I bought an electric guitar 4 month's ago. I started learning scales and such, but I don't understand why is it good, or important.

closed as too broad by Tim, Richard, Shevliaskovic, Carl Witthoft, Doktor Mayhem Mar 3 '17 at 13:21

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    Hi and welcome. By 'soloist', can you add a bit more detail - do you mean being able to improvise lead lines as part of a band? Or something else? – topo morto Mar 2 '17 at 22:27
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    You must forget about "being a good soloist" and concentrate on learning what music is and how to be a good guitarist . – Carl Witthoft Mar 3 '17 at 13:07
  • Yes, I wan't to improvise – Vigi Menyhárt Gyula Mar 3 '17 at 13:19
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    Vigi- please read the links in the Realated sidebar to the right, such as music.stackexchange.com/questions/16005/… – Doktor Mayhem Mar 3 '17 at 13:23

When you are improvising a solo, you want to be able to hit the note you intend, when you want it. Selecting the correct notes in a key or chord quickly is a matter of muscle memory in the hand. To develop the muscle memory of where the notes are, scales and their associated arpeggios can be practiced until the muscles remember the locations of the notes.

That is to say, if you are playing in C major, your brain knows that you are using C major scale, and if you've practiced the notes of C major enough, your muscle memory will take over and you will play the correct fingering to play the notes of that scale without having to think about where those notes are.

Besides scales and arpeggios for each key, there are other practice passages that work different note combinations into muscle memory. Some jazz studies practice common jazz riffs repetitively to make those licks available on demand while soloing.


Scales are important mostly to the extent they match things you are imagining in your head to play in a solo. You might want to learn different scales, e.g., pents or blues or modal, if the scales you are learning are major/minor or classical and you are aiming for being a rock/blues solo guitarist. It is important to be able to take an idea in your head/ear/imagination and know immediately how to execute it on your instrument. Scales and other technique can help with this, but not every scale works with every style. Who do you emulate?


Scales on metronome. Improvisation scales on metronome. Only increase speed when the old speed works throughout the entire scale.

This is totally tedious but being a compelling soloist means being in control of the execution and making all deviations from tempo, strict beat, and scales deliberately. If you are playing at the limit of your capacities, the material and its difficulties are in control and you come off worse than a lifeless computer rendition: listening to your mistakes is distracting and tiresome and spoils recognizing and enjoying your musical plan easily.

The relation to the beat must always govern your play. Whatever distance you put between it and your play must originate from your musical mind, not your fingers.

Of course, you are mostly a beginner so it does not make sense to practice in a manner that will make you quit the instrument. Finding your personal balance turning the instrument constructively into an obsession is actually the most important thing to becoming a good soloist.

You can be as effective with your practice as you want: when you stop practising, there will be no gains.

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