Basic Guitar Scales: 7 Scales You Must Know

Want to learn how to play basic guitar scales? Then you’re in the right place!

basic guitar scales

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 7 essential guitar scales that will make you sound amazing.
  • Tips and tricks to help you conquer basic guitar scales quickly!
  • 2 super easy tricks that will enhance your musicality.

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We’re going to show you 7 basic guitar scales which will take your guitar playing to the next level.

Basic Guitar Scales #1 The 1 Octave A Minor Pentatonic Scale

This scale is perfect for beginners.

Here are 3 reasons why this one of our basic guitar scales is useful to know:

  • It’s a simple, very short scale which feels great under the fingers.
  • It sounds great over a blues progression.
  • This scale can also be used over anything in the key of C major or A minor.

Here’s the tab:

basic guitar scales

If you want to get good at basic guitar scales quickly, practice slowly. Let your fingers soak up the notes.

Basic Guitar Scales #2 The 1 Octave E Minor Pentatonic Scale

If you’ve nailed the first scale, this next scale will be a breeze.

To play this next scale, all you have to do is move the open A minor pentatonic shape onto the low E string.

The 1 octave E minor pentatonic scale is perfect if you want to add a bluesy feel to your major chords.

Here are a few keys and chord progressions you can use this scale over:

  • The key of E minor.
  • An E Blues progression.
  • The key of C# minor.

Experiment with this scale and see if you can create some cool sounds.

Here’s the tab:

basic guitar scales

To learn more about the E minor pentatonic scale go here: E Minor Pentatonic Scale: The Ultimate Guide

Basic Guitar Scales #3 A Minor Pentatonic Scale in 2 octaves

So far, we’ve only learned the pentatonic scale in 1 octave.

This time, we’re going to take our basic guitar scales to the next level.

We’re going to learn the A minor pentatonic scale over 2 octaves.

This means, put simply, that we get twice as many notes.

This is fantastic to know if you want to expand your scale knowledge.

Just like our 1 octave scale, you can use this scale over the following keys and chord progressions:

  • A Blues progression. 
  • Anything in the key of A minor.
  • Anything in the key of C major.
  • Pretty much anything with an A minor chord in it.

Here’s the tab:

basic guitar scales

Basic Guitar Scales #4 The A Blues Scale

The A blues scale is almost EXACTLY the same as the minor pentatonic scale.

However, to turn the minor pentatonic scale into a blues scale we have to add one note.

Blues scales are perfect if you want to play… you guessed it, blues!

This scale is also used in genres such as soul, funk and jazz.

This scale has soulful, edgy sound to it.

If you want to sound like clapton, use THIS one of our awesome basic guitar scales.

Here’s the tab:

basic guitar scales

To learn more about blues guitar, go here: Blues Guitar Lessons For Beginners 4 Ways To Sound Awesome Quickly

Basic Guitar Scales #5 The A Major Pentatonic Scale

The major pentatonic is very similar to the minor pentatonic.

However, this scale works with major keys rather than minor keys.

This scale isn’t as well known as the minor pentatonic scale, but it’s one of our favourites!

This scale sounds warm, vibrant and exciting.

You may have heard this scale in genres of music such as, pop, country and even soul!

You can use this over the following keys and chord progressions:

  • The key of A Major.
  • Pretty much any song with an A major chord in it.
  • The key of F# Minor.

Here’s the tab:

basic guitar scales

Basic Guitar Scales #6 The A Major Scale

We’re going to step it up here, hold tight. It’s going to be awesome.

The next scale we’re going to learn is the A major scale, if you want to take your basic guitar scales knowledge to the next level.

You must know how to play the A major scale.

You might have heard this scale in genres such as, pop, jazz and funk!

It’s perfect for bringing a warm and positive vibe to your solos.

Here’s the tab:

A Major Scale

You can use this scale over:

  • Anything in the key of A major.
  • Anything in the key of F# minor.

Scales are used to create rippin’ solos, want to know what 50 of the best guitar solos of all time are? Check out this article from Guitar World: 50 Greatest Guitar Solos | Guitar World

Basic Guitar Scales #7 The A Minor Scale

The final scale we’re going to learn is the A minor scale.

This scale is perfect for adding tension and suspense to your music.

You may have heard this scale in genres such as metal, rock or blues!

Here’s the tab:

a minor scale

As a challenge, try improvising with this scale over the following keys:

  • The key of A minor.
  • The key of C major.
  • A Blues progression.

If you can navigate around these keys, you’ll be a basic guitar scales master in no time.

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again. Click here to download your copy.


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The Top Secret Trick To Play Scales In Any Key

The great thing about scales 3 – 7, is that each of these scales are moveable patterns.

This means that ALL of these scales can be played in any key.

To do this, keep your scale shape the same and change your starting note.

As all of the scales we’ve played so far are in the key of A, they all start on the 5th fret of the low E string.

However, if you want to change the key of scale, you must change the starting note.

Here are a list of all the note names on the low E string.

basic guitar scales

To change the key of your scale, start your scale on a different fret.

For example, if you want to play any of the scales in the key of B.

  • Move it to the 7th fret on the low E string.

As an experiment, try and play each scale in a different key.

This is a perfect way of expanding your basic guitar scales knowledge.

Practicing Basic Guitar Scales

A fantastic way to practice basic guitar scales is over backing tracks.

If you want to practice the following scales:

  • A Minor Pentatonic Scale.
  • A Blues Scale
  • A Natural Minor Scale.
  • A Major Pentatonic Scale.

Click play on this backing track:

To practice these scales:

  • A Minor Pentatonic Scale.
  • A Natural Minor Scale.
  • C Major Pentatonic Scale. (Start this shape on the 8th fret) 
  • C Major Scale (Start this shape on the 8th fret)

Click play on this backing track:

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

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