Why Does THIS Simple Scale Pattern Work? • Acoustic Tuesday 233

Guitar scales are incredibly important. But they’re also a little overwhelming. Why are there so many? Why is it all complicated? Does it have to be?

This episode is all about a acoustic guitar scale that I think simplifies a lot of things. To illustrate this, we’ll start by learning a lick in the key of E. I’ll continue by illustrating how and why this lick works.

You’ll see what the lick teaches about the horizontal scales, how to apply the lick in your playing, and so much more. Think of the lick as the creative launching pad and the lesson behind it as the secret sauce that makes everything work.

The episode is part of a new series called Lesson Behind the Lick. I hope you like this format and find that it helps contextualize the licks. If you enjoy this and want to see more, be sure to leave a comment and let me know!

Also featured in this episode…

  • The Nashville Predators
  • The North American Guitar
  • Carter Vintage Guitars
  • Avril Lavigne
  • John Lee Hooker Official
  • Music is Win
  • Hofner Guitars

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  1. Tony,

    The simple scale segment really made a connection for me with your explanation of horizontal scales vs verticle. Maybe it’s the way my mind works, but I was able to visualize the scale better on a single string.

    Yes, please keep this type of segment coming! I enjoy watching and playing along.

  2. Hey Tony – did you notice Dave Van Ronk and Brownie McGhee just behind John Lee in the beginning of that video clip? Interesting times back then …

  3. Hi Tony
    I enjoy the explanation behind the TAC lesson – gives substance to something which was just practicing a scale with no reason. So kudos to you for adding that. Also, I recently purchased a Taylor 522E and Gibson J200 Jr Montana Rose only to find later that you had reviewed both of them. So, I was doubly pleased having picked out something which is also regarded highly. A bit of a fluke but I sure enjoy playing them (actually, I call it plunking but I’ve come a ways in my journey)

  4. Hi Tony,
    I absolutely dug the one note improvisation lesson and would like to see more of those type of lessons in the future. I stopped the video and started trying out this concept on my guitar, I love the sound of the drone with the high strings. This is so cool and different for me, I’ll be experimenting much more with this. Thank you very much !

  5. Hi Tony, I’m a TAC member and really enjoy completing those daily challenges, but at times I hanker to understand more about the ‘magic’ or ‘mystery’ that lies behind the way those notes work together to create the scales, and how to ‘unlock’ that knowledge. I really did enjoy the way you gave us all a glimpse of that ‘magic’ today. Please do more of the same!
    Nick Andrews
    United Kingdom

  6. The single string picking a scale with the drone was nice. I did have to write down the scale notes in order to keep up. Went fairly slowly. Initially tried just the pentatonic minor scales as it was easier.

  7. Enjoyed your demonstrations of blues horizontal scales and finally now understand what those dots on my guitar neck are all about!! Even though I have only seen a few of these scales, I found my surprising ah-ha moment when most include the markers on the 3rd, 5th and 7th fret and not those frets in-between so much. Really enjoying participating with TAC and taking a quiet peek at prices of acoustic guitars (I have an Ibanez electric & Fender amp………..so far !! )

  8. I really like the expanded lesson segments. Sometimes when you stumble onto an “ah-ha” moment by yourself it is great, But too often I find I am so focused on the exercise and getting it right, that I fail to step back and see the bigger picture, or I don’t know what what question to ask in order to take the next step up. The expanded segments help me see that bigger picture and allow me to stitch together the pieces I have learned. Please keep up the good work.
    – on your recommendation I am off to listen to Avril…

    P.S. Absolutely loved the J.L. Hooker clip!

  9. Loved the horizontal scale segment. Especially the pull off demo on the G string. I’m definitely going to work on that!

  10. Great lesson today with the horizontal scale! Thank you for a clear, easy to understand presentation. It immediately opens up some creative opportunities.

  11. Hi Tony –
    I’m kinda shocked that you didn’t mention Billy Strings’ recent appearances on national TV. He was the musical guest on Colbert’s Late Show and (briefly) featured on the Grammy telecast. Tell me you didn’t miss both?

  12. Wonderful episode of AT Tony. Another 30 minutes very well spent. No matter which way you go on the xy axis I found one pattern and it rules them all. Half steps….it is all about half steps. Once there, I contemplated mirror images and suddenly as if a dense fog lifted it all made sense. Never would have found it without the bright beacon of knowledge you shine in your lessons on a daily basis. Ever grateful Tony, ever grateful. Now on to consonance and dissonance and the 1/4 tones that connect them.

  13. Hey Tony, check out the April/May ’22 addition of Smithsonian. There is an article about “The Tree.” Covers many topics you have talked about in the past about tone words and the rarity/scarcity of these woods. An unsuspecting article with a lot of guitar references. Don’t want spoil the article for you, worth the read. Larry in Minnesota

  14. Your method behind the lick was helpful. I heard of this before but didn’t really connect with it. I see now how useful it can be. Thank you kindly. Keep ‘em coming.