Academy Articles

How do I memorize scales and notes on the guitar more easily and effectively?

Guitar Coaching
October 25, 20223 min read

Hello there, guitar slingers!

Today, I would like to try and suggest a different way of looking at scales. Something that I have seen that works well over and over again. The most important thing is you need to enjoy the process. There is no need to learn all the scales etc in order to create music. There is a lot of amazing music written by people who only knew a couple of scales at best. It is better for you to see it as a marathon. It is a lifetime endeavor. Not something that is going to be over in a couple of months or even years.

The next thing to consider is you do not need to end up using all of these scales. Just like when you are learning a language, you end up after several years of learning a language with your favorite words and your expressions. You understand what is going on, but you are not using all the words that you have ever learned in your vocabulary.

According to my over 25+ years of experience as a teacher, I strongly suggest learning one or at maximum two or three different scales per year. However, when you learn a scale, you should not just learn one position of a scale and say “Ok! I am done”!

Let me illustrate — let’s say, for example, you want the Mixolydian scale. You need to learn the CAGED boxes, then learn the three notes per string patterns, and also the chords that fit well with this scale. Next, you learn the chord progressions that are used for this scale and then learn licks that bring out the sound of the specific scale. So, it is not as simple as learning a couple of positions.

You need to invest a lot of time in order to learn all this material but then you are less likely to forget what you have been practicing for this period of time. Do not try to cram all this knowledge into a short period of time. You are going to forget pretty much everything. It does not work this way. It has to become a part of who you are on the instrument. It is not something that you have to memorize in order to pass the exams and then it is ok to forget it.

What about the order in which to learn the scales?

Here is what I suggest for a rock player:

In the first year, work on learning the pentatonic, the blues, and then the natural minor scale. Once you are in your second or third year, then learn the Dorian, harmonic minor, and then the Mixolydian scale. You may have noticed that major scale is not on the list for the first 2 years of playing! The reason is, that the major scale is rarely used in rock music. So, even though it is very useful to have an understanding of it to help you with theory when it comes to learning shapes and playing with it, it is much less useful than the above-mentioned scales. At least in most styles of rock/metal music. Of course, there are exceptions like country, but usually, in most styles of music you are going to be using the other scales I mentioned before and that is why this is the order I suggest.

I hope this was helpful. You can watch the video below, where I explain this topic in more detail. If you’re interested in developing your guitar skills and reaching your music goals, please check the different Elite Guitar Coaching Academy packages and how you can get private coaching from me.

Ioannis Anastassakis

Born in the Greek island of Crete, Ioannis Anastassakis completed his Bachelor’s degree at the American College of Greece and subsequently studied at the distinguished Musicians Institute (GIT), where he remained as an instructor, after graduating at the top 1% of his class. He continued his graduate studies in Music, at the California State University, completing an MA in Guitar Performance, graduating Magna cum Laude.

Back to Blog

© Copyright - Elite Guitar Coaching Academy. All Rights Reserved - Privacy Policy - Earnings Disclaimer - Terms & Conditions

Earnings and income representations made by Elite Guitar Coaching Academy, eliteguitarcoaching.com, are aspirational statements only of your earnings potential. The success of Elite Guitar Coaching Academy testimonials and other examples used are exceptional, non-typical results and are not intended to be and are not a guarantee that you or others will achieve the same results. Individual results will always vary and yours will depend entirely on your individual capacity, work ethic, business skills and experience, level of motivation, diligence in sticking to Elite Guitar Coaching Academy's guidance and strategies, the economy, the normal and unforeseen risks of doing business, and other factors.


Elite Guitar Coaching Academy, and eliteguitarcoaching.com individually, are not responsible for your actions. You are solely responsible for your own moves and decisions and the evaluation and use of our products and services should be based on your own due diligence. You agree that Elite Guitar Coaching Academy is not liable to you in any way for your results in using our products and services. See our Terms & Conditions for our full disclaimer of liability and other restrictions.


Do you have questions? Are you wondering if this will work for you? Email us at info@mg.eliteguitarcoaching.com

We will be happy to discuss your goals and how our courses, coaching or consulting services may help you. Thank you.