Guitar – Visualizing Scales With Excel

Guitar LogoLearning and memorizing scale patterns on the guitar can be a discouraging process even for the most seasoned player. Guitarists, like myself, spend countless hours memorizing a scale to eventually forget it. Someone once told me that there are three signs of old age: The first is memory loss…and I can’t remember the rest.

In this post I’d like to share with you a simply excel spreadsheet that can help you in your guitar rocking endeavors and ensure that you utilize the whole fretboard when learning that new scale.

Most of the time guitarists learn to play a particular scale in single position or area of the guitar. Typically, rock/blues guitarists learn the A / E minor pentatonic scale in the fifth position and completely neglect to learn it  elsewhere – I confess, I’m guilty of it too. So I put together a rather simple Excel spreadsheet (I know, tons of programs exist out there for just this but this is free). Please click “Enable Editing” when loading the file in Excel as this file does contain macros, I assure you, no viruses.

In the example below, I’d like to learn the E minor pentatonic scale. I also know that the scale construction is as follows: 1, ♭3, 4, 5, ♭7 or E, G, A, B, D.

1 2♭334 5 6♭771

In the sample video below, I start copying from a cell that begins with E all the way to it’s octave and paste it in the smaller table below the main fretboard. At the point, I start removing cells (notes) that don’t belong to the scale construction I’m after. In this case, I can eliminate all but E, G, A, B, D. Check out the video below (no audio).

You can find the file here (MD5: 7c731b3358e950717b9ba3ac3d9a8412).

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