Rock Guitar Lesson – Must Know Chords & Scales

This rock guitar lesson will explain the most commonly used chords and scales that are used in rock. Rock music takes its roots in blues; so many of the components of rock will also be common to blues.

With rock music there are common chords that are used, the most common being the 5 chord or power chord, the major and minor chords. In rock guitar the most common scales used for soloing are the minor pentatonic, major pentatonic and blues scales.

The 5 chord is simply the root and the perfect fifth and can be played just using these two notes or adding the root up an octave using three strings. This chord is used extensively in rock, hard rock, metal and punk music. The chord is commonly played with the root on the low E string or on the A string, but a 5 chord can also be played less commonly over the higher strings giving a brighter sound. Because most chords are constructed using a root and fifth, it is important to know how to use the 5 chords as they are a stepping stone to learning most other chords on the guitar.

Rock guitar uses the major and minor chords, in the form of triads, extensively. If we take a 5 chord and simply add a flat 3, we create a minor chord. If we add a major 3 we create a major chord. It is common in rock guitar to use these chords in the open position on the fretboard, but they can be played on any part of the fretboard.

In rock guitar the most common scale used for soloing is the minor pentatonic. This scale is the “bread and butter” scale of rock. It is best to learn this scale first, before any others as it will be the most versatile scale in your soloing arsenal. The blues scale is also very common, and is created by simply adding a flat five to the minor pentatonic.

The major scale and the major pentatonic scale are commonly used in rock guitar. These scales will give a brighter sound to that of the minor pentatonic, and tend to be favoured by more upbeat or even country players. These scales can be applied to many different types of rock music from country to heavy rock to pop.

Thank you for reading this rock guitar lesson, I hope it gives you a clear understanding of what you need to learn to understand and play rock music. Best of luck with your guitar playing.

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