Playing scales is a part of all music education and learning how to play scales on guitar can turn you from an amateur guitar player to a guitarist who can improvise on any tune. The trouble with scales is that learning to play them takes daily practice. You go up and down the scale countless times, each time the scale seems to be a little longer and more tedious than the last.
Of course, learning how to play scales on guitar need not always be a chore but after some weeks of daily practice you reach a certain level of skill at playing scales and you find that you just don't know how to progress further.
Playing scales not only gives a guitar player the potential path to improvisation skills, this kind of practice is very important for turning your fingers into a guitar player's fingers and giving your brain a knowledge of the guitar fretboard. Once you start on learning to play scales on the guitar you begin to realize that any note can have a different sound and feeling in many different positions on the guitar neck.
These differences in the way the notes sound all over the guitar give you the key to experimenting with scale patterns and turning them into riffs and solos. If you make up a riff or an attractive combination of notes you can try it out up and down the fretboard. Your own enjoyment in moving simple scale patterns around the guitar will be your inspiration to learn more about how the various scales sound and how you can use them for improvisation.
Your education in how to play scales on guitar can be divided into two sections: learning the scales from a web page or a guitar tutor and listening to, and learning to play, the solos of your favorite guitar players. It should only be a little while before the two sections combine. You will see how other guitarists are playing scales and how time and again they make use of the same sequences of notes in a combination of positions on the fretboard to produce a seemingly endless repertoire of guitar solos.
You begin your exploration of scales and the guitar by learning three notes per string scale patterns or five notes per string patterns. There is a slight difference in the way these patterns are played because the three note patterns need you to move your hand position a little more than the five note per string patterns.