All Scales Work Better if You Do THIS! (JUST ONCE)

Learning about scales, (like the Major and Minor Pentatonic Scale) is one of the most classic forms of guitar practice that we use for learning how to build more involved ideas with the scale patterns. That said, it is not the scale pattern alone that powers our scale knowledge on the guitar. Rather, it is the concept of musical use through, "Tonality."






When we learn to understand specifically how a scale forms Major or Minor we become more involved in scale musicianship (a deeper knowledge of how scales are used to create music).


This can be a problem however if only one of the tonalities starts to take over the scale geometry for us. Playing only in one tonality will take away from the contribution of sound that is important to us as musicians. 






When it comes to learning how to use scales, often times it’s not what you do in the practice of them, but rather it’s "how" you do it that matters the most. 


Guitar players generally don’t study scales like a horn player would, and we typically don’t approach learning scales in the same way that a piano player would study them. Guitar Players tend to learn scales by memorizing geometrical patterns.


Now, today I’m going to show you - using just one exercise - how a scale can be approached so that the tonality of the pattern will be the focus of what it is that you’re learning to hear. 


Tonality, (if you’re not familiar with that term), it refers to organizing music around a central note. What we often call the Tonic. See scales promote either a Major or a Minor tonality based upon how we end up pointing toward a Tonic note of the scale pattern.






Example 1).
The scale pattern below is a popular low-region Minor Pentatonic shape for the key of, “F Minor.” Play it through to learn how it sounds…


If we explore the note names of the above scale shape, we discover that our “F Minor Pentatonic,” has its naming notes of, “F” sitting on the 4th and 2nd strings. 




In order to connect the scales tonality, all we need to do is create a melodic statement that points into the Tonic note of, “F.” To demonstrate how this works within our pattern, I’ve composed a simple 2-measure idea that I’ll teach you right now. 




Coming up next, I’m going to go over how you can make a simple change to our pattern so that it relates into a major key.


But, before we head into that, I want to tell you about a special promotional offer that’s related to my; Handouts Collection eBook.



I wanted to take a minute to let you know, that if you want to learn even more about scales and theory I have a great offer for you.

With any donation over $5, or any merchandise purchase from my Tee-Spring store, I’ll send you free copies of THREE of my most popular digital handouts.

One is called, “Harmonized Arpeggio Drills” (it’ll train you on developing your diatonic arpeggios).

Another one is my “Barre Chord” Handout which includes a page showing all the key signatures along with a chord progression that applies barre chords.

Plus, you’ll get my Notation Pack! It has 8 pages of important guitar worksheets for notating anything related to; music charts, guitar chord diagrams, and TAB.

As a BONUS, (from my "Over 40 and Still Can't Play a Scale" video), I'll also throw in a breakdown of all of the chords that are diatonic to the "F Major" scale.

As an EXTRA BONUS for my Phrygian Dominant video, I'll also throw in a breakdown featuring all of the chords that are diatonic to the Phrygian Dominant scale.

Just send me an email off of the contact page of to let me know about either your donation or your Merchandise purchase and I’ll email you those digital handouts within 24 hrs.   




When we develop our scales, the work that we put into each pattern on the neck can be expanded further by going beyond a single tonality, (we don’t want to get trapped viewing the scale shape “seen and practiced,” as just one tonality).


We need to view the shape as having both Major and Minor tonality and then apply our practice time toward phrasing worked out melodic lines. 


We can use work at melodic composition as a way to become 10x better at not just committing the scale pattern to memory, and hearing the scale’s sound from each root note, but we’ll also get better at creating music with the scale shape. 


Next, let’s study how the Minor Pentatonic scale, (and the associated melodic statement) from our first exercise can be studied from the direction of the “Major” tonality.






Example 2).
The shape of the scale pattern design for establishing the "Major" tonality is the exactly the same shape as was used in our first Pentatonic pattern. Except now, the roots are focused on the scale tone of, “A♭.” Play through the scale shape (below) to learn how it sounds… 



With the note of "A♭" getting the focus as our root, we gain a new tonality out of the orientation of the scale tones toward the sound of, “A♭ Major.” Study the scale tones as shown below.

If we explore the note names of this shape, we find out that our “A♭ Major Pentatonic,” has its naming notes of, “A♭” sitting upon the 4th and 1st strings.



The next thing we’ll do is connect the scales tonality, all we need for that is to create a melodic statement that points into the Major Tonic note of, “A♭.” To demonstrate this with our pattern, I’ve composed another 2-measure melodic idea. 




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