Psychedelic Guitar Scales (with TABs)

Since many people visit my blog to know more about scales for psychedelic guitar, I would like to explain some basics in more detail. And in tablature, this time.

As a preparation, please read this former post! I will give you a basic riff to improvise on, by using the mixolydian scale. You can either play this scale the usual way (example 1) or slide along just the G-string (example 2), maybe pretending your guitar was a sitar…

So, use some slides, bendings and so on! Scales are just a raw material, nothing more. You have to make something out of it. Go ahead now.

Psychedelic Basic Riff in A – give it a nice rhythm!







Example 1): Psychedelic Scale (A mixolydian)







Example 2): A mixolydian on just one string (G string): use slides in a wild manner!

G –––0––2––4––6––7––9––11––12––14–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Don’t forget to practice each scale either way, meaning downward as well as upward! Furthermore, it’s understood that nobody will be able to create a psychedelic sound who lacks listening experience with psychedelic music…

If so, maybe you should listen to the medley in this former post: psychedelic medley and the list of tunes

the psychedelic medley


On Simon‘s request, I would like to publish a list of the 17 tracks I used for the psychedelic medley of last year, along with a “reissue” of the medley itself.

1. Electric Prunes: I had too much to dream last night

2. Blues Magoos: Love seems doomed

3. Blues Magoos: Got to get away

4. Beatles: I’m only sleeping

5.  Blues Magoos: There’s a chance we can make it

6. Pink Floyd: Interstellar Overdrive

7. Family: See Through Windows

8. Rolling Stones: Gomper

9. Pretty Things: Bracelets of Fingers

10. Kinks: You’re Looking Fine

11. Cream: Deserted Cities Of The Heart

12. Hendrix: Castles Made Of Sand

13. Electric Prunes: Long Day’s Flight

14. Quicksilver Messenger Service: Too long

15. Vanilla Fudge: You Just Keep Me Hanging On

16. Nice: Bonnie K.

17. Pretty Things: Buzz The Jerk

There is much more psychedelic music from the original period in existence than I had thought. Quite a few bands published just one, but excellent or unique album, so nowadays these band’s names are forgotten. It was a short-lived time, even then. Everything in psychedelic music happened within less than two years. As a suggestion, also listen to John’s Children, the first Bee Gees album, Kaleidoscope (album “Tangerine Dream”), The Incredible String Band, Donovan, early Traffic, Country Joe and the Fish, The Seeds, Aorta, Moby Grape, 13th Floor Elevators, The Chocolate Watchband, Clear Light, Fever Tree, C.A. Quintet. Family’s debut “Music in a doll’s house” is an album I adore.

Virtually any established band, like the Kinks, The Hollies, The Moody Blues, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, brought out a psychedelic album in 1967. For some this was just a matter of fashion (like sitars and fancy caftans), dropped the year after – for some it was a deeper and longer lasting experience. Most of the music mentioned here is also represented on youtube, and there are more psychedelic lists on Amazon etc.