Remembering All The Guitar Scales You Need

A trick by Matthew King

After messing with the guitar scale generator a little bit, you’re probably thinking...... How the hell do I get started? Which stinking scale am I supposed to learn first? Never fear, cause I know exactly where you’re coming from. Just follow along and you’ll be that much closer to getting past the awkward guitar scale-learning phase.

As start, the G minor pentatonic scale

Take a second and fire up the guitar scale generator. Select the key of G, then select “I G All Scales,” and find the “penta minor scale.” Finally, move the red button to the open E, and move the purple button to G. This is the very first scale I and many other guitar players learned, and you may already know it too. Study the construction of the notes and shape. This is the pentatonic box scale, and I use it as a reference for all of the other scales I need to know. I’ll show you how I use it right now.......

guitar scale g pentatonic minor scale

Changing the scale

While you have all the same settings, select the E Minor scale. Look carefully and only two new notes appear: F# and C.

That’s it! You learned a minor scale without having to do anything. Wanna learn the major scale in less than a second? Then do this. Select the “G Major Scale” setting. NOTHING CHANGED! You play the same pattern starting on a different note, G.

guitar scale e minor scale

The modes

Think I can’t do the same thing with modes? Well in the words of Judas Priest, you’ve got another thing coming. Now the thing about modes is that almost all the 7 modes have just one different note from the basic minor and major scales. To see this, do the following.......

Select the key of C, then select the scale called “G Mixolydian.” The only difference between it and the G major scale is one note, the F note! Now select the key of D, and select the scale called “G Lydian.” Same thing as the major, except with C#!

Lydian and Mixolydian are just subtle variations of the G major scale. Use this trick with other scales like C major, and look up C Lydian and C Mixolydian. The exact same things are going on.

guitar scale g mixolydian scale

Minor modes

Finally, I’m going to show you what I call the minor modes. Using the E minor scale from G Major, I’m going to explain how the other modes like Dorian, Locrian, and Phrygian work. Perform the following steps in the scale generator......... Select the key of C, and find E Phrygian.

After that, select the key of D, and find E Dorian.

Finally after that, select the key of F, and find E Locrian. The point of this whole exercise is for you to see how similar each scale is to E minor, and thus G major. They’re very similar!

guitar scale e phrygian scale


So what’s the point of this whole article? Why did I just fiddle around with the scale generator?

To show you how unnecessary it is to memorize scales...... If you can remember E minor pentatonic, you can remember everything I just showed you. All we did was go over the E Minor Scale, G Major Scale, E Dorian-Phrygian-Mixolydian-Lydian-Locrian, and that’s it. And later, when you’ve gotta figure out how to make music with them, you’ll know which scale should be used with each.

At my site,, I go over the appropriate uses of scales like these, and show how to create harmonies, melodies, and riffs out of them......

Making music my friend!

Scales and chords go together in ways you may have never seen before, and at my site I’ll tell you how the greats like Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Zakk Wylde, and others use them together to make their music.

About the author

Matthew King is an aspiring music producer/entrepreneur from Oxford, MS who runs He’s been studying music for more than ten years in a variety of genres like rock, metal, pop, classical, country, and jazz. Matt is also the author of Theory Demystified and Hell-Raising Lead Guitar.

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