Scale Workshop 101

Beginner · Modern Pick Style · 5 Lessons

Learning scales and knowing them are two very different things. To most studying guitarists the process of learning scales is tedious [understatement] but once a player knows how to construct and employ them creatively their music becomes colorful and gymnastic.

Listen to Tres Piezas Españolas or Concierto de Aranjuez written by Joaquin Rodrigo, Big Foot by Chet Atkins, Little Wing by Hendrix, Ed Van Halen's Eruption, Paco's La Barossa or Techincal Difficulties by Paul Gilbert!

Scales in First Position

Beginner · Modern Pick Style

Scales are an absolute blessing. Why? For laying down the boards that everything else is placed upon. Note clusters, chords, arpeggios, progressions, melodies, good grief our improvisational language are all derived from them. The downside is that once the thrill of playing clean and fast wear off we still need them for the maintenance of good technical postures, non?


Let's get down everybody. The fledgling practitioner and the intermediate in need of review will benefit greatly from this Vid'jo™ showing the C and G major scales in first position on my National Tri-cone Resonator. Be deliberate and consistent with your practice. Speed means NOTHING if the notes are muted and buzzing right? Practice slowly and the speed will be a natural result of your work.

The Many Faces of C Major

Beginner · Modern Pick Style

There is more than one way to perform a note, chord, scale or an arpeggio on the guitar. We're blessed with a multitude of timbres and position to combine and nurture. In this Vid'jo session we talk about re-voicing the C major (Ionian) scale in several positions so we are free to express ourselves using the entire fingerboard, not just one small subsection of it. At the conclusion of this session we play the scale in ascending thirds and then inverted 3rds to add some saucy, spiciness to our original scalar recipe.

Defining The Major Scale

Beginner · Modern Pick Style

In this Vid'jo we look at what makes the Major Scale (the Ionian mode) tick. A bit of basic music theory, non. Ouí. It's dissected and reassembled before our very eyes in several keys.

Defining Natural Minor

Beginner · Modern Pick Style

Have you ever wondered how the natural minor scale (a.k.a. the Aeolian mode) you love to play came into existence? This session dives into the necessary intervals that make up the morose, sorrowful sound of natural minor and how it's related to the blissful sound of the major scale. We also learn how to transpose from one minor key to another. Indeed!

Introducing Harmonic Minor

Beginner · Modern Pick Style

What a beautiful sound! Harmonic minor represents all that is beautiful and treacherous, loving and despicable about music. The tension, the angst, and ultimately the resolve. This key was, and is, used heavily in classical, eastern European, Arabic and Indian music. It's time to get crazy, everybody. Become one with the sound of harmonic minor on your guitars.