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The Benefit to Learning Only Two Guitar Scales Positions

Date Added: December 03, 2013 02:28:10 PM
At my site, in the section on guitar scales, I've presented the six most common guitar scales in their most common positions. As opposed to presenting the scales in all five positions as is common in the CAGED system, I've focused the presentation on the two most common positions for each scale. In the comments I've noticed the question as to why these scales are presented in two positions rather than five, so I thought I would write this article to outline my reasoning here.

I agree that it is the case that the more fretboard knowledge you have the better. As such, knowing these scales in all five positions is beneficial. However, you sometimes encounter guitarists that believe you should say learn all modes of the major scale in all positions up front.

There is a lot more to learning to improvise with scales than to simply learn the scale patterns. You also need to spend significant time learning to form musical phrases with the notes of a scale. This will involve experimenting, using the notes of the scale to form phrases that sound good to you. Beyond this, you will also need to start to apply this process over relevant backing tracks and keep going until the process is quite spontaneous (i.e. improvisation).I am a believer in starting to integrate these more musical parts of the process up front with a limited number of scale positions rather than memorising a large number of positions without starting to move toward improvisation with the fret board knowledge you have.

As such, by limiting your initial knowledge to simply the most common scales in their most common positions, you can learn to improvise with these positions very early in the process. Once you have learned to use these scales and positions, you will have a strong understanding of the process and it should be quite quick to add other positions and scales to your knowledge.

I certainly don't believe in limiting your knowledge to the scales and positions I presented but rather have used these positions as a possible starting point. The benefit of adopting the scales/positions I presented is that I believe these are the most commonly used for many accomplished rock and popular music guitarists. By mastering these positions, you may have the basis for say 80% of the soling of many accomplished rock/blues/popular music guitarists under your belt before you start expanding your repertoire with other positions and scales.

Of course, another thing I believe is very important when going through this process is to learn at least a bit of basic theory relating to guitar scales. The most important piece of theory to learn would be how to form chords from a scale so that these chords form a family of chords that operate in the same key. Another piece of valuable theory is how to form modes from a scale as illustrated in my site using the major scale as an example.

I hope this article has been helpful.