Scale Library Comparison
Scales are the building block of playing and writing songs on guitar. Having access to a scale library can be the difference between being embarrassed when you play in front of people and being comfortable soloing.
We’ve found the best guitar lessons with a scale library and compared them side by side. Check it out in the table below:
Western music is founded upon the twelve tone standard, or, in other words, twelve tones that make up the foundation of popular music. The twelve tones are known as the “Chromatic Scale”, broken down into seven natural notes: A, B, C, D, E, F, G and five sharp notes: A#, C#, D#, F#, G#.
From the chromatic scale (seven natural notes, and five sharp notes) musicians are capable of pulling notes and creating other scales. Scales are merely a sequence of notes selected from the original chromatic scale. They are vital in not only your understanding of music, but also learning the guitar. When you learn guitar scales you are able to understand why a particular piece sounds the way it does as well as how to create your own music.
Building a Scale
The twelve tones are measured by distances known as intervals. There are two basic types of intervals: ‘half step’ and ‘whole step’. A half step is a movement up or down one note from any other note. On the guitar you can visualize a half step by playing any note on the guitar and moving one fret up or down the same string and then playing that note. You’ve just moved a ‘half step’.
A whole step is the movement up or down two notes from any note. Once again you can visualize this on the guitar by playing any note on the instrument and then moving two frets up or down the same string.
Understanding intervals is necessary to playing the guitar because they will teach you how to play a musical scale. All scales are based on a starting point, known as the “root” note, and also have an ending point which is generally the higher root note (or the octave of the root). In between these two notes, the scale has a series of other notes that compose the scale.
Playing a Scale
The name of the scale depends on the ‘key’. For example, if the scale’s starting point is the C note you are playing that scale in the key of C. Scales are used in popular music to create a specific sound, or mood for the accompaniment.
By far the two most popular scales are the natural Major Scale and the natural Minor Scale. When you play the major scale the resulting sound is warm and happy. On the contrary, when you play the minor scale you get a sad or moody vibe. There are many other scales that you will learn as you progress throughout your guitar lessons.
The Major Scale
The major scale is played on the guitar by using the formula: W/W/H/W/W/W/H. The “W’ represents a whole step while the “H” represents a half step. You need to learn to memorize this formula because it will tell you how to apply the natural major scale to anywhere on your guitar.
So, for example, if are instructed to play the C Major Scale, you are going to begin the scale on the root of C, and then use the above major scale formula to find out where the other notes on the scale exist on the fretboard. If you’re playing A Major, the same formula applies only that you are beginning the scale on the A note.
The Minor Scale
The minor scale is the polar opposite to the major scale. The natural major scale is going to produce a sunny, happy sound while the minor scale is doing to be dark, and somber. Because of this quality, the natural minor scale (as well as other scales that derive from it) has a different formula. The minor scale formula is: 1/2/d3/4/5/d6/d7.
In English, this means that the minor scale formula is the exact same as the major scale aside form the third, sixth, and seventh intervals. Instead of playing the W/W/H/W/W/W/H you alter the 3rd, 4th and 5th intervals by flattening the note, making the equation: W/H/W/W/H/W/W.
For a beginner, understanding scales might resemble something of a foreign mathematical equation (and who really wants to learn math anyhow?). In reality, understanding guitar scales is actually much easier than you might anticipate. If you’re a visual learner (like most musicians are), scales will become easy to understand once you put them in practice on the actual instrument.
Additionally, beginner to advanced guitarists can improve their knowledge and understanding of scales by referencing and/or printing a scale chart. This handy little resource provides a quick reference to popular scales as well as the guitar chords that derive from them. Every wise guitarist should have access to scale charts.