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Why Do We Need To Know The Guitar Scales?

Elvis Elvis

Guitar scales (musical scales) are basically the building blocks from which you build chords and create your solos from. They are a must to learn, if you want to someday be a great guitar player.

A guitar scale is a series of notes that are divided into half steps (1 fret on the guitar) and whole steps (2 frets on the guitar). A whole step and half step refer to the distance between the notes. A scale always starts with the root note, then ascends a pattern of whole steps and half steps until it reaches the octave of the root from which you started.

Probably one of the most important scales that you need to know is the major scale. All other scales basically are formed by slight variations of the major scale. Let’s look at the C major scale as an example, since there are no sharps or flats to deal with.

Why Do We Need To Know The Guitar Scales?

Half steps – H        Whole steps – W

As you can tell the half steps fall in between the 3rd and 4th (E, F) and the 7th and 8th (B, C). This pattern never changes for the major scale! You can play this scale in any key if you use the same pattern of whole steps and half steps.

As you can see for yourself, the same pattern of whole and half steps are used to make the up the G major scale. Like I mentioned above, this pattern of whole and half steps never change for the major scale.

Guitar scales are not only used as building blocks for your solos but also for building the chords for which you can play your solos over.

Let’s look at the C major scale again for ease of learning….

The C major scale consists of  7 notes ( 8 notes if you include the octave).

Then we have an easy way to build the chords that will sound good when played along with the major scale.

If we take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th note of the C major scale, we end up with the notes (C, E, G). These three notes form the chord or triad C major. Other chords for the key of C can be by built following this same procedure with the other notes in the scale.

I only have given you the basics of forming chords on this page. It’s just to give you an understanding of the importance of scales and why we should learn them. They are the building blocks from which all songs are constructed.

Hope you enjoyed this lesson.