Most students will get introduced to scales by a teacher or a friend. Some students may just play the scale once and take its sound for granted. Other people may memorize the scale and learn to play with it. For this short article I will give you four reasons why the playing of scales on the guitar does improve your studies and your playing.
Learning, and memorizing, a fingering pattern such as a scale does take time and effort. It requires discipline to play the notes smoothly. Those of you who are experienced players may not think too much of it but believe me, if you have never played a scale before it does take time to play it well. It is not too hard if you set your mind to it but you do need to concentrate. The discipline matter is not only good for learning to play scales, it is a mind set which will help you with any learning when it comes to playing the guitar well.
Correct Use of Fingering:
Scales do help students to develop the correct use of fingering. Fingering is memorized internally and it will help you in any area of your playing. Once you have good fingering habits your playing will sound smoother and you will also be able to play without too much effort.
Training of the Ear:
Scales do help students with the tuning of their ears: Each scale does have a particular sound, and you will tune in to its sound when you play the scale regularly. It will also help you to play in key as you ears will tell you which notes are in-or out- of key. All sounds very logical and simple for the experienced player, but beginners are new to the whole idea of playing in key and playing the “right notes”.
Navigating Around The Fretboard:
Scales do help you to play in different areas of the fretboard. Once you have learned various fingering patterns of a few scales it will free your fingers up to play freely along the fretboard. This playing freely is useful when it comes to playing solos and riffs.
Students who struggle with scales are the ones who can play. Sounds like a contradiction eh? It is true, most of the people in this category are the ones who have good ears and have learned in the past a handful of scales they still use. To progress to the next level they do need to learn some new scales, but because their ears can hear where they need to go they feel they do not need to memorize particular patterns. Wrong, as they tend to trip up themselves when it comes to areas of the fretboard they do not know well.
You know a scale when you can play it freely in any place and any string on the fretboard. In most cases it is a discipline matter, and again, students who need to work harder do develop better discipline since they know they need to work at it. My view is everyone needs to work, but each person has his/her own areas which need work. The fact that you can reel around the fretboard does not mean there is nothing left for you to learn. Just be honest to yourself and your playing and work on what you need to work on to become a better, overall guitar player.
Enjoy your playing, and hope to catch you soon again,