The Major Scale - World of Guitar Lessons (2023)

The Major Scale - World of Guitar Lessons (1)

Learn to play, shape, and use the major scale effectively. This is possibly the most important scale you can learn. It is used in improvisation, chords, diatonic harmonics and much more.

what you should know

This lesson explains how to build the major scale along with patterns that make it easy to play anywhere on the fretboard. You need to know a few things before proceeding. All these concepts are also explained inThe world of guitar lessons The book.

  1. You need to understand the difference between a whole tone (tone) and a semitone (semitone). You can know more about this in myinterval lessons.
  2. You need to know how to find a note on the fretboard. You can know more in mineLearning the lesson of the tuning fork.
  3. You must have knowledge of notation and tablature. You can know more about this atmy notation class.
  4. You should be able to use scale graphics. You can know more about her in mine.guitar lesson diagrams.

Topics covered

  1. scale definition
  2. Natural note names and ranges
  3. Major ScaleFormel
  4. chord relationships
  5. Two ways to form a major scale
  6. single octave pattern
  7. Kastenmuster
  8. Practice the major scale

Definition of a scale

A scale is simply a series of notes arranged in pitch order. They are named after the first note in the sequence. This is called the root tone. Scales can go up or down in pitch.

Write down names and areas.

Before you can explain how the major scale is formed, you need to understand the intervals between named notes. There are whole steps between A-B, C-D, D-E, F-G, G-A and semitones between B-C, E-F.

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Natural tones (W = whole tone, B = semitone)

Accidents allow more flexibility with these notes. Because they change the pitch of a note by a semitone, many notes have two names. For example, A# is enharmonically equal to Bb (A# and Bb are the same pitch with different names). Later I will show you the rules that determine which one to use.

intervals on major scales

The major scale is a major scale. Contains a repeating pattern of seven notes at specified intervals of whole and semitones. The numbers are often used to indicate the scale level in the repeating pattern. Degrees are given in numerals or Roman numerals (as shown).

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Major scale intervals (W = whole tone, B = semitone)

Each major scale is associated with a major key. For example, the key of C (major) corresponds to the scale of C major. If you specify a primary key, you can omit the primary word. Is assumed. The key of Ci is the easiest key to learn the scale because it contains no accidentals (neither sharps nor flats). You can play the C major scale in open position below.

When you're first practicing scales, I recommend playing up and down from root to root (as shown here). The notes are in order C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C - B - A - G - F - E - D - C.

chord relationships

I want to make you think about the relationship between the major scale and chords. The notes of a chord can be derived from the major scale. Start with one step and play all the other notes. For example, you can form a C major chord by playing C-E-G. In the same way, you can form a D minor chord by playing D-F-A. The C chord is the I chord, the D chord is the II chord. Scale degrees (Roman numerals) are used to indicate chord progressions. TOii-V-Imeans you would play D minor, G major, C major in order. Also note that lowercase letters indicate minor chords. If you want to know more, read mine.They agreemichord progressionKlassen.

Two ways to form a major scale

I want to show you how to form an F major scale because it uses an accidental. Scales are always written in alphabetical order of notes. So the F major scale would be written as F-G-A-B-C-D-E. The problem is that this is not on a large scale. It's actually Lydian mode. To make it bigger, we need to correct the signed intervals. In this case, the interval between A and B is a semitone instead of a whole tone. So we need to flatten the B to make it a semitone. Now you have F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E, the F major scale.

It is important that you never use the same letter twice. Although A# is Bb enharmonic, the other letter lets the player know that the fourth note of the scale is being played and not a modified version of the third note of the scale. This convention is useful when musicians communicate.

Spell the major scale by key

Another way to build the scale is to learn/memorize the number of sharps and flats in the key. For example, the key of F is known to be Bb. Spell out your scale and change the notes that are flat or flat within the key.

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Spell the major scale in whole tones/semitones

To make sure you know how to form the scale, I've provided step-by-step instructions.

