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I am learning guitar since a month. I like to learn and practise scales a lot(as I hear they are the building blocks of lead guitar and I want to play lead eventually), but there being a million videos on youtube and all information scattered, I am confused where to begin, what are different scales, why they are important, etc. Can somebody help me with an advice telling me about scales assuming no knowledge on my part and what to start learning? Even linking me to an organized source of information will be great! Thanks a lot! I really need this help. Ah by the way, I play left-handed.

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3 Answers 3

As a beginner, I think 5 different sorts of scales will set you up for a good while.These are :- full major;full minor;pentatonic major;pentatonic minor and blues.

If you learn 2 octaves of each, not using open strings anywhere, you will be able to play in any key you need. Yes, it may be easier to use open strings initially, but as the guitar is a great instrument to transpose easily to all keys, make the effort.

Most of these scales (sets of notes) will fall under your 4 fretting fingers, so life is not too bad ! This means you can play (at least initially) without moving up or down.

The 2 pentatonics work well once you understand that ,for example, A minor has the same notes as C major, so the same 'box' works for both.

Actually, C major (full) has exactly the same notes as A natural minor, but you're best served by learning them as 2 distinct 'shapes'.Start and finish on the E strings, and you'll only need to leave the 'box' for one note, on the 3rd. string for the natural minor.

Once the pents are familiar, add the 'blue' note to the minor pent. That's a flat 5, which is found one fret lower than the fourth note you play in the min. pent. scale, in A blues, it'll be between the third and fourth notes from that min. pent. So that's the blues catered for.

One source if good info. is the RGT.,Registry of Guitar Tutors, which publishes exam syllabi and other guitar-related stuff.

You mention that you're left-handed. If this feels totally natural, carry on. However, there are many reasons for playing right-handed. On this site, several articles discuss this.

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Kindly link me to articles that discuss why people play right handed. Though I feel natural to play left handed –  Sameer Kulkarni Dec 4 '13 at 18:56
People play right handed because of the availability of guitars to borrow or buy. I would stay left if that is natural for you since I taught a lefty who tried right and it wasn't working. Go with what you feel is comfortable. –  r lo Dec 4 '13 at 19:41

The scale practice that works best for me is to simply pick a key and then go through all the modes, 2 octaves each.

Most commonly I begin with G major, then do a 2-octave major scale (G on low E string to G on high E string). Then, begin on A and play the 2-octave Dorian mode. It should be enharmonic (all the same notes, same key) aside from the fact that you are beginning and ending on different notes. Then move up to B and do 2-octave Phyrigian, continuing in this way through all modes, ending back on the Ionian (G major) at fret 15 rather than 3, where we started.

This should help you develop a solid grid in your mind of every note within a key, both horizontally and vertically. Once you're okay at it, try starting with a different note (F major? A major?) and translating this knowledge. You'll find that sometimes you have to begin your scales on the A string to avoid getting too high up the fretboard, but this is good as it will encourage you to learn some new voicings/octaves of the 2-octave scales.

I would also encourage you to learn pentatonic scales as they are common for "lead guitar solo" kindof stuff but they are pretty easily learned through muscle memory. Just study the basic forms, turn on a record, and start soloing.

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Learning scales on guitar are a series of straight forward rote exercises that you could, and probably will, spend the rest of your life working on. There are numerous places online and books that will give you lists of scales and how to play them, although not necessarily the best ways to practice them.

I suggest learning a few scales as other's have suggested, major/minor, on guitar but only to get a grasps of the actual notes on the fret board. At this point in time, memorizing scales and positions will be helpful but ultimately pointless if you don't have a grasps on why and how they work. Getting a handle on music theory to supplement your guitar practice will be much more helpful than memorization exercises that can be rather dull.

The best thing you can do is find a teacher. Probably a lot of the people here can give you a breakdown on the basics of music theory but it's a rather involved subject that takes time and practice. A good teacher can help you get a good grasps on theory and how it relates directly to guitar. They'll also be more readily available and once they get to know you better will be able to answer your questions, hopefully if they're a good teacher, in a way you can better understand. It can be costly but in the long run it's the best way to go and will be a much better use of your time than trying to scour the internet.

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