'The Major Guitar Scale'
Used in Rock, Country, Pop, Jazz & Fusion

These major guitar scale charts should have you playing along to popular songs in no time at all. The 'major' scale is a very appropriate name. To say it's the cornerstone of all Western music, not just for guitar but for all instruments, is in fact a bit of an understatement to say the least. All the modes come from the major scale. Also, all chords are formed from this scale with their names reflecting their relationship with the major guitar scale fingering pattern.

When we mention terms like a 'flat third', 'minor third', 'sharp fourth' or a major or 'minor seventh' for example, we are relating to the major scale.

Learn the major scale well and all other guitar scales will be much easier to learn as they all relate to this one. You'll also start to understand about chord structure a little more if you don't already understand this seemingly complex subject.

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Click the links below to go straight to the major guitar scale charts or read on for more info.

The Major Scale - 3 notes to each string
The Major Scale - box style with notes
The Major Scale - box style with finger positions
The Major Scale - notes throughout the entire neck

If you learn to combine the major scale with the pentatonic guitar scales, you'll be able to play along to practically all popular and modern jazz music including my favourite, George 'bad' Benson! I love his playing!

Major Guitar Scale - Root Notes

Make a mental reference of where the root notes are in relation to the scale shape as you go. Learn each shape of the major scale well before moving on to the next position. As you learn another shape and position start to blend the two together by sliding from one note of one position to another note of the next position and so on. The best fingers to use for sliding are the middle finger and the ring finger. 

Practice moving from one position to the next until it becomes fluent.

All root notes are highlighted in red as usual. Unfortunately, the notes on the major scale chart showing 'three notes to a string' are a little too small to see due to the number of fret boards on the chart. These can easily be worked out though by viewing the guitar neck note chart at the bottom of the guitar lessons for beginners page. 

It's more important to know where the root note positions are rather than what they are called at this stage if you are just starting out with scales. 

Key Changes

To change to any key just play any of the major guitar scale shapes in a different place on the neck so the root note moves to a different place and therefore becomes a different note and home to a different key. 

If you aren't sure about this take a look at the guitar lessons for beginners and the guitar chords for beginners to go over some simple theory. 

Three Notes to Each String

The 'three notes to a string' method of playing a scaled may seem harder at first than the standard box-shape scales, but in the long-run it will give you a greater range as most of these scales contain two octaves. The fact that there are often two octaves means there are often three root notes within the scale also. This will give you more notes within the scale to act as a musical highlight to home in to as they are of course the 'home key notes'. 

Learning scales with 'three notes to a string' will also encourage more movement along the neck as each scale effectively covers six frets. I think this way of playing scales is a little more melodic than just staying in one place on the fret board.

Note: Pay attention to the fret numbers!

Don't get bogged down with theory!

Practice playing and listening first, you'll pick the theory up as you go.

Listen to the root notes and hear the similarity in sound. Even though the various root notes are in different places on the fret board, they are in fact the same note and therefore do sound the same, they just have a different pitch. 

Train your ear by listening for this!

F Major Guitar Scale
Three Notes to a String
Styles - Rock, Country, Pop, Jazz & Fusion

This scale forms the basis from which most scales and modes are formed. It's quality is happy and upbeat.

Chords Played Over
- Major, Major Sevenths, Major Ninths & Elevenths.

Intervals - T,T,S,T,T,T,S.

T = Tone, S = Semi-tone

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Now this next chart is a box pattern of the same F major scale. 'Box' or 'cage' scales just mean they are closer in their method of playing the notes. They contain all the same notes (providing they are in the same key of course) as the 'three note to a string' system, but they're just played in a different way in conjunction with the other notes of the scale. This method means the length of each position often only covers 4 frets, and at most 5, as opposed to the 6 fret distance covered by the three notes to a string method.

F Major Guitar Scale
Box Style with Notes
Styles - Rock, Country, Pop, Jazz & Fusion

Chords Played Over - Major, Major Sevenths, Major Ninths & Elevenths.

Intervals - T,T,S,T,T,T,S.

T = Tone, S = Semi-tone

Back To Top

F Major Guitar Scale
Box Style with Finger Positions
Styles - Rock, Country, Pop, Jazz & Fusion

Chords Played Over - Major, Major Sevenths, Major Ninths & Elevenths.

Intervals - T,T,S,T,T,T,S.

T = Tone, S = Semi-tone

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F Major Guitar Scale
Throughout Entire Neck
Styles - Rock, Country, Pop, Jazz & Fusion

Chords Played Over - Major, Major Sevenths, Major Ninths & Elevenths.

Intervals - T,T,S,T,T,T,S.

T = Tone, S = Semi-tone

Keep up the practice!

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