Posted by: worshipguitarguy | January 30, 2007

Making the Most of Practice: More Scales! (and answers to your weighty scale questions)

Ok, to begin this post off, I received some questions last week about how to exactly make sense of the pentatonic minor scale diagram I posted.  A couple faithful readers, (all two of you) pointed out that those darn cool dot and line diagrams just didn’t make any sense!

Ok, ok… so here’s a better explanation of how to interpret those scale diagrams.  (Then I’ll give ya another complete scale form to practice!)

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a second image of the five scale positions and an example of how they tie together, (using the key of G as an example.)

Ok, the five scale diagrams on the right are the original five I showed you last week.  The diagram on the left shows the full neck of the guitar.  Since this is the G Pentatonic Minor Scale, we begin on the first G note on the low E string, which happens to be on the third fret.  On this new diagram, you’ll see identifiers just to the right showing each of the five scale positions.  Notice how they overlap?  Well, that’s where the positions tie together seamlessly with one another.  Also, when you reach the end of the fifth position scale, you just start all over with position one.  Easy enough, or clear as mud?  😉   (Note:  Just so you know, the actual notes in the G Pentatonic Minor scale are G, Bb, C, D and F#.)


And now for your viewing pleasure, here are the scale diagram for the Concert Major scale, it’s also called the “Ionian” scale if you’re checking out different scale patterns.  This is the one that a good portion of Western music is based on, from Pop and Rock, to Classical and even most church hymns.:


A great resource for learning scales can be found at  This site shows you the actual notes on a guitar neck, so you can see how each of the scale positions tie together.



  1. What program are you using to build those scale charts? They look NICE!

    • check out a site called neck diagram. they have a downloadable program to create chord, scales and lead guitar sheets

  2. Actually, I just built them in Photoshop!

  3. Do you have any PSD templates you can share or do you start from scratch every time. I’m looking for something that can quickly generate custom chord fingering charts.

  4. Sure Brian, e-mail me at gerry_leslie *at* hotmail dot com and I’ll send them over to you.

  5. Can somebody teach me some of this?? 😉


    • If you want to learn this style of guitar check out the Stanly Jordon school of music

  6. I just recently got into scales…recently as in the past 2 weeks. I’ve played acoustic guitar since I was 15 (I’m almost 23 now) and the last 3 have been pretty exclusivley electric. I play lead at church, but my ‘lead’ has only been memorized solos and such (Like Carson’s lead on ‘Holy is the Lord’ and the solo in ‘Happy Song’ and such) and a few patterns and riffs I waaaay overuse.

    I’m still just learning the major pentatonic scale, but MAN has that really opened up my playing! It’s almost night and day. My problem, at this point, is that I don’t have a grasp of the scale around the whole matrix of the fretboard. I know a basic 3 octave scale, but my fingers must follow the pattern or I’m lost. But, I keep chugging along and soon I will all over that fretboard like a bee on your cotton candy at the county fair!

  7. Hi there. The article says “(Note: Just so you know, the actual notes in the G Pentatonic Minor scale are G, A, B, D, and E.)”, but the notes should be G, Bb, C, D and F! The notes you listed are the pentatonic major scale. Perhaps you could update this post/page.

  8. Thanks for the heads up Lindsay!

  9. see all chord

  10. This is for ripvanwinkle. Find a buddy or two in just about the same situation as you, maybe somebody who plays just a little better than you. And you guys just find some chords you like, string together some of your own or a song you like. And just play it over and over together with one guy making up leads and the other playing rhythm, switch back and forth and MAKE yourself get out of the scale “patterns” that you have been playing. The best thing I have ever done for my playing is to play with other people, especially if they are more experienced or skilled than me and learn from each other.

  11. Nice one! looking forward to more.

  12. Hi I have just started learning the guitar (electric)
    I am 69 and find it a little hard to make a break through. I have started taking lessons half hour a week. any short cuts time is running out

    • Firstly, nice job on the diagrams and thanks for the explanations. I’m just getting into these scale diagrams and, after searching for a long time.

      I guess I’m a little confused about the makeup of this scale. I’m guessing that Pentatonic indicates that 5 notes are played per scale. The scale formulation I learned (which, sadly, I don’t recall what it’s called) had 8 notes (the 8th bringing the scale back to the origin). Also – if this is a minor scale, how come there are no minors?

      I guess if I were making up a Gm scale, it would look something like this Gm, Am, Bmb, Cm, etc. How come yours doesn’t have any minors?

      Lastly, @ Ray Parr. Kudos to you for picking up a guitar. Is this a goal oriented excursion? You say you’re almost out of time, which I find a little sad, unless you’re hoping to achieve a time sensitive goal. I guess I’m just curious about what that is.

      Some tips I can provide that have helped me are: There are 7 Letter Chords – each has a Major, a Minor, and Dominant 7th. Learn all the Majors, Minors, and Dominant 7’s for each chord. It shouldn’t take you too long as they’re all pretty similar. A, Am, A7, etc.

      Secondly for some finger and pickin’ work without having to memorize a scale, starting on the big E string on the 5th fret: Press the E string on the 5th fret with your index finger, hit the string with the pick (direction down), then the same string with your middle finger press down the 6th fret and hit the string with the pick (direction up – so basically you’ll want to alternate “up” “down” “up” “down” etc to get used to this motion.) Then on the same string, use your ring finger to hit the 7th fret, and 8th fret – THEN move down one string to the A string (the 2nd thickest string) and do the same thing. Pointer finger 5th fret, switch to middle finger 6th fret, ring finger 7th fret, pinky finger, 8th fret, and then move down another string.

      Give this exercise at least 5 minutes every time you sit down with your guitar. You’ll notice yourself getting faster and faster. Go all the way down the strings, and then backwards all the way up. KEEP IN MIND that it’s more important to keep a good rhythm than to go fast. Try to hit all the notes to the same beat – then speed up the tempo when you’re more used to it.

      This helped me a lot. I hope it helps you . Peace!

      • I just read everything I wrote, and never mind, I’m retarded.

        Except for the Message to Ray Parr. Good luck to you.

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