Learning guitar scales can be very daunting and time consuming. It is one of the things that many guitarists really want to master, but often after years of trying don`t really quite get to grips with. It`s no wonder really with all the information out there, often poorly taught and conflicting.
That`s why there are so many books and programs out there dedicated to teaching this one area of guitar, but because scales are complicated to learn and memorize and even harder to apply in a practical sense, it can be difficult to teach. This week I am reviewing the Guitar Scale Mastery Course by Craig Bassett.
The Guitar Scale Mastery Course claims that you will be able to learn and master any scale you choose all over the fretboard and with more ease and enjoyment than other systems out there.
According to the author a few of the overall benefits of learning the Guitar Scale Mastery System include…
- You will be able to learn scales on such a deep level that they “become part of you”.
- You will be able to use scales without thinking.
- You will be able to improvise with scales no matter where you are on the fretboard.
- You’ll feel much more confident as an improvising guitarist.
- You’ll notice large improvements to your guitar technique, speed and fluidity.
- You’ll solo in a more natural and musical way.
- You’ll feel more confident jamming with other musicians.
Guitar Scales Mastery is currently available for a 12 month Premium Membership and cost of $47. For this you gain immediate access to the Guitar Scale Mastery System, the Guitar Scale Activators (more on this later) and all the Bonus Updates that are created during the next 12 months.
There are multiple steps to the program. These include a run through of basic theory for those who don`t have a huge knowledge or simply want to refresh their existing knowledge. Theory can be complicated but the author breaks it down in easy to digest parts.
Starting off with all natural notes before moving on to sharps and flats and then discussing half and whole steps. One of the first things I liked about this is that on only the second lesson, the author is getting you to fill in a chart to test what you have already learned. This is very effective and the way I like to teach.
The author then recommends you get reading through the bonus updates on powerful practice techniques which chapters such as `The Big Picture Technique`, `The Super Slow Practice Technique` `The Chunking Technique` and more useful stuff. Some of these bonuses are pretty cool if not overly ground breaking. Sometimes you really don`t need to reinvent the wheel though.
Once we have the basics of theory and practice routines out the way we then get to learn the Guitar Scale Mastery System (although you can access this at any time as with all the other materials).
One of the best things about this program is that when it comes to the actual mastering of the scales the author makes a great point, one that is often not taught or appreciated, but is essential. It is that you should only learn “one scale at a time”.
Pretty simple, huh?
Yeah, but if you truly learn this scale inside out so you are completely comfortable with it EVERYWHERE on the fretboard then you will free up your improvisation skills so much more. It is a great point; a simple one, but a very effective one. I learned something similar from a Joe Satriani book years ago and it works for sure.
The author also debunks a few myths. One of which I`m not in complete agreement with is that you don`t need to learn scales in all 12 keys. Yes, it`s not necessary but for complete freedom of the guitar (which is something I advocate) you do need to. The author though does make a good point in that learning scales in all 12 keys is not very useful if you never use them.
That being said, I still have to disagree with it. The scope you have for your playing when you gain complete fretboard freedom is immense, it just takes more time.
He then goes on throughout the rest of the program to give you the tools and tricks to learn your chosen scale effortlessly and with ease. The actual teaching method of the scales is very effective. It does what it says on the tin and certainly helps to improve your knowledge of scales all over the fretboard.
The idea behind the system is that you learn scales on such a deep level that they “become part of you”. You will be able to use scales without thinking. This is essential if you ever want to solo in a natural, fluent and musical way.
The actual learning of the scale consists of learning the scale on one string to start with, then, two notes per string, then three notes per string which is unusual for compared to other systems especially ones that get you learning box shapes but it is highly effective and makes playing the scales a lot more musical and natural to use which is what we all want.
The course isn`t a case of learning your E minor Pentatonic scale on each string, then moving on. The level of detail for each section is astounding really. It`s a good job it`s 12 month course because there is a lot of material to get through to really, truly understand the scales. All of the exercises are practical and help in a either a real world sense or are there to help in-grain the scale deep into your subconscious.
The author has put together some backing tracks for you. They will help you put what you learn into practice. After all…what’s the point of learning scales if you don’t actually use them?
After you have gone through and fully understood one scale with this system, it is time to apply the Guitar Scale Mastery System to another Scale.
What scale you choose for this step is entirely up to you. It all depends on what style of music you play and your musical tastes. Choose a common scale in the style of music that you play. Once this step is completed you will be very confident about learning ANY scale using The Guitar Scale Mastery System!
It doesn`t stop there. Learning scales is all about being able to play real music with them in the most practical sense and it is great that we have bonuses available to us that are focused on turning scales into music. They cover essential techniques such as timing, phrasing as well as more advanced concepts.
These Bonus Updates cover concepts such as:
- Playing Through Changes:
- A Musical And Rhythmic Approach To Increasing Your Guitar Speed
- Introduction To The Major Scale Modes
One thing I was very curious to find out is how the author discusses the relationship between scales and chords as many guitar and music theory books in general simply gloss over how intertwined the two are. This is wherer the `activators` come into it.
Guitar Scale Activators are special backing tracks that bring to life (activate) the sound of any scale that you are practicing. This is very powerful. Some of the benefits of using the Guitar Scale Activators include…
- You’ll eventually program chord/scale relationships into your brain. This means that when you hear a chord you’ll be able to automatically hear the scale that works over that chord. This really helps with playing by ear.
- You’ll enjoy practicing scales more. The scale exercises that you practice sound much more interesting when played over the correct Guitar Scale Activator.
- You’ll learn and internalize the sounds of scales much faster.
There are two bonuses which are the Pentatonic Guitar Success eBook which is a pretty big book to give away as a bonus.
The book covers a varierty of useful and practical topics such as the theory behind pentatonics, common fingerings, useful techniques, the 5 minute practice technique and more.
Scale Degree Mastery is the other bonus eBook which goes into much further detail about some of the important concepts of theory. This one is definitely for those looking to push their theory knowledge in a hard but effective way.
- Layout of the course – Clear if not overly pretty on the eye
- Information – Some excellent and intelligent ideas mixed with solid proven techniques. Very informative, useful and practical.
- Audio examples – Excellent. Some not to my taste but the author can`t cater for everyone and anyway, they do the job of letting the listener hear how the sounds should actually sound.
Who`s it for?
Anyone looking to truly master the fretboard with a medium to long term approach. Think of the methods that guitar teachers such as Joe Satriani are renowned for but all in one place.
Who is it not for?
Guitarists just looking to get a quick fix and learn lots of different sounding scales in one or two positions and not the whole fretboard.
Guitar Scales Mastery is currently available for a 12 month Premium Membership at the cost of $47