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This blog post in on the concept of scales in music, focusing mostly on Major Scale. It will include the notes in a major and how to play the major scale on the six-strings. In music theory, a scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch. In other words, a scale is a collection of notes within an octave.

The major scale is the most fundamental scale in music, and it is most often used as well. It is made up of 7 notes. Now, before we see how a major scale is constructed, let us first learn a basic way of indicating intervals in music:

Half Step (H): distance between any two consecutive notes in music. It is, sometimes, also called Semi Tone (ST)

Whole Step (W): two half steps (H) make up a whole step. Sometimes called Tone (T)

There's a formula needed to construct a Major Scale, which is very important to be remembered. The formula is : Root Note (R) + WWHWWWH (W stands for Whole Step , H stands for Half Step)

Now, let's construct C Major Scale using the same formulae -

By using the above formula, we get C major scale as follows:


Each note of the scale is given a number to specify its position in the scale. These numbers are called Degrees of the Scale.

Below is an image of the C Major Scale on the fretboard -

Figuring out Major Scales from above, is difficult to remember . To start off, the easiest way to play any major scale on the fretboard is by following a specific geometric pattern.

In terms of degrees of the scale, various octave patterns across the fretboard can be written.

Since the guitar fretboard is symmetric when it is in its standard tuning, the same shapes hold true for all the 12 keys.

The images below will depict the C major scale played on the 3rd, 4th and 5th string. There are several ways of playing a C major scale, but we follow one particular pattern as it's the easiest to play.

C major scale on 3rd string

C major scale on 4th string

C major scale on 5th string

There are few interesting assignments for all of you to get a better grasp of scales. Do watch the video link pasted above to find those assignments for better learning. Happy playing the six-strings!

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