5 Best Guitar Scale Books to Master Your Fretboard

Best guitar scale books

Discover the best guitar scale books that will take your playing to the next level. From beginner-friendly guides to advanced scale patterns, these books offer a comprehensive approach to mastering scales and improving your guitar skills.

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This is a list of the 5 best guitar scales books.

These books have helped me to understand scales at an extremely high level, allowing me to effortlessly solo, compose, and improvise on the guitar.

So let’s dive in, and I’ll show you exactly what scale books for guitar will work best for you.

Guitar Scale Books Quick Glance

Pentatonic Khancepts

Pentatonic Khancepts by Steve Khan

Pentatonic Khancepts is arguably the best guitar book for learning about pentatonic scales.

You see, this isn’t just another typical pentatonic scale book; this is a book that dives deep into  advanced pentatonic concepts, hence the name!

Sure, you probably know the five pentatonic scale shapes, but do you know the five dominant pentatonic scale shapes? You know, the shapes that were used by jazz legend John Coltrane, and are now used by modern fusion guitar legends?

On top of learning advanced pentatonic scale shapes and types, you’ll also learn how to solo over every different type of chord. This makes this book a staple for any guitar player looking to master improvisation.

Improvisation is a lot easier when you can plug in and use super simple pentatonic shapes, rather than thinking about other scales with lots of intervals and positions. 

Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this guitar scale book. You’ll be soloing over complex chord changes like a pro after you’ve gone through it.

Also, here’s an incredible video of showing off the skills of the mighty Steve Khan, the author of Pentatonic Khancepts.

Scales And Modes in The Beginning

Scales and Modes in The Beginning by Ron Middlebrook:

Scales and Modes in The Beginning is an incredible scale resource for any guitar player, from beginner to advanced!

This book covers everything from fundamental scales and modes to exotic scales to complex messiaen modes.

This includes the:

  • chromatic scale
  • whole tone scale
  • augmented scale ( which is one of my favorites)
  • 7 modes of the major scale
  • pentatonic scales, including altered pentatonic
  • harmonic minor scale
  • ascending melodic minor scale
  • bop scale

On top of covering every fundamental scale in-depth, the book will dive deep into scale terminology, fretboard visualization, and improvisation.

So, if you are looking for the best guitar scale book ever written, and you just want one book, then this is the one for you.

One VERY important thing to note with Scales and Modes in The Beginning is the fact that the book only has standard notation. You will find no tablature in it.

The good news is, you only need to have a basic understanding of reading notes on the guitar in order to get through this book. You can learn basic notation in a couple of weeks as long as you know the note names on the fretboard.

Monster Scales And Modes

Monster Scales And Modes by Dave Celentano:

Monster Scales And Modes is the best fretboard diagram and guitar scale shapes reference book you can find!

Seriously, if you’re just looking for an easy scale book full of fretboard diagrams, then this is the best book for you.

The book is only 45 pages long, but that is a good thing in my eyes. This makes it very easy to find the scale shapes that you want to practice and reference.

It does dive into the basics of guitar scales at the beginning of the book, but after that it pretty much just shows you the scale names, shapes, and formulas.

You’ll start off by learning shapes for fundamental scales such as the major, minor, pentatonic, and blues scales, then move into the modes of the major scale.

From there you will dive into the harmonic and melodic minor scales, which are great for diversifying your compositional and improvisational knowledge.

The scales on the last seven pages of the book are all exotic scales. This includes the Kumoi (Japan), Prometheus, and Hungarian major scales.

Overall, if you’re looking for a scale reference guide full of fundamental scales, advanced guitar scales, and exotic scales, then you will love this book.

Also, here’s an awesome video showing Dave Celentano, the book’s author, shredding his guitar.

Guitar Scales in Context

Guitar Scales in Context by Joseph Alexander:

Guitar Scales in Context is the best modern scale book for guitarists that want to learn how to apply and use guitar scales.

You’ll learn 18 fundamental and useful guitar scales, and you’ll be able to use them immediately!

You see, unlike other guitar scale books, this book actually provides examples, backing tracks, and licks that are derived from every scale shown to you.

That way you’ll not only understand how to play the scale, but you’ll also understand how the scale sounds, how it’s implemented, and the type of backing tracks / chord changes the scale(s) will work with.

Overall, this book is exactly what it says it is: Guitar scales in context. 

Yes, it has fretboard diagrams. And yes, it is a pretty dang good reference book.

But more importantly, this book gives you a full practice framework / routine. You’ll get to learn scales at your own pace, whilst also learning some fun licks while you’re at it!

Guitar Scales for Beginners 

Guitar Scales for Beginners by Guitar Head:

Guitar Scales for Beginners is another beginner friendly guitar scales book full of fundamental scales, licks, and patterns.

But with this book you’ll not only learn scale patterns. 

For starters, you’ll learn how to create a fretboard of your own by stringing together intervals and scale positions.

The book also shows you lots of different guitar scale exercises related to the scales that you are learning. This way you’re not left in the dust with plain scale shapes and no way to apply them.

And you know what’s even better than exercises? Guitar licks, and this book has lots of them! This is due to the fact that the book’s primary goal is to get you to play and write guitar solos effortlessly.

And what’s the easiest way to get started with playing your own guitar solos? Learning licks and exercises, of course!


And there you have it: my list of best guitar scale books.

Remember to pick a book based on your current guitar playing goals. This could be improvisational, compositional, music theory oriented, or related to fretboard visualization as a whole.

But if you want to get started right away with super simple scales that will make soloing a breeze, and make improvising really fun, then get Pentatonic Khancepts.

And if you’re looking for more awesome guitar books, then check out these guitar books for intermediate players books and guitar books for advanced players.

Catch you in the next post!