What is the best way to determine what key a scale is in?

It is always the root note?

For instance the G Major scale is G A B C D E F# G

So would I consider that to in the key of G?

I've been reading scales off of a lesson on this site that says that this is C Major Ionian (Type 4)

----------------------------------------------------1---3---
--------------------------------------------3---5-----------
--------------------------------2---4---5-------------------
--------------------2---3---5-------------------------------
--------2---3---5-------------------------------------------
3---5-------------------------------------------------------

But the progression goes G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G

Since the root note of this scale is G wouldn't that make it a different scale or mode?
Quote by yearzero
What is the best way to determine what key a scale is in?

It is always the root note?

For instance the G Major scale is G A B C D E F# G

So would I consider that to in the key of G?

I've been reading scales off of a lesson on this site that says that this is C Major Ionian (Type 4)

----------------------------------------------------1---3---
--------------------------------------------3---5-----------
--------------------------------2---4---5-------------------
--------------------2---3---5-------------------------------
--------2---3---5-------------------------------------------
3---5-------------------------------------------------------

But the progression goes G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G

Since the root note of this scale is G wouldn't that make it a different scale or mode?

well that is a scale pattern. The actual scale starts on C. ( 3rd fret 5th string).

the G is just the lowest not in that particular pattern.... not the root of the scale.

here is a chart that shows the patterns... but the root is colored so you know where to start. major scale patterns
(this is shown in G.... pattern 4 is the same as what you were looking at here)

also learning the notes on the neck within the pattern will clear up any confusion.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 11, 2008,
So the root note isn't the first note of a scale?
Quote by yearzero
So the root note isn't the first note of a scale?

yes, its the 1st note of the scale.... but its not always the 1st note in a scale pattern.

what happens is that scale patterns show you all the notes within a particular scale, in a particular position. So even though C is on the 5th string in your example..... the pattern utilizes all 6 strings and will include the notes below the root.
shred is gaudy music
nope, unless you're playing modes, which are derivation from the major and minor scales and are still, technically, the same scale, just with emphasis on a different part of it, but if you're going to play a scale with a defined key signature you don't need to start on the tonic/root of it, as long as you stay within the key and keep the emphasis on the main parts of the key
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yeah, what guitarmunky said
Gear:
Ibanez RG121
Ibanez GTA15R Amp
red Allegro nylon-strung acoustic of unkown model

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We play guitar.... we're automatically on top of the world.

^
Ok I get it. Since C Major contains no sharps or flats.... anytime I play a scale pattern that is WWHWWWH with no sharps or flats I am playing C Major or a mode of C Major?

So one final question.....how do I determine the key of a scale?

If I took this scale

----------------------------------------------------1---3---
--------------------------------------------3---5-----------
--------------------------------2---4---5-------------------
--------------------2---3---5-------------------------------
--------2---3---5-------------------------------------------
3---5-------------------------------------------------------

Since it starts on G could I use it to build a solo from a song in the key of G or would this only work for a song in C Major
Quote by yearzero
Ok I get it. Since C Major contains no sharps or flats.... anytime I play a scale pattern that is WWHWWWH with no sharps or flats I am playing C Major or a mode of C Major?

So one final question.....how do I determine the key of a scale?

If I took this scale

----------------------------------------------------1---3---
--------------------------------------------3---5-----------
--------------------------------2---4---5-------------------
--------------------2---3---5-------------------------------
--------2---3---5-------------------------------------------
3---5-------------------------------------------------------

Since it starts on G could I use it to build a solo from a song in the key of G or would this only work for a song in C Major

well, its the C Major scale. So no, it wont work for the key of G Major.

again the scale doesnt start on G....... G just happens to be the lowest note in that particular pattern.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 11, 2008,
Awesome thanks a lot for the help guys I really appreciate it.
well it would work in G if you wanted a dominant sound. You could play that scale over a lot of chords it will just give you a different sound....modes....
Originally posted by arrrgg
When my grandpa comes over to visit, after his shower, he walks around naked to dry off
Quote by Led man32
well it would work in G if you wanted a dominant sound. You could play that scale over a lot of chords it will just give you a different sound....modes....

well it would work over G7.... which is not in G major... its in C major.

The TS is obviously just starting to grasp the basics. There are many options to explore, but doing so pre-maturely will most likely lead to confusion.
shred is gaudy music
Quote by Led man32
well it would work in G if you wanted a dominant sound. You could play that scale over a lot of chords it will just give you a different sound....modes....

If he's just beginning to explore diatonic harmony and the major scale, don't toss modes in just yet.
Scales are not patterns!!!

Repeated for emphasis:

Scales are not patterns!!!

What you have posted is a pattern, a way of playing the C major scale. If it makes it easier, forget about the notes lower than that lowest C and just start on that lowest C note. The reason the lower notes are included is because they fit in the key of C major and are easily played when you are in that position.

No, that is not a G scale. It is a fingering for the C major scale that shows you where all the notes in the key of C are between frets 2 and 5.

Edit: I hate to sound like Arch, but you're not ready for modes yet.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Scales are not patterns!!!

You just blew my mind with that one.
Edit: I hate to sound like Arch, but you're not ready for modes yet.

One of us...
One of us...
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
I hope you're kidding.

Of course. I was hoping the sarcasm wouldn't be lost.
Quote by yearzero
Awesome thanks a lot for the help guys I really appreciate it.