Are scale shapes moveable?

Yes, scale shapes are moveable.  When you move a scale shape, the distance, or intervals, between the notes on each string stays the same. 

Once I move a scale shape, how do I know what key I am now in?

This is where learning the notes along the Low E (thick string) and A string are important.  I encourage beginners to download a free copy of their fretboard off the web.  Where the root note begins after moving the scale shape, that will be your new key you will be playing in.

Why should I even bother to learn scales?

All music is built around scales.  Everything from progressions to lead and riffs.    You don't need to know every scale, but knowing how to play a few frontwards and backwards is important.  The knowledge will come in handy when you gig with other players.

You mentioned progressions.  What is a progression?

Progressions are a combination of notes or chords, strung together to form a piece of music.  Several progressions strung together make up a song.  Many simple songs are made up just using a 1, 4, 5 progression.

What do you mean by a 1, 4, 5 progression?

A 1, 4, 5 is what many songs are based around.  It gives you your chords or notes to use within  a certain key.  To locate your 1, 4, 5 chords, let's count off, beginning with the key you want to be playing in.  Let's pick the key of A.  So A is the 1, or root note.  to find your 4 chord, count off 4 notes, beginning with a.  A - B - C - D - so we see that the 4 chord would be a D chord.  Now to find the 5 chord in your progression, count off one more note, E.  So our 1, 4, 5 progression in the key of A would be the chords 1=A, 4=D, and 5 = E.

how am i suppose to play a scale when the root note is not the first note in the scale?

The same way you play any other scale.  Begin with the first note listed on the low E thick string, and play through the scale.

that makes it sound like it's not important to learn root notes.

Actually, it is very important to over time learn your root notes within a scale.  There are important guitar techniques that rely on you knowing those root notes, such as note targeting and playing octaves.

what is root targeting?

That is where you put together a riff, using a scale, and some of the notes within the scale, and keep going back to one of the root notes every 2 to 4 notes.  Note targeting really comes in handy for letting the listener know what key the riff is in.  If they keep hearing the A note, for instance, they know you are in the key of a.

I noticed that whenever I play my scales, they always sound like I am playing scales, why?  When my friend plays a scale it sounds totally different.

The main reason is most likely your friend is applying guitar technique's, most likely more then one, to the notes in the scale.  They are most likely tossing in some hammer ons and pull offs, , a slide or two, a little vibrato now and then, maybe even a bend or two.

So to make a riff, I use all that guitar technique you mentioned and play throught the notes of the scale as I go?

No.  This is where creativeity comes into play.  It's something you learn how to do through lots of practice.  Try taking just four notes from any scale, and mixing em up to see how many different sounds you can come up with, using two or three guitar techniques to start out on.  Just keep working at it and you will see how easy it really is to use scales to make your own riffs.

okay, i accidently hit a wrong note that isn't even in the scale i am using, but i liked how it sounded with the other notes.  Can I use this new note in my scale I am using?

Yes.  this is often referred to as dressing up a scale.  Many famous guitar players toss in one or two added notes to the ones in the scale they are using.  Just don't over do it. 

I am still having a little trouble coming up with my own riffs, what should i do?

Keep practicing at it, it will come to you.  In the meantime, put aside 5 to 10 minutes of your practice time to practice riffs by other guitar players.  It will help you see how they used notes in a scale.  You can also try experimenting around by changing  the order of their notes, or applying a few different techniques to the notes then what they did.  Be creative with your playing.

do famous guitar players play this way, changing up their notes or techniques within their songs?

Almost all guitar players do this.  It would be boring to spend 20 years playing the same songs night after night.  So to make things interesting, they are always changing things up, it's just part of being creative.

Earlier you mentioned octaves.  How do they relate to scales?

Octaves can add variety to your music by repeating some of the same notes an octave higher. 

So how do i find my octave notes in a scale?

The easyest way of finding your octave notes using a scale is by a simple fomular.  Play an A note on the low E string, for example, at the 5th fret.  Now count two strings down and two frets over to the right.  You should be at the D string, 7th fret.  This is the A note again, one octave higher..  You can also use the same fomular to find your lower octave by reversing the steps.  Play a G note on the D string, at the 5th fret.  Now count two frets back and then go two strings up.  IThis should take you to the low E string, 3rd fret.

is there another way i can use octaves in a scale other then just playing single notes?

