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How I Would Re-Learn Guitar from Scratch

Updated: Jan 13

I hate to say it, but there is some bad advice out there from some very high profile YouTubers. Now I'm not here to throw shade, we can all disagree and still get along.

But the thing is, I don't want you to waste your time.

So let me say this, I truly believe that you should definitely NOT start your guitar journey by memorizing the full major scale up and down the fretboard. Why? Well, how many songs that you want to play use the full major scale up and down the fretboard?.... ALMOST NONE!

Most people want to learn guitar because they like rock, blues, pop, folk, country, and similar genres. But those genres use almost exclusively pentatonic scales. So why start your journey on guitar spending time memorizing and practicing scales that are rarely used?

So, if I was to re-learn guitar from scratch again, what would I do? ... I would do exactly what I've been teaching all my students here for 14 years.

Very briefly, here's what I'd say is the the BEGINNER STAGE:

Open chords

Strumming technique

Common strum patterns

Open chord variations (sus, 7, etc)

notes on the E and A strings

Bar chords

Picking technique

Pentatonic easy shape

Blue notes

Extension shape

Common licks

Bends, hammers, pull-offs

And along the way you need to learn actual songs that feature all these skills so that you can use them and get good at them.

Once you know those things, you can dive right into any of the intermediate level lessons, like the ones I have on my YouTube channel and my Patreon group.

By the way, I've created a complete checklist that you can download for free. You can use this as a complete TO-DO list for your guitar study -- or use it to check how far you've already come, and what are some good next steps.

Guitar Journey Checklist
Download PDF • 43KB

Once you've completed everything in that beginner list, at that point, the order in which you learn things is less important, BUT you'll notice I still don't teach the full 7-note scales. You should work on these things next:


Major and Minor Pentatonic

All the pentatonic shapes up the fretboard

Double stops in thirds

Double stops in sixes

Interval shapes



Triads Major and Minor

Switching major and minor pentatonic

Mixing scales and chords together

Each one of these categories above is huge! That second list will normally take years to master, so don't underestimate that second list.

And don't forget, you'll need lots of exercises and songs to practice all these skills because guitar is just one part brain work, and several parts physical skill.

And EVEN if you mastered all of the above, I STILL wouldn't actually suggest you learn the Major Scale up and down the fretboard. You'd be better off learning the Dorian Mode. Playing in Dorian is far more useful if you like classic rock.

So let's get started. My books, Guitar Soloing Like a Pro Book 1 and 2 will take you through most of that intermediate level quite quickly. And our Patreon group is working on all these topics right now. You can join today.

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