The Major and Minor scale.

Ultimate Guitar
Hi Guys and Girls. This will be my second lesson. It will be on the Major and Minor scale. We will look at what a scale is, how it is constructed and how you can shift it up and down the fretboard. Let us start off. My first problem with a lot of lessons is the fact that people will tell you, "This is the major scale."
(the example is in C major)
And for a long time I thought that, this was the only way you can play the major scale. Then my friend showed me this pattern (also in C major), and I flipped out, because this was new to me, and he said "This is the Major scale".
This scenario happened to me when I just started out playing the guitar. So now I thought to myself, two different Major scales? That is a problem. Sure, now I know how the scale works. Rather let me say, I know enough about the scale to give a basic breakdown lesson on scales. So let us start off the "teaching". What is a scale? It is a family or group of notes that we use to create melodies. The group usually consists of 7 notes. The first note we refer to as the ROOT or HOME note. If the first note of our scale is a C, we will call our scale the C scale. What is the purpose of scales? Well, simply put, to create melodies, chords and songs. AS lead guitarists we all use and abuse these scales to express ourselves. Any problems with that? First up, we have the MAJOR scale: It will usually give you a more happier sounding sound than its good friend (or not so good), the MINOR scale. There is a certain formula involved to create this scale, and it goes: Whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step. Or you can say: 2 frets, 2frets, 1fret, 2frets, 2frets, 2frets, 1fret So, when you start off on a C. Your formula will go C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C What I like to do is rather learn all the notes on the fretboard, than just a specific pattern. So learn where all the notes of the major scale in each key is, on your guitar. For example: A--0-2-3-5-7-8-10-12----------------- E--0-1-3-5-7-8-10-12----------------- This will give you more freedom when you are improvising, or just writing a solo. The next part of the lesson is the minor scale. This scale is sad sounding. We have a similar formula for the minor scale, it goes like: Whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole or 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 So in this example the notes are C D Eb F G Ab Bb C (this example is in C minor). Something nice to know is that the A minor and C major has the same notes. A way to work out in what key you are is when you use your index and pinky finger to judge. You index will be on the minor scale, and the pinky on the major scale.
    I  M  R  P 
So in this above example, if you scale starts off on fret 5 (A), you will be playing a minor scale, and if your scale starts off on fret 9 (C), it will be a major. I really really hope that this will help people, even if it will only be one person. If this is received positively I will consider future lessons. Again, I will really appreciate critique, but keep your rude comments to yourself. This lesson was meant to help the guitarist who does not know what a scale is and how it is constructed.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i hate to criticise but the second scale you tabbed out is the A minor scale (from Cmaj) if played from A to A as it looks. i liked your direct approach to this lesson tho, and sure this will help someone.
    hi! I'm sorry I'm from Argentina and even the english makes it a little more difficult I think is not the preoblem i've gone to guitar lesson when i was younger and i'm trying to catch up now but i've never really understand very well the scales and i'm still getting confused :S really don't understand maybe it's me.. hehe but how do u use them?
    Do you know all formula for scales? Can you give those formula and discuss them clearly?
    gd tab, little confused on the full step half step stuff plus the formula bit though ! wat does it mean please????
    This lesson helped me understand scales xD although only 1 critique... or more a typo the C on the E string is on the 8th fret not the 9th fret. A(5th), A# or Bb (6th), B (7th), and C (8th)
    Im just starting guitar and made sense to me, like the tip about finding and getting familiar with the major/minor notes on each string, more more more!
    I didn't understand how scales were built until I read this, you made it very clear. Thanks.
    one question, how do u know what key your solo is in does it depend on what note you start the solo of on or whether its within a scale on a certain part of the fretboard?