Learn Guitar Scales (and modes)
The Smart Way
The best way to learn guitar scales is not by memorizing fingering patterns. The issue with memorizing fingering patterns is that this does not help you understand. It doesn't help you understand the guitar fretboard. It doesn't help you understand the music. What, then, is the best way to learn guitar scales and modes?
It's not the notes, it's what you can do with them
Knowing dozens of different scale patterns, in a bunch of different positions will not necessarily help you make better music. The reason is simple: if you don't understand the relationships between all those notes, you won't be able to make much sense of these scales.
The smart way to learn guitar scales, in fact, is far easier. It does not involve rote, nor does it involve dozens upon dozens of meaningless boxes with dots in them. It simply involves understanding. Because if you understand how these scales are built, you will begin to see that all the different scales and modes have got more in common than you think.
Once you understand the different scales and modes, you will find out that there is no need to practice millions of patterns. This is a huge time saver!
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You probably know pentatonic scales and patterns. Even just the very basic ones everyone plays. What you may not know, however, is that you can use these same patterns to play:
The cool thing here, is that all of these scales and chords are all part of the exact same tone matrix. Once you drive that into your brain, the fretboard will look like a completely different thing. It will begin to take on shape. You will start finding more and more of the sounds in your head, on the fretboard, without having to test out every fret on every string before you match the two.
Your soloing and improvisation will take on a whole new dimension of coolness and meaning. Simply because you will now understand the fretboard!
How do I practice this to save time?
The best way to practice and learn guitar scales is to understand them from three different points of view:
Once you integrate these three, you can just let go, and let the feelings and the sheer energy of the music take over. Think about theory just as much as you need, until you really get it. Then just let go and enjoy the ride!
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