  1. Start with the root of the key you are using. In the key of F, its root is F.
  2. Follow the interval formula for a major scale (W-W-H-W-W-W-H).
    1. One whole step above F is G.
    2. One full step above G is A.
    3. A semitone above A is Bb. To hold a semitone, we need to use accidentals. In this case it is an apartment.
    4. A whole tone above Bb is C.
    5. One full rung above C is D.
    6. One full rung above D is E.
    7. A semitone above E is F. E for F is, of course, a semitone.

F major scale in open position

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F major scale

F major scale on the 6th string

You can also play the scale on one string. I think this is one of the best ways to learn the step pattern. Play the pattern below, repeating from the 13th fret to the bottom of the fretboard if you have access. Play up and down. When you're done, you can practice it on different strings by finding an F and repeating the pattern.

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F major scale intervals on fingerboard (6th string)

Practice in the middle of class.

I recommend two exercises to help you learn the pattern and sound of the major scale. It is important that you listen to the sound of the scale. I often recommend playing a major chord before playing this scale. This will help you hear the scale. For example, play a C major chord and then a C major scale.

Exercise 1:Write the notes of all the major scales. You can verify (or fool) yourself with myList of major scale sheet music.

Exercise 2:For each key, play the major scale on each individual string. Say the notes as you play them. Sing them if you can. Pay attention to noises and footsteps. This is useful because sometimes you want to move up or down with a scale hanging from your neck, and this exercise will help you figure out how to do it.

Learn Major Scale Patterns

The guitar is difficult because you can play the same key in several places on the fretboard; however, it is easy because it provides us with repeatable patterns. In this section, you'll learn about several major scale patterns.

There are three ways to learn scales on the guitar: notes, intervals, and patterns. You have already learned the major scale in two ways, through notes and intervals. This section explores the third, which is probably the funniest.

Three ways to learn the C major scale:

  1. Nota: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
  2. By interval: W-W-H-W-W-W-H (the formula for the major scale)
  3. Default: explained below

single octave pattern

Single octave patterns are the easiest patterns to learn. They can be chained in multi-octave patterns, allowing you to play the scale anywhere on the fretboard. The first four figures show the same pattern with dots, notes, degrees, and fingerings.

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playing the pattern

The following notation shows how you can play the single octave pattern.

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C Major Scale - Playing the Single Octave Pattern

7 single-octave patterns

Below are 7 of the most useful single octave patterns you'll find. These patterns allow you to play an octave without changing position on the fretboard.

I labeled the patterns similar to how Larry Bruno labels his box patterns. I use two numbers, the first is the lowest root string number. The second is the finger that should play this root note. For example, 6-2 indicates that you should find the root on the 6th string and start on the middle finger. 6-4 means you should start with the little finger.

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After analyzing these patterns, you can reduce the number of patterns to the first two patterns (6-2 and 6-4). You'll notice that the patterns that use the index or middle finger use the same pattern. Patterns that use the pinky use the same finger. You will notice a slight difference between the pattern on the top row and the pattern on the bottom row. If you change a pattern line from the 3rd to the 2nd string, the notes on that line move up one fret. This rule applies to all patterns in standard tuning.

multi-octave pattern

By linking single octave patterns together, you can create one large multi-octave pattern for the entire fretboard. This is nearly impossible to learn on your own, which is why guitarists often break patterns into parts. Remember that these notes are repeated on the fretboard (for example, the 1st fret has the same note name as the 13th fret).

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Full scale multi-octave pattern (C major scale)

Large-Scale Boxing Patterns

You can connect the patterns into multi-octave patterns by repeating the same single-octave pattern to create patterns that run diagonally up and down the fretboard. You can also alternate them to get box patterns.

The 6-2 snare pattern (below) is a combination of the 6-2 single-octave pattern and the 4-4 single-octave pattern. You can also concatenate the 6-2 single octave pattern with the 4-2 single octave pattern to form a diagonal pattern (not shown).

