Learn to Solo

You need to learn how to crawl before you learn how to run. So if you are brand-new to this subject my first suggestion would be to learn your string names:

E-A-D-G-B-E: these are your string names from top (thick strings) to bottom. That means that when you pluck the string alone (without no left hand on the string) then you get that note.

The next step is learning how to find and recognize the notes on your guitar. Start with finding notes on the E-bass string. Then A string. Then D string. These are the strings that your common chords will be based on and knowing how to find, for example, an “A” on any of these strings will be an asset for your playing for life.

Something that will help you immensely in your journey of guitar is learning your octaves. An octave is a musical interval and learning your intervals is a crucial part of the learning process. It goes hand-in-hand with learning about the notes on your guitar. After learning octaves I would move on to learning 5th’s. And after 5th’s I would start learning about 3rd’s and their relationship to minor and major (lessons coming soon!).

While learning your scale shapes is extremely important, it is equally important to remember that there are MANY ways to learn guitar soloing and memorizing scale patterns is only one. So don’t neglect learning your intervals just because memorizing is easier! These are the most important scale families to learn:

Chromatic Scale (12-note) Pentatonic Scale (5-note) Diatonic Scale (7-notes)

If you are wondering why I put the 12-note scale first instead of last, it is because the Chromatic Scale has the easiest memorization patterns. But to be honest, I only include it for beginners because it is a great scale for warming up your fingers and building that crucial muscle memory. Learning how to use the Chromatic Scale in context is not a beginner lesson.

The Pentatonic Scale is the MOST important scale in my opinion because it is the foundation of all of the other scales, and there are lots of different guitar scales once you get past these three! Here is a free PDF of the Pentatonic Scale Shapes for computer viewing and printing. And here is a Youtube video if you prefer that method.

Protip: Getting ALL FIVE SHAPES down in ONE KEY will help you more in the long-run than learning 1 or 2 shapes really well and neglecting the others.

Here is a video explaining exactly HOW you should be learning these shapes:


The Diatonic Scale is built by adding two extra notes to the framework of the Pentatonic Scale. Easy right? That is why I suggest knowing your Pentatonic Scales inside and out, because they will be your compass.

Here are a couple different variations you can implement into your Diatonic Scale practice:

The “Stutter” Variation The “Triplet” Variation

Protip: Guitar Modes and the Diatonic Scale have a DIRECT relationship. So if you do not have a solid grasp on Diatonic Scales then I would not suggest trying to understand Modes.

To make interesting music, it is important to not get “stuck” playing in memorized boxes and there are solutions. Here is a video I made a while back addressing this issue. A lot of guitar players begin to get bored with their own playing and getting stuck in boxes is one of the main reasons.

Here are some of the MANY ways to play the Diatonic Scale that will make you rethink the box, I call them “Scale Paths”:

Scale Paths from E-bass string Scale Paths from A string
Scale Paths from D string Scale Paths from G string

There are many ways to play scales “outside of the box”, here is a post with a ton charts showing you how.

Here are a couple interesting concepts that will introduce you to the most important aspect of your soloing, the mental aspect: