2 - The Major Scale

Beginners Learn The Guitar Lesson 2 – The Major Scale

Great to have you back for part two of our 40 part series of Beginners Guitar Lessons. We hope you have been implementing the tips from lesson one, where talked about guitar tuning, learning first position notes, and the chromatic scale.

Beginners Guitar Lessons Part 2 – The Major Scale
The major scale is a grouping of eight notes used in every form of modern music. We learned in part 1 of Beginners Guitar Lessons, that the chromatic scale contains all the possible notes in music, separated by half-steps.

The major scale is a taken from the chromatic scale, using a specific formula of steps. If you recall, one fret equals one-half of a step, and two frets equal a whole-step. Using the following formula, it is possible to create every major scale, no matter where you start on any given point of the chromatic scale:

Major Scale Formula: Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half (WWHWWWH)

Chromatic Scale: A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, back to A and infinity.
Excersice – C Major Scale

We’ll use the “C Major” scale as an example. Note that C major contains no sharp (#) or flat (b) notes. Using the formula, for this example, we’ll start at the “C’ which occurs on the 5th (A) string, on the third fret.

    Fret the “C” note with your third finger. According to the formula, we’ll be going up a whole-step, which would land you on “D”. We’ll use the open 4th (D) string as our “D” note. The second step in the formula is also a whole-step, which will bring us to “E”. The “E” we’re looking for occurs when you press the 2nd fret on the 4th string with your second finger.

    The next step in the formula is a half-step, or one fret. Place your third finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th string to get our next note, which is an “F”. Cool! You’re halfway there…so far, we’ve got C, D, E, and F. Take a few minutes and practice those four notes.

    All set? The next note in “C” major, after CDEF, is the next whole-step in the formula, which is “G” in this example. The “G” we’re looking for can be found by playing the 3rd string open…easy enough! After “G”, we’ll need another whole-step, which is “A”. “A” is located on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string, using your second finger.

    Next, we have another whole-step, which is “B”. Play “B” by picking the open 2nd string. The final note in the scale is another “C”, which is one half-step from “B”. Play “C” with your 1st finger, on the 1st fret of the 2nd string.

You’ve done it! Now play the scale in it’s entirety, saying the notes as you play them: C,D,E,F,G,A,B, and C. Practice playing the C major scale forward and backward, saying the notes while you’re playing them.