Scales & Modes
So first of all, CONGRATULATIONS on making it to this page! A lot of people are scared by the word "scale" they kinda know they should learn some, but they think they're boring and hard and complicated but...
Scales are great fun when you know how to make music with them!
Before you start on learning scales it's very important you know: why you should learn a particular scale, where you can use it, how to make music with it, what pattern (or system) to learn and when to forget it!
I recommend that you learn scales in a practical environment. My Blues Lead Guitar series will teach you all about using The Minor Pentatonic, The Blues Scale, The Major Pentatonic, Dorian and Mixolydian Modes. I have a DVD (and download) called Master The Major Scale which goes into a detailed practical approach to learning to use that.
While these lessons are mostly for reference, I hope to get you making music out of scales as soon as possible, and realizing that they were not designed to make children hate music (which is what I thought until I was about 16) but are a really useful tool for writing, improvising and understanding music!
You'll find lots of information about the most commonly used scales and modes, including my favourite fingerings, alternative fingerings and patterns that I know are in common usage. Some of it is here as 'reference material' but these lessons are all about you making music from scales. Hope you enjoy them!
START HERE: Learning & Using Scales
You might save yourself a whole lot of wasted time! Sometimes it's best NOT to learn scales!
This module contains a lot of super useful information for anyone new to scales and how to use them, and some really helpful stuff for even more advanced players. Get your eyes on this before getting stuck into your scale patterns!
Scale Info For Beginners
What are scales? Why should people learn them? What is the point? Where should I start? Someone said that people who learn scales have no feel, is that true?
Scale Info for Intermediates
These lessons will help Intermediate level players and beyond understand how to learn and use scales effectively and hopefully help avoid confusion around minor scales...
The Pentatonic Scales
Pentatonic Scales are what most people start with. Some think of them as being 'the major scale with the tricky notes taken out' which is not far from the truth! But it's not just about them being 'easy', they're the alphabet that we use to create words in many languages, including Blues, Rock, Jazz and Country! Be aware that scales are just alphabets and if you want to speak a language you gotta learn words (licks!) so always better to learn scales as part of a course (like my Essential Blues Lead Guitar) - they're presented here as reference material not a how to use course!
Minor Pentatonic Scale
The Minor Pentatonic Scale is one that pretty much everyone should learn, regardless of the style you want to play because it's a real foundation for many language sty...
Major Pentatonic Scale
The Major Pentatonic is confusing for some because visually the scale patterns looks the same as The Minor Pentatonic but the notes function in a very different way so...
The Major Scale and its Modes
The Major Scale is the foundation of all Western harmony and is obviously very important to study in both theory and practice. The information here is presented as a reference, if you want to crack into using it then I recommend my Master The Major Scale DVD course first of all. I will get my Modes course sorted as soon as this big web update is out of the way! :)
The Major Scale is the most important scale in Western music. It forms the foundation for all music theory and is also very practical and can be used creatively easily...
Major Scale Modes
This series is a pretty complete course on learning modes but I must get around to filming the video lessons for the series, will hit it as soon as the revamped websit...
Major Scale 3NPS
3 Note Per String patterns are super effective for connecting the CAGED Patterns, simplifying melodic sequences, speed picking, playing fast legato lines and more!
The Minor Scales
Please check the lesson about the different minor scales before studying these, or you might just waste a whole bunch of time - just like I did. Learn scales when you know why you should learn them and not before!
Harmonic Minor Scale
The Harmonic Minor is a Natural Minor with a raised 7th degree which enables a Dominant V chord! If that don't make sense yet, you might not need to learn it!
Melodic Minor Scale
The Melodic Minor has the same notes as a Major Scale with a flat 3rd. Early classical musician used it ascending (and Pure Minor descending) but Jazz musicians use it...
Melodic Minor Scale Modes
Two modes of the Melodic Minor are super useful. The Super Locrian (The Altered Scale) is very commonly used and is super cool (also see my lesson on Altered Harmony)....
There are two very interesting scales that are symmetrical in intervals, the Diminished Scale and The Whole Tone. They are both very interesting and have very specific uses, so learn them when you know how you'll use them!
Diminished Scale (Half Whole)
Diminished scales can be a lot of fun but these are one of those ones you really should know WHY you are learning it before you do - or you might find yourself wasting...
Diminished Scale (Whole Half)
This whole half Diminished Scale is used over Diminished 7 chords... most times the arpeggio works better to my ear but the scale is useful as well over those particul...
Whole Tone Scale
This scale works of Dominant 7#5 chords or can be used to create tension in other environments too - it's a fun one to explore and has angular geometric patterns on th...
In this section, I'll add some lessons about the best ways to work on scales, practicing them, using them 'for real', fingering logic, debates on the 'best' systems and anything else I think might be interesting or helpful! :)