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Hi to everybody!


I´ve been playing for half a year and would like to move up to playing scales.

Which scale should I learn first?? Major, minor or minor pentatonic? There don´t seem to

be no hard and fast rules... How did you guys to it, did you follow a certain sequence?

Also, what would be a good way to practise scales so it´s fun?


Thank you!


Kind regards, Lil

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A lot of people will say learn the pentatonic first.  Who knows that may be correct, but I started with the major "boxes" up and down the fretboard.  Also learn how to harmonize the scale.  Tom Kolb has a great book on music theory for guitar.  His book will teach about the scales - how they are formed and how to harmonize them.  Learning scales will also help with your speed as well.  Also, as a bonus, if you do the scales slowly at times and say the notes while you are playing them, you'll learn the fretboard.

have fun!!


Yes use scales as a way to train your fingers and to learn the fretboard. Play them musically though - meaning with attention to the rhythm, dynamics, and sound of your playing. You might find a scale that speaks to you as a place to begin. Have fun with it. At the end of your scale practice, improvise without concern with what you have just be working with and you may be surprised!

I usually start students with the minor pentatonic scale. One of the most popular patterns is the "E" or 6th string root pattern. It is used in a lot of rock and blues music, and although it is not the only scale you want to play for the rest of your life, you can find some really cool sounds (the minor 3rd) and you can apply some cool techniques (slides, double stops, hammer on's and pull off's) to make your practice more enjoyable.


Here are some blues jam tracks I posted where you can take that scale pattern for a ride:

(skip the first jam track video, that one is for students who are learning their chord tones)


Susan Palmer

Author of, "The Guitar Lesson Companion"

Free Sample, Free Videos:

Thank you guys for your answers!

I think I'll start with the pentatonic scale first. Thank you Susan for the jam tracks, that's brilliant!

That might be a stupid question but for the first jam track in C major  for instance, do I play an A minor pentatonic scale over that? If yes, is the relative minor the only minor key I can play over C major??


Kind regards, Lil

Hi Lil,


I'm glad you enjoy the tracks. That's a great question about the first jam track up there. You could play an "A" minor pentatonic over the C Major 7 chord, and you could experiment with other minor pentatonic scales over it too, which can give you a pretty sophisticated mess of notes to play with. That track was designed for students who are learning their chord tones, and I personally think it is pretty boring to jam on that one because it just hangs on each chord for such a long time. But, if you enjoy it, that's awesome.



Susan Palmer

I started with the minor pentatonic scale and the minor blues scale. Then I learned a pattern sliding it up the neck. One pattern with the Root on the 6th string, and another similar pattern with the Root on the 5th string. It took about a week to memorize the pattern, now playing with a jamtrack is a lot of fun. I am starting the Major scale now.

Thank you rlv, that was very helpful! Apart from the scale pattern that I didn't understand but that will be my limited knowledge, all I know so far is the basic Am pentatonic pattern 1-4, 1-3, 1-3, 1-4, 1-4... When you say nut what do you mean? The open string? Sorry about being so dim...

And James, that sounds like a plan, to learn a pattern for each string!

To make it fun first learn a scale and learn to do it fairly quick.  Then put on songs in various keys and simply start playing the scale over them.  It will sound like dissonant nonsense at first, then you will start hitting some cool notes, then some cool notes together, then tagging verses and choruses.

And you will have learned a bunch of new riffs that are YOURS.  You will be improvising and developing a style, which is where you want to go eventually anyway.  Everything you need is in the scale.

The next step is to move the scale position up the neck.  Try playing the scale over the song in the upper registers on the fretboard--develop your riffs.

The final thing is moving your riffs up and down the neck.

Everything you need is in the scale but what you want is in your feel for the song.

Just play every day.  Warm up with some scales, put on some songs and just play--if it sounds like crap today, tomorrow it can sound like a treasure--YOUR treasure.


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