3 Errors You Must Avoid Whenever You Play Scales On Guitar

by Tom Hess

Scales are very important for your guitar playing (as I’m sure you already know), yet so many guitarists never actually learn how to practice them efficiently. As a result, they are unable to improvise well and have very limited potential for becoming great.

Here are the three major mistakes you need to avoid while practicing guitar scales:

Mistake #1. Learning Scales Without Knowing How To Apply Them

You won’t become a great guitarist by simply learning additional scales – you must learn how to apply the scales you know on a deeper level.

As soon as you learn the pattern for a scale, work on learning how to use it while improvising and familiarize yourself with its sound. Listen for examples of the scale being used by your favorite lead guitarists, put together your own ideas for new licks and research how other guitarists have applied this scale into music. As soon as you can confidently use a specific scale while improvising, you know you are ready to move on and learn another scale.

Warning: I don’t mean you should practice the same scale for years and years. The main point is that you don’t try to learn tons of scales at once and overwhelm yourself.

Mistake #2: Only Learning Scales In A Couple Of Positions

In order to fully master a particular scale, it is necessary to understand how to play it anywhere on the fretboard. If you only know how to play a scale in a couple of positions on guitar, your creative freedom will become very restricted.

To make sure you don’t run into this issue, work consistently to improve your fretboard visualization skills. Think of the guitar neck as a single scale pattern and become totally fluent with it.

Note: a lot of methods for learning scales actually make this harder than it needs to be. To quickly and effectively learn how to visualize scales on the fretboard, work together with an experienced guitar teacher.

Mistake #3. Not Using An Efficient Method For Learning New Guitar Scales

It’s essential that you have an efficient approach for learning a new scale, visualizing it on the fretboard and applying it into your playing.

It is a mistake to think that all methods for learning scales are of equal value. In fact, a lot of scale learning methods are flawed at best, destructive to your playing at worst. One example of this, is the commonly used CAGED. Learning this system leads to massive problems with creativity and guitar technique.

Learn why the CAGED system is bad for your guitar playing and what to do instead to master scales on guitar.

Don’t make these mistakes and you will see your guitar playing becoming better and better at a much faster rate.


Author's Bio: 

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and virtuoso guitar player. He teaches guitar players from all over the world in his online guitar lessons. Visit his website tomhess.net to get free guitar playing resources and to read more guitar playing articles.