“Sometimes the nicest thing to do with a guitar is just look at it.” – Thom Yorke
But just looking at it won’t help you get any better. Almost every person in the UK likes music of some kind. However, just listening to music won’t help you learn how to play the guitar.
So let’s get to work! We’ll start with the major scale.
The major scale is the most common scale for musicians and non-musicians to be familiar with.
Music theory is important if you want to know how to read sheet music. (Source: HeungSoon)
Ask anyone to recite musical notes and they’ll probably tell you something like:
Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do. This is known as Solfège. This is basically the major scale and it’s a scale that every guitar player should learn.
In C, these notes are all the white keys on a piano. This is the first scale that most musicians will learn because all over scales are variations on this one. The others come from either altering notes or adding or removing a semitone.
Understanding how the major scale works are essential for learning how to play the guitar and learning other scales on the guitar.
The major scale is a heptatonic scale because it has seven notes between the first note (the tonic) and the last note (the fundamental).
Even in metal music, scales are important. (Source: PascalBeckmann)
Each note is no more than a full tone apart (be it a tone or a semitone). You just have to remember what the intervals between each note are:
As you’ll see on a piano, there’s only a semitone between E and F and B and C. On the guitar, each fret is a semitone apart so you’ll usually have to go up two frets between notes.
There are two ways to remember a scale. Either in terms of tones or in terms of frets:
The second of these two methods is the intervals in the scale in terms of frets. By remembering the structure and the intervals, you don’t need to worry about the key. You can start from any note and play the entire major scale.
Of course, some scales require you to add or remove semitones. It’s a major scale because there are two full tones between the tonic and the third.
You can also break down the scale as follows:
In a guitar lesson or tutorial, you’ll probably learn the diatonic scale with a guitar chord and the blues scale in the mixolydian mode. We generally learn the minor scales after we’ve learnt the major scales as they’re generally more important.
You can even play the major scale right up the far end of the neck. (Source: lbrownstone)
Whether you’re learning on a jazz guitar, acoustic guitar, or electric guitar, you can use these scales on the neck of any guitar. To help you transpose any major scale, here are the different notes that are used in each scale:
To play the major scale on the guitar, just like any guitar scale, you need to start from a given note.
You’ll soon know every part of your guitar. (Source: Free-Photos)
Let’s start with the C major scale. The C is the third fret on the second lowest string (A string) on your guitar (in terms of pitch).
The major scale can be played by moving along two frets, two frets, one fret, two frets, two frets, two frets, one fret. Knowing the major scale and how to transpose it is an essential part of learning how to play the guitar. It’ll also help you understand the intervals in different types of chords and learn how to improvise and compose more effectively.
Here’s some advice before you start working on the major scales:
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It’s recommended that you learn how to read scale diagrams if you want to learn how to play your scales.
A scale diagram can be played in a number of different ways. To start, you should play the scale from the lowest notes to the highest notes.
For the first position of the major scale, here’s how to place your fingers.
On all major scales, you play three notes on each string. You’ll, therefore, need to use three fingers on each string. There are three different positions.
You’ll need to learn three different fingerings.
Make sure you stay focused: keep your fingers pressed down when you’ve played the second and third note of the string. Do not take them off until you’ve played the first note on the next string. This technique should only be used when working from the low notes to the high notes.
Don’t forget to progressively work on memorising each position of the major scale and not just making it up as you go along.
Regular practice is the best way for improving your guitar playing, learning more about the melodic aspects of licks and riffs, and playing guitar solos.
Remember that when you learn to play a guitar scale, you can make things easier by focusing on the intervals between each note and going up and down the scale. Scales can also help a beginner come up with a chord progression, write guitar licks, play a solo, create melodies, and improvisation.
Whether you play blues guitar, rock guitar, or classical guitar, you need to learn each interval, guitar scale, and get practising either with beginner guitar lessons or online guitar lessons. There are plenty of free guitar resources online to get you started, too!