notes on the neck within a 5 fret-range.

And, I’d suggest that doing this type of an exercise is a perfect chance for once again using the “Guitar Scientist” website.

5-Fret "E Minor" Note Map:

3). Once you’ve established a scale, you’ll want to work on it in pieces. One goal I would suggest is to never become over-whelmed with learning scales and learning the neck. Think slow, steady, daily progress.

This means take a section of your guitar neck, and study those notes in small areas.

You can go back to your layout on the Guitar Scientist website and start your study for this - by using limited octave range.

4). On the guitar, you’ll want to begin by developing your technique and your muscle memory for the scale segment you’ve chosen. Start slowly, and focus on committing the scale section to memory. Once memorized, begin working up some speed so that you technically start to feel a little more stable with the scale section.

Play the scale pattern with a metronome at different; durations, (quarter, eighth, sixteenth's).

5). The next stage of learning your scale is to start taking the scale segment that you’re working on, and play it laterally all over, all across the guitar neck keeping it on the same strings.

This will accomplish two things.

First, you’ll become more focused on the pattern itself, (no matter where that pattern is played on the neck).

And, the second thing is that this will help your left and right hand feel so that no matter where you play this shape on the neck, the left and right hand coordination will start feeling very connected, and very well-balanced.

Play the scale shape lateral along the span of the neck.

6). The next stage of learning your scales on the neck involves another level of technical control. But, this topic even goes beyond that.

What we’re going to practice next is called scale sequencing. A scale sequence is a mathematical note pattern using the degrees of the scale.

One of the easiest to learn is called the “Diatonic 3rds” sequence.

Here’s how a diatonic 3rds sequence works… 

7). The next area of study will involve expanding the working area of the neck within the scale that you’re practicing. And, one of the best ways to do this involves becoming fully aware of the unison tones for the scale that you’re working on.

So, let’s head back to the Guitar Scientist website to expand upon that “E” Minor scale segment we had, so that we can begin learning some new places to play scale notes by applying unison tones on the neck.

Expanded Range (new neck area):

8). Listening skills will be our next area. Once you start doing this, you’ll be amazed at how far this will go toward helping you memorize not only the scales on the neck, but also how they sound to your ear.

And, this work is actually very easy to do because it only involves listening and matching pitch to the sound of the scale tones as they move within a selected range.

So, what we’ll do is use that new scale range up at the 5th string’s 7th fret, and we’ll do some playing and pitch matching through singing along with each scale degree.

Play and sing the scale segment located from 5th-string seventh fret.

9). The next area that I want to focus on is to start using the scale to do some loosely structured composition with.

Now, this topic is often referred to as, “Noodling.” And that’s a great way to describe it really, because all we’re doing is experimenting with testing our way through notes, finding passages to connect with, so that we can begin getting a feel for the scale and what it’s truly capable of.

To do this, you don’t need backing tracks or anything other than your creativity and your imagination…

Use both scale segments (2nd and 7th position) to practice doing "Noodling."

10). The final practice topic that I want to complete this discussion on is the idea of taking the scale (that’s being worked on), into a direction of a much more serious melodic approach, in where there’s a composition that gets worked out.

This idea revolves around creating a composed idea that eventually will lead toward a final goal of improvisation.

This means that we need to become focused with the scale in a practice direction that has a goal of first creating a melody line, and then using that melody as a springboard to create some improvised lines as well. 

Example Jam:

Here’s how this would operate...
  • 1. Create a simple jam-track in a key (E minor) 
  • 2. Record your jam on a looper pedal 
  • 3. Play it back and compose a worked out melody 
  • 4. Use the melody to start testing out some improvisation

If you want to develop your awareness of scales on the neck, your skill for playing them, and your technical control for using scales up to a really high level of ability, then taking a scale through these ten steps will go a long way to helping you completely develop them.

The first thing you’ll need to realize is that this is going to take quite a bit of time to be able to get down. Mainly due to the work involved of making it through all of the keys.

In this video we only did a general overview with our work using the key of “E” Minor. Of course, there’s a lot more work that could be done on that key.

And then, there’s all of the other keys of both major and minor plus there’s the modes, and other scale variations. It’s a lot to cover, but over time things will start to work out and you’ll be able to use your scales on the guitar at a really high level of performance.



Join Now

Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes