Guitar learners often spend a lot of practice time on scales. But what benefit do you really get from this? Could there be more effective ways to spend your practice time? I think the answer is yes, and this article shows you why.
Scale practice has three main benefits.
1. Build finger agility and strength.
2. Train your ear to scale patterns.
3. Learn notes on the fretboard.
But scales are not music. The notes you use when you play a chord or a solo passage might come from a scale, but they are rarely played in the same way. And in modern styles of music like blues, rock and jazz notes from outside the scale are often used.
Learning to play scales does not directly help you to play the chords, licks and solos that make up most guitar songs. So what can you do instead? Here are some suggestions…
* Practice Chords
Chords are the main thing you will use when you accompany songs on your guitar. The best way to learn to play chords is to practice chords. Playing scales will not help you a lot with this.
* Practice Licks
Lick practice provides all the finger agility, ear training and note learning benefits of scale practice. In addition it gives you skills that you can directly use in your songs.
Build a personal library of licks and know when to apply them and you will be well on your way to creating great sounding solos.
* Practice Intervals
Intervals are the basic building block of music. You can learn and play anything you imagine when you can recognize, “hear” in your head, and play intervals on the guitar. Learn to think in intervals rather than scales and you will be free to create more interesting licks and solos.
* Practice Solos
As well as intervals and licks practice whole solos too. Learning a whole solo note for note is as good a finger workout as you can get. It also helps you learn a lot about how solos are constructed. This is far more useful than learning scales.
* Conclusion – Do you need scales?
This article has shown you several alternatives to practicing scales. They provide all the benefits of scales and more besides.
Real songs involve playing chords, licks and solos on your guitar. So why spend your valuable practice time on other things?