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Learning Guitar - Lesson Nine
Part 2: The Major Scale
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: overview
• Part 2: major scale
• Part 3: strumming patterns
• Part 4: sus4 chords
• Part 5: essential knowledge
• Part 6: learning songs
• Part 7: practice schedule
 Related Content
• Index of Guitar Lessons
• Buying Your First Guitar
• How to Read Guitar Tab
• Easy to Play Songs
• Guitar Chord Library
The major scale is the foundation upon which our music system is built. It contains seven notes (do - re - mi - fa - so - la - ti). If you've seen "The Sound of Music", you'll remember the song about the major scale... "Do(e), a deer, a female deer. Re (ray) a drop of golden sun..." We're going to learn this scale on guitar, in two octaves.

Major Scale Pattern

Listen: an A major scale in
RealAudio or MP3

This pattern for the major scale is a movable pattern, with the root on the sixth string. Meaning, if you start the scale on the third fret of the sixth string, you're playing a G major scale. If you start at the eighth fret, you're playing a C major scale.
It is extremely important when playing this scale to stay in position. Start the scale with your second finger on the sixth string, followed by the fourth finger on the sixth string. The next note will be played with your first finger on the fifth string, etc. It is important to be sure that each finger in your fretting hand is responsible for only one fret on the guitar when playing the scale. For example, when playing an A major scale (fifth fret), your first finger will play all notes on the fourth fret, your second finger will play all notes on the fifth fret, your third finger will play all notes on the sixth fret, and your fourth finger will play all notes on the seventh fret.

Performance Notes:

  • As always, use ALTERNATE PICKING as your primary method of performing this scale. You can also practice the scale using all upstrokes, or all downstrokes, etc.
  • Memorize this scale. You'll use it extensively in years to come, if you want to learn to read music, or to play lead guitar.
  • Play it forwards, then backwards, in a slow, even tempo. Build up speed only when your technique at slower tempos is flawless.
Now, let's move on to learning a new strum.  

Next page > Strumming Patterns > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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