Learning guitar scales prepares you for the fun of playing riffs and solos. If you know your scales but you don’t know how to take the next step, try one of these tips from guitar teacher James W…
Are you tired of playing the same old licks and runs over and over again? Do you want to add some new dimensions to your guitar solos and riffs? If so, this blog post is for you. In it, we will explore seven ways to use movable guitar scales to write solos and riffs.
You have 7 notes to choose from and the following 7 steps will help you in ways you cannot even predict. Most guitar players learn the basics such as the 5 basic major scale patterns in G major and go on to learn them in the other major keys as well. Perhaps you know what a pentatonic scale is in these keys by now, and you’re ready to take the next step.
What is a Moveable Scale?
A movable guitar scale:
- Is type of scale that can be played in multiple positions on the guitar
- Is unlike a fixed scale, which is limited to one area of the fretboard, because a movable scale can be shifted up or down the neck
- This allows for greater flexibility and a wider range of notes
Learning movable scales is essential for any guitarist who wants to break out of standard box patterns and explore the full range of the instrument. With a little practice, you’ll be able to play any melody using just a few simple shapes.
The best way to learn movable guitar scales? Take guitar lessons! You’ll learn all about this plus other cool info like what you see in the video below:
Are Guitar Scales Movable?
Yes! Here’s how to use movable guitar scales to write solos.
After you have learned these guitar scales all over the neck you have a roadmap that is both clear and useful, but you may be at a loss as to what to do with them. Simply playing the patterns in time with your drummer or metronome does not make it sound like music with a capital “M”. How do you write guitar riffs and create convincing solos? Take heart because I have the answer for you!
Step 1. Target The Note
Start by targeting the notes that are the basis of the key the song is in. For instance, if you’re playing in the key of G Major, playing the G Major scale in different positions on the neck is fun, so you target the note G in different spots on the neck. It is like connecting the dots. Now move the scale up a whole step to the fifth position on the neck but still target the note G. This is a good idea as it frees you up to improvise.
Step 2. Move the Basic Scale Patterns
Close your eyes and visualize the neck of the guitar and play freely. When you find a pattern you like, move it up a whole step. The reason this works is because there is only two notes difference between G Major and A Major. You will very quickly see that this is both fun and exciting as it opens up new possibilities in your playing to express yourself. If you hit a wrong note simply remove it from your solo or riff idea or slide into the next note using the “wrong note” as a grace note or passing note. Listen carefully for what sounds good.
Step 3. Give The Notes Numbers
We give each note of the scale a number. For instance in C Major C is 1, D, is 2, E is 3, and so on. Now it is time to begin by playing with the idea of assigning number patterns to each scale and moving the order of the notes around. For instance you might start by playing 1, 3, 5, 2, 1. Then mix it up. Your ears will tell you what works.
Step 4. Make Your Guitar Sing
Many of my friends and students ask me: how do you make the guitar sing? I like to sing or hum a melody out loud first and then find those notes on the neck of the guitar. It is also useful to go to the piano and find the notes in the scale of G Major or whatever key the song is in. Then sing the melody by picking the notes out on the piano and then transfer it to your guitar! This not only makes your solo more interesting but it helps you improve your ear and song arranging skills at the same time.
Step 5. Riff This Way
What is a riff? A riff is a short idea played on the electric guitar that locks in with the beat. Joe Perry of Aerosmith successfully uses riffs to make songs really appeal to his fans. Listen to “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith and you will hear how Joe’s riff makes the song great and propels it forward. A great riff can even double as a “hook” that keeps us coming back to the song again. The rule is learn your favorite riff from a song you love to play along to. Take your time and play it correctly even if it takes several days or weeks to master it.
Step 6. Hammer on and Pull Off
Use techniques like sliding into a note, hammer ons, and pull offs to increase your tempo with grace and ease. Have your guitar teacher show you how to do this if you are not familiar with the technical aspect of playing hammer ons and pull offs. You don’t have to get it all in one day. Be adventurous and take chances. If you are not on stage it doesn’t matter if you hit a wrong note as this is part of the learning process and good ear training. Next time you have a great idea record it into your iPhone. It may be a million seller and bring joy to everyone in the world.
Step 7. Rap to The Beat
If all else fails do this: Rap to the beat. Choose some grunting noises or three or four of your favorite words and rap to a drum beat loop on your laptop. Now transfer your rap/grunt sounds to the guitar using any notes you like in first position on the neck.
You are now a successful Riffmaster! Opening up to new ideas and new ways makes you a successful learner and guitarist all in one. Never underestimate your ability to learn something new and add it to your list of cool things to do on guitar.
