How do you learn guitar scales? What are the ways that you can tackle this topic as you learn guitar in total?
We live in the information age, where every form of knowledge is at our fingertips.
If you have cell phone you can learn just about anything.
In this article I'll cover how to learn guitar scales quickly, using a combination of online resources (paid and free) and your own ability to teach yourself and absorb new information.
Online lessons don't replace the need to teach yourself, but they help you tremendously with figuring out what to focus on.
Getting a teacher is fine, and can be really helpful for social and feedback-oriented learners, but it's not necessary for many people.
Let's get started.
4 Guitar Lesson Programs that Help you Learn Scales
Some of the products we recommend are from companies we partner with. However, we also use these products and believe they are legitimately great options. If you click through our orange buttons and make a purchase, we might earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
1. Guitar Tricks
Guitar Tricks is our top recommendation for beginners and they have a ton of content on scales, modes, and lead guitar in general.
You would start with the Guitar Tricks Fundamentals 1 and 2 courses, which are taught by Anders Mouridsen. He covers all of the intro topics, including scales, and will walk you through each step in a well-organized and structured course.
Andrews is one of my favorite teachers to recommend.
If you want to just give it a test run, we recommend taking advantage of the free trial first.
It gives you 14 days free, and if it's not for you, just cancel and move onto one of our other options.
Note that Guitar Tricks also has a learning category section that curates all of their scales lessons and material in one place. Use this section if you just want to focus on scales instead of going through a full course.
Either way, it's all very well organized.
Justin Sandercoe has been putting up guitar lessons for decades now, and most of his content is available completely free on YouTube.
If you go to his YouTube channel, it's not as organized as the embeds on his site, which is no fault of Justin. That's just the way YouTube is set up.
For guitar scales, you can go to his scales and modes courses.
3. Active Melody
Active Melody is kind of in the same flavor as Justinguitar, with most of the content free on YouTube and about half of it behind a paywall. You can use the free content as much as you want.
Brian, Active Melody's creator, has always had a distinct focus on blues and solo improvisation, which gives you a lot of scale and mode material to work with.
If you're into the blues style and you want something a little more in-depth, Brian does a fantastic job of covering this topic.
You can checkout his content here.
Like Guitar Tricks, JamPlay is a paid membership site with professionally filmed and organized videos.
They have sections dedicated to scales as a category and a ton of different courses to choose from. You'll be choosing between different instructors, styles, and multiple approaches to the same topic.
We recommend it more for intermediate players, but it has material for all skill levels.
You can checkout JamPlay here.
What about YouTube?
These days you can learn anything on YouTube.
We don't need school, or a teacher, or college - we just need YouTube.
That said, the only disadvantage of learning scales only on YouTube is that you won't find a lot of organization like we get in the aforementioned programs.
Where YouTube really excels is when you have a single, very specific question. For something more broad like guitar scales, it's better to use YouTube as a supplemental resource instead of a primary resource.
That said, Justinguitar and Active Melody videos are all hosted on YouTube. But you can also use their site to sort through them and learn them in order, which is much easier.
Additional Non-Video Resources
Here are some additional websites and resources you can access to help you learn guitar scales and get a feel for navigating the fretboard:
What about just being self taught?
What we like about these resources is that they help guide you in your journey of becoming a self-taught guitar player. Yet, they don't replace the need to teach yourself. Instead, they simply help show you what to focus on.
Because the question is always: How do you spend your time learning?
The resources we've recommended here will help you spend that time more efficiently, and thus make your practice time - away from any kind of lesson - a lot more effective.
The bulk of learning guitar always happens between lessons.
Make sure you have some kind of a resource to help guide you in your quest to learn guitar scales. This will give you the information you need to work with, so you can then practice on your own.
If you have questions about our recommendations, or something I failed to mention, give me a shout in the comments section below.
We'll help out as much as possible.