No other music scale can compare to it’s importance. The major scale is the source of the major and minor pentatonic scales, the natural minor scale also the Dorian and Mixolydian modes.
The mixolydian mode is used by many blues players and other types of music. The Dorian mode is a minor mode. This mode was used by Carlos Santana in “Evil Ways” and “Black Magic Woman”.
Major Scale Format
How it’s Made
All of the major scales come from our music alphabet of 12 notes. Each scale is two halves of two other major scales. Every scale has the same interval layout. They are identical just in a different pitch.
You must understand what intervals are to understand how the scales are made. If you need to you can read about intervals below.
The numbers below represent the distance or interval between each note, they are also number of frets apart. This is the layout for all major scales.
The G Scale Construction
The first four notes of this scale came from the last four notes(tetrachord) of the C scale and the last four notes came from the first four notes(tetrachord) of the D scale.
You have heard this before. Singer sings this as do re me fa so la ti do. This helps them to enunciate words right. I can’t picture Mick Jagger doing this can you?
The Scale Tetra-Chords
Tetra-chords are four note sections that make up the scale. Each scale has two of these which come from two different scales.
The first one comes from the second tetra-chord of the key listed and the
second one comes from the first tetrachord of the scale listed.
Scale Numbering System
All these scales have numbers that go with the notes for easy identification. You will find out later that this way of referring to numbers makes it possible to refer to all scales and chords no matter what key you are in.
Usually this is used to refer to the chords but it is also our way of building our chords from scales. When referring to chords the numbers are usually written in Roman numerals, upper case for major chords and lower case for minor chords.
This way you can play the chords in any key
Here is a complete list of all the major scales.
Sharp and Flat List
♯ or ♭
B♭, E♭, A♭
B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭
B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭
B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, C♭
F♯, C♯, G♯, D♯, A♯, E♯
F♯,C♯, G♯, D♯, A♯
F♯, C♯, G♯, D♯
F♯, C♯, G♯
Major Scale Positions
The top 3 diagrams have their root on the 6th string, the other 3 have their root on the 5th string. The squares are scale tones but they are before or after the root.
They might confuse you if you’re not used to playing scales. If you play those other notes first you are playing in a mode and not the major scale directly.
All you have to do is line up the root with whatever scale form you want. If you need help finding the notes on the fretboard click on the guitar fretboard link below.
Guitar Fretboard Notes
The fingering for the 1st image on the left starts with the index finger, the middle image scale starts with the middle finger and the 3rd image over starts with the little finger. This is for both upper and lower images
The nut is on top the 6th string is on your left.
These are not the only way to play these scales, Sometimes when you are learning a scale it helps to do it in two string sections at a time instead of the whole thing. Another way to get a scale in your head is to play it on one string.
Scales for Left Handers
The nut is on top, the 6th string is on your right
The square notes are explained above