Are All Guitar Scales Movable?
When we talk about guitar scales, we’re usually talking about major or minor scales. The notes in a major scale are: root, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and octave. The notes in a minor scale are: root, flat third, fourth, flat fifth, flat seventh, and octave.
So, what does it mean when we say that a scale is “movable?” It means that we can start the scale on any note and the pattern of whole and half steps will remain the same. For example, if we start a C major scale on the third fret of the low E string, the notes will be: E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E.
Notice that we’ve just played a G major scale starting on the third fret! We can do this with any scale pattern; as long as we start on the right note, the pattern of whole and half steps will create the desired scale.
So yes – all guitar scales are movable!
Are Pentatonic Scales Moveable?
Yes, pentatonic scales are moveable on the guitar. This means that you can play a pentatonic scale in any key by starting on any note.
For example, if you want to play a G major pentatonic scale, you could start on the 3rd fret of the low E string.
Alternatively, you could start on the 10th fret of the A string. The notes would be the same, but they would be in a different order. This is because the guitar is tuned in intervals of fourths, which affects the way that scales are constructed. However, once you understand how pentatonic scales are built, you can easily apply them to any key.
Is There a Pattern to Guitar Scales?
Many beginners to guitar find themselves quickly overwhelmed by the number of different scales they are expected to learn. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.
However, there is good news for those who are just starting out: there is a pattern to guitar scales. By understanding this pattern, you can quickly learn any scale you need.
The key to understanding the pattern of guitar scales is to think of the fretboard as a circle. Each note on the fretboard repeats after 12 frets, meaning that there are only 12 different notes in total.
This means that once you know one scale, you can quickly and easily learn any other scale simply by starting on a different note. For example, if you know the C major scale, you can easily play the G major scale by starting on the third fret.
While it may seem daunting at first, understanding the pattern of guitar scales is essential for any beginner who wants to master the instrument. By taking the time to learn this simple concept, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a virtuoso in no time.
Guitar Movable Scale Patterns
The guitar is a versatile instrument that can be used to play a wide range of musical styles. One of the things that makes the guitar so versatile is its ability to play movable scale patterns.
Again, a movable scale pattern is a series of notes that can be played in any key, simply by moving the pattern up or down the fretboard. This makes it possible to play the same scale in multiple keys, without having to learn a new fingering for each one.
As a result, movable scale patterns are an essential tool for any guitar player who wants to be able to play in multiple keys. There are many different movable scale patterns that can be used on the guitar. Let’s take a closer look.
Guitar Movable Minor Scale
The guitar movable minor scale is a versatile tool that every guitar player should master. This scale can be played in any key, making it ideal for improvising and composing. Additionally, the movable minor scale can be used to create a variety of chord progressions.
For example, by starting on the third fret of the low E string, a player can create a minor chord progression in the key of Em. By starting on the fifth fret of the low E string, a player can create a minor chord progression in the key of G. By starting on the seventh fret of the low E string, a player can create a minor chord progression in the key of Bb.
Movable Chromatic Scale Pattern Guitar
To do this, each fret on the guitar neck represents a half step on the chromatic scale. For example, if you were to play the open string (the string without any frets pressed down), you would be playing an E. If you then pressed down the first fret, you would be playing an F.
Pressing down the second fret would give you an F#, and so on. This movable nature of the guitar allows for a great deal of flexibility in playing notes and chords.
Movable Major Scale Guitar
The movable major scale is one of the most versatile tools a guitar player has at their disposal.
By understanding how to form and play the scale in different positions, a guitar player can unlock a wealth of possibilities when it comes to soloing and improvisation. The key to making the most of the movable major scale is to understand how it is constructed.
The scale is made up of seven notes, which are played in this order: root, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh. Each note in the scale corresponds to a degree, or step, on the major scale. For example, the root note is the first degree, the second note is the second degree, and so on.
Once you know how to form and play the movable major scale in one position, you can easily apply it to other positions on the fretboard.
Get Started Writing Solos With Movable Guitar Scales Today!
Movable guitar scales are a great way to get started writing your own solos. By learning a few simple patterns, you can instantly create interesting and compelling melodies.
Best of all, movable scales can be used in any key, giving you the freedom to explore different tonalities. So grab your guitar and let’s get started! Sign up for guitar lessons and start grooving today.
James W. teaches guitar, singing, and acting lessons in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in teaching pop, rock, and modern country guitar styles. James has been teaching for 10 years and joined the TakeLessons Team in 2010. Learn more about James here!
Photo by ManOnPHI