There is a really common mistake that many guitarists make when learning guitar scales. This one mistake slows down their rate of progress drastically. What do you think it is? It is simply this…
They try to learn every single scale there is!
I did this myself when I first started playing guitar. I bought one of those thick guitar scale books and set about trying to learn them all. I was spending hours and hours a day learning the scales in the book. I thought that to be a “master of scales” I had to know them all! I soon realized that I was making a big mistake…
Now why on earth would this be a mistake? Surely the more guitar scales you know the better right? Well…if you had seventeen lifetimes to learn them all, then this would be true. But the fact is, our time on this planet is limited. There is just not enough time to learn every possible scale!
So why does trying to learn huge numbers of guitar scales potentially slow down your progress? Here are four big reasons…
1. You’ll feel overwhelmed.
Just thinking that you have to learn hundreds of scales puts you in a total state of overwhelm. You might not even know which scales to start with. This feeling of overwhelm can often lead to procrastination. You keep putting off your guitar scale practice in favor of things that are more fun.
2. You’ll learn unnecessary scales.
Trying to learn every single scale there is can lead to you learning unnecessary scales. These are guitar scales that are not needed in order to play the style of music that you want to play. For example: If you have a love of blues guitar then it would be a complete waste of time to learn some exotic scales that you will never use. Your time would be better spent mastering the scales common to blues guitar.
3. Your guitar practice routine becomes unbalanced.
If you try to learn way too many scales at once then there is a good chance that you spend too much time practicing scales. This can cause you to neglect practicing other really important things such as phrasing, ear training, chords, improvisation and learning songs.
4. You learn scales in a superficial way.
This is when you know lots of guitar scales, but you don’t know any on a very deep level. They have not “become part of you” yet. This probably means that you find it hard to improvise in a musical way. You may sound like you are just running up-and-down scales when you solo.
Can you see how these four reasons can slow down your guitar learning progress? Are YOU making the mistake of trying to learn too many scales at once? What would be some specific things that you could do to avoid making this mistake? (This last question is worthy of some serious thought!).