Well Ive been playing guitar for almost a year now come december. I took lessons for 4 months but it was kinda a waste I think, he mostly just asked what kinda music I liked and what songs I wanted to learn and he mostly gave me the main riff to them which in turn created a bad habit of mine in not learning a full song just some riffs and then onto another song. My friend has always been telling me to learn scales and what not and I know the Blues scale my teacher taught me

and Im wondering whats some other good scales to learn and Im assuming when other guitarist say they are playing in A or C# or somthing like that its based on the starting note? Am I close or completely off
The Major Scale

Music is based off of the major scale. As you can see, it is important to know. The major scale follows a basic series of whole steps (two frets on guitar) and half steps (one fret on the guitar). Using these intervals off of a certain starting point, we can find the major scale! It follows this pattern: Whole Whole Half Whole Whole Whole Half (WWHWWWH).

I will use C major as an example, because it has no sharps or flats.

C is the root note.
One whole step (two frets) from C is D
One whole from D is E
One half step from E is F
One whole step from F is G
One whole step from G is A
One whole step from A is B
And one half step from B is C (our starting note).

So the notes in C major are C D E F G A and B.

Let's try one more.

F major!


F major is: F G A Bb C D and E.

Wait a minute...why can't you write F major using sharps? Likewise, why can't you write any of the sharp/flat keys using flats/sharps?

If you did this, it would look like this (using F major as an example):

F G A A# C D E

One thing about major scales and scales in general is to make sure that you only use one of each letter per scale.


You can alter these notes, but only one of each letter per scale. The scale has to be diatonic.

The Circle of Fifths

This is a device used to determine the notes of each key in the major scale. Here is a lovely picture of it. Take it, hold it, and love it.

Now, as you can see, C is up at the top and is in the middle. That is because it has no sharps or flats. As you move clockwise, you will move into the sharp keys. As you move left, you will run through the flat keys. By sharp and flat keys, I mean that is how you would write the scales.

C major: C D E F G A B
G major: G A B C D E F#
D major: D E F# G A B C
A major: A B C# D E F# G#
E major: E F# G# A B C# D#
B major: B C# D# E F# G# A#
F# major: F# G# A# B C# D# E#
C# major: C# D# E# F# G# A# B#

I've bolded every new sharp written in each key, progressing clockwise through the circle of fifihs. As you can see, the sharps are added in this order:


This can be remembered with the acronym:


This is where the sharp keys end.

Now for the flat keys, going counter-clockwise.

F major: F G A Bb C D E
Bb major: Bb C D Eb F G A
Eb major: Eb F G A Bb C D Eb
Ab major: Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
Db major: Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
Gb major: Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb
Cb major: Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb

I've bolded the new flats this time. the order is reverse of the order that you add sharps, B E A D G C F. Which can be remembered with the acronym:


I know this is hard to take in at first, but give it time and don't rush into it. It'll come. It's like a language. The more you use it, the easier it'll come eventually.

The Minor Scale

Here is the minor scale. While the major scale has a happy sort of feel to it, the minor scale sounds a bit more saddening.

The minor scale formula is 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7. The way these scale formulas work is that you take the major scale and you line up each scale degree with the coresponding degree in the formula. You then modify the appropriate degrees.

So, let's try this with A minor. This is the relative minor (more on this in a bit) of C major, so it has no sharps or flats either.

So, taking the A major scale and lining it up with the minor scale formula...

A B C# D E F# G#
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

Modifying the appropriate degrees...

1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

And now that that is done...we have our result, the A minor scale!


Harmonic Minor Scale and Melodic Minor Scale

This is simply a variation of the minor scale. To turn the minor scale into the harmonic minor scale, you just raise the seventh degree of that minor scale a half step/semitone.

The A harmonic minor scale: A B C D E F G#.

To turn a minor scale into a Melodic Minor scale, you raise both the seventh and sixth degrees of the minor scale by a half step/semitone.

The A Melodic Minor Scale: A B C D E F# G#.

Many people tend to only use the Melodic minor scale while ascending and the [natural] minor scale when descending.


I love copy and pasting!

Major scales are the basis of music. I think I mentioned that above, but just friendly reminder. Pentatonic scales are also great for learning to solo as well, as is the blues scale.
Last edited by kirbyrocknroll at Sep 23, 2006,
Quote by Chevylegend454
alright so just checking that C major you mention would all be on 1 string?

Scales are not patterns. They are a sequenced order of notes. So if you play the notes in C major, you are playing in C major, wherever you play them
alright so just checking that C major you mention would all be on 1 string?

It could be. But because the notes on a guitar repeat themselves across all the strings, they can be arranged to be played across all six strings, which is easier.