Guitar Scales - Major Scale, Minor Scale, Blues Scale, Pentatonic Scale

A Guitar Scale is a group of notes played in a certain order based on how far apart the notes are from each other. Parts of guitar scales are often used when playing guitar solos and lead guitar.

A good understanding of scales also helps in creating more complex chords by knowing which notes to add to a simple triad or chord. Guitar scales are also a good warm up exercise and help improve finger dexterity.

How to Read Guitar Scale Diagrams

Major Scales

The major guitar scale is the basis from which other guitar scales and guitar chords are built from.

Natural Minor Scales

The natural minor guitar scale is also known as the Aeolian Mode. A natural minor scale can be played using the same notes as a major scale starting on the 6th note of the major scale.

Harmonic Minor Scales

Harmonic minor guitar scales are very similar to natural minor guitar scales with the exception of one note. To play a harmonic minor scale, raise the 7th note of the natural minor guitar scale by a half step.

Minor Pentatonic Scales

The minor pentatonic guitar scale is a five note scale. The minor pentatonic scale's use is popular in rock lead guitar riffs and soloing, and is usually played over chord progressions that start with a minor chord.

The Blues Scale

The blues guitar scale is an extension of the minor pentatonic scale, adding the 5♭ (flat fifth) of the scale. This note is often referred to as the "blue note" and adds tension to the scale.

The Major Blues Scale

The Major Blues Scale is an extension of the Major Pentatonic Scale that adds the 3♭ (flat third) note to the scale.

Major Pentatonic Scales

The major pentatonic guitar scale is usually played over major chords, and is used in rock music as well as country music.

Scale Modes

Scale modes are played by starting the Major Scale on different notes of the scale.