What is a scale and a chord anyway?
Note: This blog is best used with the Fret Zealot app on web or on your mobile device.
The truth is that playing guitar is all about knowing patterns and chord shapes. So before you get overwhelmed by the C Chord, G Chord, and E chord, and barre chords, remember, the basic chord shapes you learn can be applied up and down the fretboard, and the scales can be applied the same way.
All of these scales and chords are in the Fret Zealot app. Go to the app to see them. Then use the Fret Zealot and app together to practice them!
Start with the chords and the Pentatonic Scale patterns listed below.
Go to the Fret Zealot app to see these chords and use the Fret Zealot to learn them!
A chord is a group of notes played at the same time.
The first major chords you should learn on guitar are: C , A , G , E , D
You can follow along with Justin if you like. Here is his review of the G and C chord technique.
For the Fret Zealot enabled version of these lessons, in the Fret Zealot app, go to “Lessons” -> “Justin Guitar” -> “Beginner”-> “Beginners Course” -> “Stage 3”
The first minor chords to learn are: Am, Em, Dm
Watch Justin’s quick lesson here:
“Lessons” -> “Justin Guitar” -> “Beginner”-> “Beginners Course” -> “Stage 2” in the app.
Most of these minor chords simply remove a note from your major chord shapes, which makes them easier to learn. Am is also the relative minor scale for C major scale, and Em is the relative minor for the G major scale. Dm is it the relative minor for F major.
These are shapes you can use along the fretboard as you progress.
They also can be used with the first pentatonic scales you learn.
Don’t give up! You have to build the strength in your hands and fingers to get the chords down. Only practicing regularly will help you do this. Practice often, even if it is only for 15 minutes at a time. Practically speaking, you will not build that strength if you only practice 15 minutes, and then you wait a week to practice again. So keep it up, and jam on!
A scale is a series of musical notes ordered together by pitch or sound frequency.
(There are many scales. Stay tuned for more on scales in the future.)
Pentatonic scales are 5 note scales.
There are major and minor Pentatonic patterns.
Pentatonic Scales are essentially just short scales based on the diatonic scale and are commonly used. You may be surprised how many players only use these with popular tunes.
Major Pentatonic Scales are 1 – 2- 3- 5 – 6 notes of the Major Scale.
C Major: C – D – E – G – A
Follow along with Justin to learn the pattern for the Major Pentatonic Scale.
Minor Pentatonic Scales are 1 -3b – 4 – 5 – 7b
(This is from the Major Scale. Do not flatten the notes of the existing natural minor scale.)
Ex: A minor Pentatonic – A – C – D – E – G
Learn 5 Pentatonic Minor Scale Patterns with Justin here:
Take your time. Use the Fret Zealot app in sync with the Fret Zealot on your guitar. The Fret Zealot is designed to help you see what you are playing on the guitar, and practice. Our latest features allow you to loop your own practice routines as well.
Find some songs you like, and start applying the chords and scales you have learned. Remember, a song can be available in any key you want. You don’t have to learn it in the original band or album key. Find a transposed version, or simply use a Capo.
Many, many, many, many, many songs only have three chords and simple pentatonic scale guitar riffs. So, get jamming! If you have a suggestion for a song, please send it to us here.