Unlike reading regular guitar tabs (where numbers placed in a vertical position means to play the notes simultaneously), when reading scales tablatures, all notes are played one at a time. It is tabbed in this manner to make it easier to visualize the structure of the pattern. Play each note from left to right from the 6th string to the 1st and then back up. You may also see guitar scale modes transcribed with dots instead of numbers. In this case a number by the side of the graph indicates on which fret the mode should begin (if referring to a specific key). The structure of the pattern is the same, it doesn't matter in what key you are playing the scale.
All scale patterns in the following examples start in “A”; the fifth fret. Why?? Because it is a comfortable starting position and it helps avoid going too high up the neck to the last few frets where it becomes uncomfortable to play the last few modes.
To play in another key, just move the first mode of the scale to that key and begin your patterns from there on.
Click over the name of the scale to view the Video and Tablature.
- Pentatonic Scale
- Blues Scale
- Minor Scale
- Major Scale
A cool tool you can use to keep your tempo while practicing the different patterns is the Metronome. Experiment at low speeds until you can play the modes cleanly, then increase the speed.
For more complex and elaborate guitar scales and a very cool guitar scale finder tool, visit this guitar scale tablature website.
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