All of these patterns can be moved along the fingerboard, allowing you to play any major scale. Simply move the pattern so that the root (black dot) is on the appropriate fret. You'll notice the patterns overlap so you can connect them all. They usually overlap by 2 frets. In theory you could learn 3 patterns and cover the entire fretboard. I'm providing all five because some are easier to play than others.

You'll notice that I've included a name for the chord shape. Each pattern contains the notes of a CAGED chord shape. Can you see the chords you already know? You can use this knowledge to find chord notes within the scale. Chord tones are often used as an improvisational technique. Connecting the two is a great way to improve your gaming knowledge and skills.

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5-4 Box-Muster (Formulario C)
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6-4 Kastenmuster (Forma G)
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4-2 Standard (Form D)

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5-2 Boxmuster (Format A)
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6-2 Standard (Form E)

If you're just starting out, I'd learn the 6-2 and 5-2 snare patterns and the 3-1 single-octave pattern. This way, you know a pattern for rooted chords on the 5th and 6th strings. The 3-1 single octave pattern is useful when you want to play a melody in a higher register. It also fits perfectly under the fingers.

How to focus your practice

Learning the major scale is a big problem. I recommend the following neat approach for practice.

  1. Learn to form notes in the major scale.
  2. First learn the individual octave patterns. Learn them with the root notes of the chords you know. This simplifies your search for the scale.
  3. Once you've played one-octave patterns, you'll want to expand them. Start by playing an octave higher (12 frets higher). Then expand the scale with another one-octave pattern that connects with what you know.
  4. Learn to play the major scale on one string. This will help tip the balance even more.
  5. Next, you need to examine the box patterns. You will find your single octave patterns inside the snare patterns.

practice exercises

Use my exercise guide above and apply the following exercises to these ideas. Remember to say the notes as you play them. Knowing the notes within the pattern can help you avoid grooves and plateaus in your playing (trust me, I've been there). That's one of the reasons I associate chords with snare patterns.

practice a single octave

  1. In both places, play individual octave patterns for a specific chord and root. Say the notes as you play them.
  2. Form diagonal patterns by playing 6-2 and 4-2, 5-2 and 3-1.
  3. Form snare patterns by connecting individual octave patterns: 6-2 and 4-4, 6-4 and 3-1
  4. Practice picking alternately while playing the patterns. It will help you improve your speed.
  5. Use a metronome to play in time.

simple rope exercises

  1. Play a single octave pattern. Finish by playing the next octave on a single string until you run out of room. Practice going up and down.
  2. Play individual octave patterns that go up and down on each string. Start with the root note of a chord at this point.


  1. Play a chord and then the snare pattern associated with that chord shape.
  2. Play all 5 boxing patterns in two locations. Ex: Box 6-2 is rooted at frets 5 and 17. This is a major scale pattern.
  3. Practice switching between boxing patterns. Some guitarists like to start with a 6-4 pattern and switch to a 6-2 pattern by playing 4 notes on the 5th string (with a hand change). Try this with other patterns. Move the box in the string before or after the root. For example, if it rises from a root on the third string (frame 6-4), it changes the pattern on the fourth string (frame 5-2). As you go down from 5-2, change the pattern on the 2nd string (6-4).
  4. Practice picking alternately while playing the patterns.
  5. Try connecting the patterns with the same pattern one octave higher. Use the major scale on a single string to connect them.

last words

You will want to spend a lot of time in the major scale. It will take a while, I won't lie. You have to learn to play physically, to remember mentally, and that takes time. Learn in pieces. Most people recommend snare patterns, but I find single octave patterns easier and more effective.

After learning the major scale, you are ready to learnThey agree, diatonic harmony,wayand much more. As always, you can find all these topics inThe world of guitar lessons The book.

If you enjoyed this lesson, do me a favor andI like my facebook pageso you can learn when I post new lessons. if you haveQuestions or comments, please contact me.I want to help you become a better guitar player.

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