Taking the Mystery Out of Scales

If you’ve tried learning lead guitar before, you’ll know that playing scales and making music are two totally different things.

Played from top to bottom and back – the scale can be one of the most boring things you’ll ever hear coming out of a guitar… BUT, when the right notes are chosen and played at the right time, the scale becomes a highway for the fingers to create incredibly rich, emotive, and interesting music with very little effort. So, it’s worth spending some time with them.

Unfortunately, we’re often taught lead guitar concepts (like scales) in a very ineffective way. This often includes being given a scale shape diagram and being told to play it from top to bottom a lot of times, and then being left to our own devices. It seems that many guitar tutors have overlooked the main problem that students face when learning lead guitar if they are to succeed in making good music, which is this: how to make the scale NOT sound like a scale.

In our new “Lead Guitar for Beginners” course, Mark McKenzie takes a new approach to dealing with this problem by targeting the scale shape and providing you with some simple new techniques to make it sound musical. Not only will you learn how to create your own great sounding riffs on the fly, you’ll also learn some key bits of lead guitar theory that will help you become a solid guitar player who can play in any key, anywhere, any time, anywhere on the guitar neck.

If you’ve ever wondered how lead guitarists “just know” what to play, or how they seem to be able to make up amazing sounding solos off the cuff then this course is for you. If you’ve ever wanted to be able to effortlessly jam along music, this course is for you – and in fact, you will be jamming along with Mark in the course backing tracks in the first week of lessons. If scales and soloing have been a mystery to you – wonder no longer. Check out the intro video below and find how this course will have you playing riffs and sounding like a great guitar player in a very short space of time.

Click here to check out the Lead Guitar for Beginners Course


  1. Nick

    The point about learning the scale shapes over and over is a good one. It’s true that when you then come to improvise, you have a tendency to just play the shape and lose creativity and musicality. The method you are teaching is a great idea.

  2. Sidney R Tuggle

    Hi Jon :

    Does anyone know what i have to do to get these videos to play on Linux , or Ubuntu, i have windows , but they drive me nuts with so many up dates on windows 10 sometimes I have to wait an hour for an up date to down load and another hour for it to install. You can’t choose when to install downloaded updates anymore like you could with good ol windows xp , and 7 , 8 & 8.1, windows 10 , a lot of people do not like it , i like parts of it , but it can get too nosey on you especially if you use that microsoft Edge. I have an Ubuntu on A flash drive for 16 bit operating system , i can try it before i install it , or install it right away , but i’m kind of hesitant to permanently install it. Will you check with your techs , and see what flash player I need to run the videos of Mark? I can play them fine with the Windows operating system , but like i said the up dates are too often and too long , especially if your time is limited like mine is ,
    Thanks for al the help you can provide jon , Take Care

  3. Gary Wallis

    Another great course that is easy to follow. I found that I could remember the name of each note when I played the scale. As I played and named each note it was easier to remember them. Changing up and down the neck of the guitar made it easier to the remember where the notes were.

  4. james

    I just wanted to say that every guitar course that is out there say you should know your scales now so far all i seen from you is you do not need scales to be able to play lead guitar now i would like some kind of a peak at what you mean for lead guitar Thanks

    1. Jon Coursey Post author

      Hi James, we’re not saying you don’t need scales to play lead guitar. Scales are the foundation of lead guitar and yes, you need to learn them well to be a great lead player. What we are saying is that it’s not enough to just learn scales from top to bottom and think that somehow, that will make for good musical sounding solos. It won’t. Unfortunately, that’s the mistake we see many beginners make which leads to much confusion over the merits of learning scales and then what to do with them once you have learned them. The course we’ve just released teaches some really important scale shapes, but Mark takes it further to explain how you can apply some simple techniques to those scale shapes to get you out of the trap of just playing scales, and into making real music.

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