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How many guitar scales are there?

Scales are a succession of intervals or the particular distance between the notes that make up the scale itself. They are structures and formulas that, depending on where you place it on the fretboard, you will be playing the scale of a specific note.

There are as many as there are possibilities to sort the notes. Some have more notes and others less, but in practice, we only use a few. Basically, there are major scales, minor scales, and scales that are neither major nor minor.

Here is a list of most guitar scales:

  • Diatonic
  • Harmonic minor
  • Melodic minor
  • Synthetic
  • Suspended pentatonic or Egyptian scale
  • Dominant pentatonic
  • Augmented
  • Diminished
  • Full-tone
  • Melodic minor or Ionian b3
  • Dorian b9
  • Lydian #5 or augmented Lydian
  • Lydian b7 or dominant Lydian
  • Mixolydian b6
  • Aeolian b5 or Semilocrian or Locrian #2
  • Locrian b4 or Superlocrian
  • Natural Locrian 6
  • Ionian #5 or augmented Ionian
  • Dorian #4 or Dorian #11 or Romanian scale
  • Natural Phrygian 3 or major Phrygian or dominant Phrygian or Spanish Gypsy scale
  • Lydian #2
  • Phrygian or Superlocrian bb7
  • Double harmonic major or Byzantine scale or Arabic scale
  • Lydian #2 #6
  • Ultraphrygian or Phrygian b4 bb7
  • Minor Hungarian or harmonic minor #4
  • Mixolydian b5-b9 or Eastern scale
  • Augmented Ionian #2
  • Locrian bb3-bb7
  • Bebop dominant or Mixoionian scale
  • Dorianaeolian
  • Phrygianlocrian
  • Lidianionian
  • Myxodorian
  • Phrygianeolian
  • Lydianlocrian
  • Locrianlydian
  • Augmented bebop
  • Dorian blues
  • Phrygian bebop
  • Lydian minor bebop
  • Mixolydian b9 added
  • Augmented-diminished
  • Bebop harmonic minor Phrygian
  • Locrian diminished bebop
  • Ionian b9 added
  • Major diminished bebop
  • Melodic Dorian bebop
  • Phrygiandouble bebop
  • Bebop augmented Lydian
  • Mixolydian blues
  • Melodic major-minor bebop
  • Locrian double bebop
  • Ionian minor bebop
  • Dorian double bebop
  • Augmented Lydian b9 added
  • Phrygian diminished bebop
  • Bebop dominant Lydian
  • Bebop augmented Mixolydian
  • Blues Aeolian
  • Quartal altered bebop
  • Melodic minor bebop
  • Dorian blues b9
  • Augmented minor bebop
  • Bebop dominant minor Lydian
  • Major melodic b9 added
  • Phrygian diminished bebop
  • Minor-major bebop
  • Diminished Superlocrian bebop
  • Minor melodic blues
  • Mixodorian b9 bebop
  • Bebop augmented minor Lydian
  • Dominant Lydian b9 added
  • Locrianlydian bb7
  • Mixoionian b6
  • Dorianaeolian b5
  • Altered quintal bebop
  • Chromatic

How many scales do I need to know?

You are probably asking yourself, what are the best scales to learn on the guitar? The most important thing is to know the chromatic scale in order to know the notes in the fretboard of the guitar, then learn the major scale and the minor scale since they are the ABC’s of everything that comes after. To start, you can do it with the five-note pentatonic scale that is easier.

Then we learn the modal scales both diatonic and pentatonic, so we start to know how to improvise and harmonize the music, we learn the harmonic scale and the melodic scale, which are also important.

When you begin to master this theory and practice on the instrument, you must worry about making music with them, enjoying them, because it is useless to know a thousand scales if you cannot make music with them.

Many people say that learning guitar scales is a boring thing to do, but it is a really exciting and challenging activity. The more you study and learn about scales, the more tools you have at your disposal, the less repetitive your playing becomes, the more you want to play, and the more quickly you learn.

Without a doubt, guitar scales are an essential tool for learning and perfecting your performance on the instrument. With patience and perseverance, you will see great results in your playing.

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