Yes.  In fact, many top guitar players will play  both ocatives of the same note together for a really cool sound.  To play both octaves together, let's go back to our earlier example of playing the A note on the low E string and the higher octave of the a note on the D string at the 7th fret.  Fret both those two notes at the same time.  Now lightly lean one finger against the unfretted middle A string.

Now strum down across the low E, A, and D strings several times.  This is a more interesting way of playing octaves.  Nowjust slide the shape down to the 10th fret on the low E string and the 12th fret on the D string, and strum like before, remembering to lightly mute the middle A string.

What is an extended scale?

It is much like a box position you are probably use to seeing scales written in, however, on an extended scale, a few extra notes are added to the low end of the scale and a few extra notes are added to the higher end of the scale.  though a bit harder to learn, extended scales do give you greater range of tones.

what is a sliding scale?

Sliding scales really make the most  use of the fretboard, a single scale covering a greater distance on the fretboard.  To do this, some notes are played as normal, while other notes have you sliding up or down the fretboard several frets at a time.  You cover more ground on the fretboard, but sliding scales take longer to learn how to play frontwards and backwards. 

Are sliding scales also moveable shapes as well?

Yes, they are.  Again, move the entire shape of the scale from one root note to another to change the key of the scale.  To really be creative, combine regular box shapes with sliding scales.  This does take a lot of practice, moving in and out of a box shape as you jump in or out of a slideing scale, but it can really give you some wide open options on coming up with riffs.

I don't know any theory, but me and my friend want to jam.  He will be playing chords and I want to practice soloing over them.  Any advice?

The easyest way to jump into soloing over chords is to being with the major and minor pentatonic scales.  The two match up very nicely for what you and your friend want to do.  Let's start by assuming your friend will be playing chord progressions based primarily on major chords.  Use the minor pentatonic scale to try out your solo's.

If your friend will be using chord progressions made up primarily of minor chords, then try to come up with solo's using the major pentatonic scale.

If your friend wants to jam away on power chords, they are neither major nor minor, so base your solo on what sounds right.  In other words, let your ears tell you what sounds best.  this doesn't even scratch the surface of all the options available to you for soloing, but it is a first step.


If you have never been to the state of Maine, or experienced the beauty of acadia, I invite you to check out my free web site, a local guide to acadia National Park.  You will find articles, as well as many breathtaking videos of the park, and it is all free for you to enjoy.  And feel free to download my videos onto your computer for enjoying throughout the year.


Webs Counter

Super Share

Share on Facebook

Send to a friend

Google Translator


How to play a 1,4,5 chord progression on bass guitar

This lesson is aimed at those of you who are just starting out their journey on bass guitar.  The lesson breaked down a 1,4,5 chord progression in easy to follow steps and includes all the tabs you will need to get started with. .  Check out the article at the link below, strap on your bass, and let's get rockin.



This article on how to play octaves on a bass guitar is aimed at those just starting out on their journey into the world of Bass Guitar.  The lesson is laid out in easy to follow step by step format and includes all the tabs you will need to get started on.  Octaves allows bass players to double their sound by playing the same sets of notes.  Get plugged in and check out the link below.



If you have just purchased a Bass guitar and are looking for a place to get started on learning how to play, this is the perfect lesson for beginners.  Playing bass notes on a bass guitar are one of the easiest ways to ease into playing the instrument, and they are also great when first learning how to play along side a guitar player.  The lesson is easy and clear, with all the tabs you will need to get you started.



This lesson on adding the 5th note on bass guitar is aimed at the beginner bass guitar player.  The lesson at the link below is free, is easy to follow, and includes all the tabs you will need to get started with. 



Ever wonder why it is now matter what equipment you purchase, you just can't seem to sound just like your favorite guitar or bass player?  There is a very good reason behind why you can't, and this articles at the link below dives into the reasons why.  As an example I use Jimmy Page of the rock group Led Zeppelin to show what great lengths guitar and bass players go to in order to protect their unique sound.



The link below will take you to my abstract art collection.  I have been creating digital abstract art for some time now,  and I try and take a creative approach to all the subjects I cover, from guitars to skulls,  from fast cars to accident scenes, I think just about everyone will find something they like, andd something they don't, something dark and something enlightening, I try to cover a large area of topics in my creations, and they are free to view.