Exotic Guitar Scales – Part 1

Exotic Guitar Scales are great for adding spice to your lead guitar playing. I wouldn’t suggest learning any of the 12 scales shown in this lesson before learning the minor pentatonic scale, the natural minor or the major scale (see 4 Scales You Should Know) but they might be part of the sound and guitar style you are searching for. Each of these 5 and 7 note scales is an attention getter! All scales are shown in the Key of A.

Exotic Guitar Scales

Exotic Guitar Scales
To help you experiment with the sound of each of these scales I wrote the following jam track. It consists of a simple A octave pattern so you have freedom to use all the scales shown. I recorded the sitar setting of my Line 6 Variax for this one. It just seemed appropriate. 🙂

Ethnic Jam Track – Key of A

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At one time I learned each of these scales shown note for note. After some time I began to hear these scales as containing characteristic notes of the Chromatic Scale (see the lesson on Chromatic Numbering for more on this approach) as well as signature interval combinations. I suggest those seriously studying this list of guitar scales employ each approach.

The guitar scales shown in this guitar lesson:

  • Exotic Pentatonic (5 Note) Scales
    • Japanese (Kumoi)
    • Kokinjoshi
    • Iwato
    • Balinese Pelog
    • Hirajoshi
  • Exotic Heptatonic (7 note) Scales
    • Double Harmonic (Gypsy Major)
    • Hungarian Minor
    • Hungarian Major
    • Enigmatic
    • Neopolitan Minor
    • Neopolitan Major
    • Persian

A PDF of the scales shown can be downloaded here: Free Exotic Scales Download

Have fun!

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14 Comments on “Exotic Guitar Scales – Part 1”

  • Storm wrote on 4 March, 2010, 8:53

    What do you think? Is anyone using these exotic scales, or would you?

  • Dailon wrote on 6 March, 2010, 15:05

    Originally Posted By Storm: What do you think? Is anyone using these exotic scales, or would you?

    It’s Ok! I wanted to try another sound in my new solo and your exotic scales is pretty good for it! I think that Enigmatic and Persian scales are the most ‘wild’

  • John wrote on 31 March, 2010, 19:12

    @Storm – 

    Exotic scales are amazing!  

    Don’t forget to learn all of the modes within the scales as well folks!!!  

  • mississippi wrote on 10 May, 2010, 19:47

    Hey these scales rocked
    I did a lead to your track, if you want to hear it let me know

  • rajesh kshetri wrote on 26 July, 2010, 23:31

    which type of music form fromjapanese exotic scales…

  • Storm wrote on 29 July, 2010, 10:33

    @rajesh kshetri – It reminds me of the koto, a traditional japanese instrument. But use these scales anytime you need a new sound. The first three scale lack a ‘3rd’ so in theory could be used over both major and minor chords.

  • desmond wrote on 24 September, 2010, 12:21

    storm, thank you very much, I have not seen the double harmonic scale in a very long time and I am glad that I ran into it again..I had completely forgotten about it since I lost my reference source on exotic scales….it really fits with some stuff I am doing right now.

  • desmond wrote on 24 September, 2010, 12:24

    I beg you humbly for part 2

  • Carlos wrote on 6 December, 2011, 3:38

    Had great fun with this track. Since it’s a bit overwhelming to learn a bunch of new scales, I like to play over this by just thinking A Phrygian and then adding lots of chromatic passing notes OR deliberately omitting a note or two from it consistently. A bit of cheating but having just memorized all my modes and my minor/major pentatonics I don’t think my brain can cope w/ memorizing 12 new scales and then 3 or 4 positions for each!

  • commenter wrote on 7 December, 2011, 23:19

    thanks for these scales just the kind of stuff ive been looking for

  • shalom wrote on 28 December, 2012, 2:22

    thank u for your support
      please send me the scales and theory that how to play

  • Pete wrote on 10 March, 2013, 10:09

    Don’t mean to be rude, but is there a mistake with the Persian scale diagram? With the numerals it clearly states there is no flat third, yet there is a C note on the high E… ?


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