i've been looking on various websites and it seems that each time the major scale is written differently. could someone post a link or write out what the major scale and minor scale are as im pretty confused. just started playing the guitar and want to know what the proper way to play these scales. thanks
It's because each scale has a few different ways of playing it depending on what key.
For example.
A major.

It's a little bit confusing to explain... But for the major scale you have A, B, C, D, E etc.
There's also just different patterns.
But if you're beginner I don't know if I would start out learning scales. Maybe you could buy a scale book and take lessons? Hope it helps.

By the way. What I mean by A, B, C etc. is (if you don't already know this).
In a standard tuning for guitar the 2nd string is the A string. This means the 5th fret on the string below it (E string) is the same note. Which is A. That is why the scale i posted above is the A Major Scale.
Last edited by Religulous at Dec 12, 2008,
ATTENTION: this is the info you need. Don't be a n00b... read it and learn it. If you don't understand it, try the link in my sig. There are a million ways to present the following concepts, but they ARE what will teach you scales and scale theory.

here are the 12 notes in music, defined by their position in relation to whatever note you want to start from. The following pattern increases by one fret for every step. If you use the first fret on your E string (an F note) as your root, you will end this pattern on the 13th fret. If you start with an open E, it will end on the 12th fret.

1 (root note, can be any note)

flat 2nd (also called a minor 2nd)


minor 3rd

major 3rd

fourth (aka perfect fourth, neither major nor minor)

augmented fourth (aka diminished fifth. the note between your fourth and fifth)

fifth (aka perfect fifth, neither major nor minor)

minor 6th

major 6th

minor 7th

major 7th

octave (same note as the root, just 12 tones higher)

to make a major scale, you would take the following notes and play ONLY those notes:

1 - 2nd - maj 3rd - fourth - fifth - major 6th - major 7th - octave

There is no singular correct tablature pattern for playing the scale. you can play these notes anywhere they occur on the fretboard.

Not sure how to continue the pattern onto adjacent strings? remember that if you start on your low (thickest) E string, playing the same fret on the A string will always be a fourth, and you can start the pattern from the fourth on that string. Same interval applies for going from the A to the D, and so on. the only difference is that it's a major third between G and B strings, not a fourth.

also remember that all this advice should be considered IN CONTEXT of the root note. the distance between two adjacent strings is a fourth (or maj third in that one case), but you always name the note in relations to the root, not the last note you played.
Last edited by frigginjerk at Dec 12, 2008,
Learn the notes on the fretboard and it will make sense. I think patterns are fine since they help you navigate the fretboard (atleast for me) but there's no sense in playing shapes and patterns up and down.