Most Useful Scale To Play Hot Rockin Guitar Solos

Most Useful Scale To Play Hot Rockin Guitar Solos

In this lesson, you are going to learn what the most useful scale to play hot Rockin guitar solos is.  This knowledge will allow you to play a guitar solo with confidence because you will be playing notes that properly fit over the chord progression that you are soloing over.  Any chord progression in any key.

You will also learn how the notes lay along the guitar fretboard so that you can easily find them.  This will build even more self-confidence in your playing as you will be able to play in multiple places and create a wider landscape with your musical creativity.

The most useful scale

The most useful scale to play guitar solos is the pentatonic scale.  This collection of notes can be played in both major and minor.  The reason why this is the most useful scale is that it works with all styles of music.  No matter if you are playing Blues, Rock, Pop, Jazz, or Country.  The pentatonic scale can be used for them all.  This is why it is so useful.

This is very helpful to our learning because then we know that no matter what style of music we are listening to, we can play a solo over it with the pentatonic scale.  That is why it is most important to start here when it comes to scales.  Just like when you learn guitar chords, you start with the basics and progress from there.  These are the same way.

The minor pentatonic scale for guitar solos

A minor pentatonic scale for guitar solos

There are both major and minor pentatonic scales.  For our purposes here we will look at the minor pentatonic scale.  This is the most common scale to play and the very first one that most people learn when playing guitar solos.  The reason for this is because of the way the notes lay upon the fretboard.   This makes it easy to learn and visualize.

The pentatonic scale stands for a collection of five notes.  Penta meaning five and tonic meaning notes.  A five-note scale.  For our purposes in this lesson, we will use the most common minor pentatonic scale, the A minor pentatonic scale.  This scale has five notes in any key you play it in, but for our purposes here we will learn them in the key of A minor.

Notes of the minor pentatonic scale

Like I said before, the pentatonic scale is made up of five notes.  And in the key of A minor, the notes would be:

A C D E & G

The reason for this is because of the notes that are in the A minor scale.  These notes are:

A B C D E F G A.

You can see that these five notes are in this scale and that is why these five notes are chosen.  In a different key, the five notes would be different.  But to keep things easy to understand without getting too technical, we’ll just know that these are the five notes we will be using for this lesson.

Pentatonic scale fingering

A minor pentatonic scale

If you look at the diagram, you can see that if we start on the lowest string (the low E string) the fingering is a 1-4 and the next three strings  (the A, D & G string) are a 1-3 and the last two strings (the B & high E) are back to a 1-4 fingering.

This is great because the notes line up in such a way that they become easy to play and visualize.  It is recommended that you look at this diagram over and get it etched into your brain because a lot of soloing can be done with just this one scale.  Learn to play it at the fifth fret and the practice playing it all over the fretboard.

Watch the video lesson below

Learn your notes

The best way to get the most out of playing scales to produce guitar solos that sound good every time is to learn your notes on all six strings.  Start with the low E string and memorize the note location.  This can be done fairly simple if you learn the 12 sacred notes of the chromatic scale.

These 12 notes are on all six strings and provide the foundation for all western music in all styles.  Since the sixth string is the low E string, you start there in the open position and then progress through the musical alphabet.  E F F# G A A# B etc.  When you do this you’ll notice that the fifth fret is an A note and that is why this scale located at the fifth fret is called an A minor pentatonic.

Sound good anywhere you play

playing guitar solos

By learning your notes (especially on the 6th string) you will be able to determine where you need to play to sound good.  If you know that the song is in the key of G, you can play this scale at the third fret (because that is where the g note is located) and your guitar solo will sound fine.  The reason for this is because these five notes are in the key that you are playing every time.

But, in order to find this location quickly of where you need to play, you either need to develop your ear (which is a great of playing but does take some time to develop) or know your notes so you can find your positioning quickly.

Play your guitar solo in both octaves

You can also play this same scale further u the neck in its relative octave.  Meaning, that every note repeats after the 12th fret.  That is why there are two dots on this fret.  This is the end of the musical scale and the notes then repeat afterward.  This is important to know as well as it gives you another location to play your guitar solo.

If you are playing in the key of A minor, you can now play at the fifth fret and also at the seventeenth fret.  Why?  Because the notes are the same.  Just an octave higher.  This not only gives you more diversity in your playing and allow you o have more freedom of expression, but it also gives you more knowledge of the fretboard.  And this is what is going to improve your musicianship.

A deeper dive into soloing

laying guitar solos is a lot of fun once you get the basics down and start to fully understand what you are doing and why it works.  That is why I wrote and published a couple of books on the topic.  Lead Guitar Wizardry. Vol 1 & 2.  For our beginning purposes hear I’ll discuss volume 1.

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

Volume 1 of Lead Guitar Wizardry teaches the fundamental principles of lead guitar playing and finding your voice when playing guitar solos.  It teaches you in a simple step-by-step method that will have you playing guitar solos in no time all over the fretboard.  Not only that, but you will be doing it with confidence.

When it comes to playing guitar solos, you want to know what to play, where to play and how to play any time t=you get into a musical situation.  Lead Guitar Wizardry will teach you:

*Basic notation

*The 5 pentatonic scale patterns

*Techniques on how to paly them

*Where on the fretboard you should play them

*Easy methods for learning them quickly

*The blues scale and 12 bar blues riffs


*Practice habits

*Ear training

*Basic music theory

And much, much, more.  You’ll learn why all this is important to know when it comes to playing guitar solos.  In fact, you’ll learn things that most guitar players don’t know because they play by ear and don’t study music.  There is nothing wrong with ear training, but you add that to understanding music concepts and principles and you’ll be standing above the crowd.

End frustration and confusion

If you are looking to do it right from the get-go, or you’ve started out but have run into some roadblocks, end frustration and confusion by following this course of action and build your self-confidence in the process.  Study and practice enough, and you might even become a Lead Guitar Wizard!

Lesson conclusion

When it comes to playing guitar solos, start out with the minor pentatonic scale.  it is easy to learn, most common and used by all the classic great guitar players.   Once you get that down, learn the major pentatonic scale.  These two alone can work wonders for your playing.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to grab my FREE training-guide Guitar Solo Secrets that’ll get you moving in the right direction.  Once you do, get the book and go further. Be sure to visit my website if you feel taking private lessons can help and follow me on Social Media for all my latest lesson updates.

Until our next lesson, keep practicing and take care.

Dwayne Jenkins

Dwayne Jenkins