This chapter starts with an overview of common and not so common scales. It includes the ionian, melodic minor, harmonic minor and harmonic major systems as well as all symmetrical scales, some special scales and a few pentatonic scales. After that, you’ll find exercises for learning the scales.

This chapter is not meant to be practiced in its entirety. Because of the huge number of scales, exercises and exercise variations, this would be unreasonable. This is rather a reference for practice. Whenever you feel the need to improve your understanding of a particular scale, choose one or more exercises from this chapter. And whenever you feel the need to expand your horizon, choose a scale from the overview that attracts your attention.

I have not included specific improvisation exercises in this chapter. Just use the scale you are learning as note material for your solo on fitting chords. Try to incorporate the melodic material from the exercises in your solo, change the rhythm, mix it with other ideas, play the same melodic structure across chord changes, use only fragments etc. Warp it, twist it, turn it. Reharmonize chord progressions if needed.

Ionian System

Melodic Minor System

Harmonic Minor System

Harmonic Major System

Symmetric Scales