Beginner Guitar Scales: 5 Essential Scales

Are you looking to learn some beginner guitar scales that will spice up your playing? Then look no further!

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 5 essential beginner guitar scales that will make you sound amazing.
  • 3 quick and easy tips to help you improve your musicality.
  • 2 must-know lessons to make your scales sound fantastic.
  • The no1 secret to working out musical keys.

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Guitar scales are essential to know if you want to take your guitar playing to the next level. We’re going to show you 5 essential beginner guitar scales that will help get you started on your guitar journey. Let’s get started!

1) Beginner Guitar Scales – The Minor Pentatonic Scale

The minor pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used guitar scales of all time. If you want to be a rock star, then you MUST know this scale.

For today’s lesson, we’re going to learn this scale in the key of E.

This means that the first note of the scale is the note ‘E’. This is also known as a root note.

The root note is the first note in a scale, this tells us what key the scale is in.

Not sure what a root note is? Check out this article: Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

Let’s learn it! Here’s the tab:

beginner guitar scalesIt should sound like this:

2) Beginner Guitar Scales – The Blues Scale

Another common beginner guitar scale is the blues scale, this scale is perfect if you want to play blues music.

If you love the sound of Eric Clapton or B.B king, then this scale is for you!

We’re going to keep things simple and learn this scale in an open position.

This scale is in the key of E. This means that the first note you’re going to play is an E.

Here’s the tab:

beginner guitar scales

Here’s what it sounds like:

3) Beginner Guitar Scales – The Major Pentatonic Scale

The major pentatonic scale sounds positive, vibrant and is perfect for pop and country!

We’re going to learn this scale in the key of G.

Let’s take a look at the tab:

beginner guitar scales

Pro Guitar Tip!

So far, we’ve learnt all of these scales using open strings.

Here’s a neat trick which you can use to get two scales for the price of one!

It’s really simple, all you have to do is:

Start your scale shape on the A string instead of the E string.

Let’s take a look at what this would look like for each beginner guitar scale.

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The Minor Pentatonic Scale – A string version

This time, we’re going to start our minor pentatonic scale on the A string instead of the E string.

This means that this scale is now in the key of A.

Here’s what it looks like on the tab:



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.

The Blues Scale – A string version

This scale is also in the key of A, because the first note in the scale is an A. Therefore it is an A blues scale.

Here’s the tab:

The Major Pentatonic Scale – A string version

This scale shape starts on the 3rd fret of the A string, this note is a C. Therefore, this scale is a C major pentatonic scale.

Most of this scale works when you transfer it over to the A string.

However, the last note changes, instead of playing of an open string. You’re going to play the 1st fret of the B string instead.

Here’s the tab:

c-major-pentatonic

Intermediate Beginner Guitar Scales – The Major and Minor Scale

If you fancy an added challenge, these major and minor scales are perfect!

Let’s check them out.

1) Beginner Guitar Scales – The Major Scale

The major scale is the bigger brother of the major pentatonic scale. Many people mistake them for two different scales.

However, they use exactly the same notes. The major pentatonic scale just uses less of them!

The major scale is perfect for pop, jazz and blues music! This scale sounds bright and vibrant. Let’s learn it 🙂

We’re going to learn this major scale in the key of G.

Here’s the tab:

beginner guitar scales

2) Beginner Guitar Scales – The Minor Scale

Another common beginner guitar scale is the minor scale. Just like our major scale, this scale is the bigger brother of the minor pentatonic scale.

The two scales use the same notes, however the full minor scale uses a couple more notes than the minor pentatonic scale.

We’re going to learn this scale in the key of E.

Here’s the tab:

beginner guitar scales

Advanced Beginner Guitar Scales – Learn Scales in 2 Octaves

So far, we’ve learnt each scale pattern in one octave. To take your guitar playing to the next level, it’s essential that we learn these scales in two octaves.

All we’re going to do here is, extend our regular scale patterns.

We’re still playing the exact same scale, however instead of stopping at the first octave, we’re going to carry on until we reach the next octave.

Let’s take a look at each scale pattern in it’s 2 octave form.

1) Two Octave E Minor Pentatonic Scale

This scale pattern is larger than the original minor pentatonic scale pattern.

Here’s the tab:

beginner guitar scales

E minor pentatonic (open position)

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

Can you see how we’re still using the first part of the scale, but now we’ve extended it to use the rest of the strings.

It’s still the exact same scale!

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