How should you learn guitar scales – and why should you bother?

Musician playing acoustic guitar on dark background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Using scales to make music is more than just choosing the right one. But how does one go about practicing scales, and should you bother?

Using my favourite analogy, if music is a language then scales are alphabets. With our English alphabet we can make words from many languages, though each will have quirks particular to its dialect. Other languages are narrower in use, the Mkhedruli language of Georgia for instance, which can be understood in much more limited areas. 

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Justin Sandercoe

Justin Sandercoe – aka JustinGuitar – is one of the world's foremost guitar tutors. His learning platform, JustinGuitar, was founded in 2003, and its launch on YouTube in 2006 quickly made Justin's lessons some of the most popular on the web. Today, JustinGuitar has over 1.5m subscribers on YouTube, and the website is home to over 1,300 free video guitar lessons. Tommy Emmanuel, Mark Knopfler, Steve Vai and Brian May are among the A-list names who recommend Justin's guitar courses.