Beginner's Course • The Major Scale

(and some of it's closely related friends)

The Major Scale is the cornerstone of all Western Harmony. I think, it is very important to learn first. All other scales you will use in your guitar playing life are sub-scales of the Major Scale. You are hearing it all the time in the music you listen to without knowing it. It will sound"right" to your ears.


The granddaddy of all Major scale layouts. These are the 5 Basic Vertical Fingerings we all master at somepoint. You could make them a little more fun/interesting to learn by practicing them to a practice track in whatever Key you are basing them. The tracks in my Phrases Over Tracks section are all in G Major/E minor. Stay off the ones that say they are E Blues. The Major Scale sounds yucky over them. You will need to be able to place the root note (the red notes) of the pattern on a G note and play the pattern based off that. If you don't know where your note names are on individual strings you'll find them here Full Fretboard Note names . Once you get a pattern under your fingers, feel free to start adding a liberal amount of Fretting Hand Techniques this will take your playing to a new, more pro sounding level. Don't forget to listen to your favorite players and totally rip them off!! Anyone saying they didn't is a liar!!:) But! before you can add those fretting hand techniques you've got to know the pattern cold!!

The Major Scale - five basic fingerings vertically

The Major Scale - The 5 Basic Vertical Patterns - Represented with notes names if we were in the Key of G Major

Here are the same 5 Basic Patterns as above represented with note names instead of fingering. These would be the note names if you played them in the Key of G. To do this, start pattern 1 with root note "G" (1st or 6th string) on fret 3. Play the rest of the patterns relative to where you started pattern 1:) You can do this! Try it! Try jamming it over the chords in the key of G found here Chords in the Key of G Major

The Major Scale - The 5 Basic Patterns - Letter Names




The Major Scale - Three Notes Per String - all 7 patterns

Pick one, run it up and down a thousand times,ext pattern run it up and down a thousand times......and so on

the Major Scale - Three Notes Per String - all 7 patterns

The Major Pentatonic Scale - Horizontal-Sliding-Shifting Style Layout

The Major Pentatonic Scale removes the 4th and 7th degrees from the Major scale.

For instance, the G Major Scale is spelled" G A B C D E F#. To make this G Major Pentatonic just don't play tone #4, which is the note C, and don't play tone 7, which is F#. That leaves us with a 5 note (Penta) scale that is spelled: G A B D E. The patterns below are a very common and useful way of playing the Major Pentatonic scale that allows us to slide and or shift on the indicated notes. This allows fairly easy "Horizontal" movement across the fretboard. Very usefull for getting here to there. I use it a ton!!


Major Pentatonic - sliding/shifting pattern - Root 6


Major Pentatonic scale - sliding/shifting - Root 5

Here the Major Pentatonic Scale is layed out in it's 5 basic, bracket/position style, fingerings.

Major Pentatonic - all five verticle patterns



Minor Pentatonic scale - all five vertical patterns