The Basics. Part 4

The fourth of my five basic lessons. This lesson covering an extention of lead guitar and the major scale.

Ultimate Guitar
Please read The Basics 1, 2 & 3 before trying this lesson! Lead Guitar: In the previous lesson you were shown how to play the main riff of Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple. I only wrote it down to keep you calm and sane. I know the feeling of starting out and wanting to play some songs and solos. How about, instead of copying other people's solos, why not make your own? I will show you how. This work is quite advanced for that if you are a beginner. However if you spend the time and get to the point where you understand it, this will prove to be worth it. In most rock and pop soloing, the Major scale would have to be the most common. There are many other scales like the blues, pentatonic etc. however we will be looking at the Major scale here. The Major scale consists of 5 shapes. The C, A, G, E and D shapes. (Also known as the "CAGED" method). This meaning that for example, the C Major scale would have 5 different finger shapes in the scale on the guitar fret board. Here is the C Major scale in the C shape. This shape is made up of what looks like a C chord. I will put the names of the notes played above the TAB.
   E  F  G  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C  D  E  F  G
Notice all that is happening here is that the notes just go up in order from A to G and looped. It just so happens that the C Major scale has no flats or sharps. However this is different for every other Major scale. To get your brain working, I will give you the next shape, being A (*remember CAGED). Then you should work out the rest of the 5 shapes of the C Major scale for yourself. The CAGED method will help you in this. See how the first shape, the C shape looked like a C? Same with the A shape looking like an A (barre chord). If you don't know barre chords yet, you might find yourself getting confused. In which you should either ask you private teacher, school teacher or anyone available to show you. So here is the A Shape.
   G  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  A
Now, off to work! Learn these two scales and try to work out the other 3. I will have the other 3 in the next lesson. I assure that you will be better if you work it out yourself instead of reading it and thinking "oh ok, I understand now." Work them out and then see if you are right by looking at the answers. Work at it and it will pay off!

38 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Remember that scales are NOTES, not shapes. There are countless ways to play the A major scale on a guitar.
    Well...he didn't explain that very well. I agree when it is said that the c major scale starts with "C". It's not your fault you don't understand this.
    Disapointing i would have to say. I am only a beginer guitarist but know enough music theory to say this is completly wrong, at least in the terminology used. (I have been playing double bass for 4 years) A scale is a series of notes. a C major scale starts on C then goes up in the series tone, tone, semitone, tone tone, tone, semi tone, thereby CDEFGABC simarly an E major scale goes E,F(#),G(#),A,B,C(#),D(#) ,E. I think what he means to say are these are series of notes that can be used in soloing based on the C major scale, if your accompniment was playing C major you would be in tune. Not that these are the actual C major scale. (sorry for the long winded post)
    lord_fREtheadIX sure the author had good intentions but i found this entire lesson a little misleading. the 1st scale up there is clearly not the C major...n i don get how its supposed 2 "look" lyk a C. it has all the notes of a C maj coz its a mode of the C maj scale...n its calld the E phrygian ryt?? the 2nd 1 must b G mixolydian...but plz don bash me if i got that wrong!!!
    its probably alryt 4 absolute beginners though. i mean... E phrygian was the 1st scale i learnd after the chromatic . but i knew it was calld e phrygian...even tho i didn kno wat the hell that meant at that tym!!!
    lord_fREtheadIX : sure the author had good intentions but i found this entire lesson a little misleading. the 1st scale up there is clearly not the C major...
    A C Major Scale is a scale consisting of 7 different notes in ascending or descending order. C(1), D(2), E(3), F(4), G(5), A(6) and B(7). Go back, play over what he has written out and you will realize that this is the C Major Scale. He has just written in it the "first" position. This technique is best for soloing because it helps the player not get stuck in the actual pattern of the scale and helps them to not make boring solos or leads.
    Am I tone deaf or on the A makor scale shouldn't it be 2-4-5 on the D string instead of 2-3-5? Confused.
    ok i didn't understad does he mean by c major scale has 5 diffrent finger shapes????? how the **** am i supposed to workout the other scales???
    i now see why people recommend avoiding the CAGED method.... unless this is just very badly explained.... there is no completeness to this lesson.. its barely lesson.
    ok...i'm as confused as a baby on a topless beach so if anyone can help me out...i just started to learn how to play guitar and i'm trying to teach myself so any help would be greatly appreciated. thanx
    it looks like a "c" in structure of the scale, 0-1-3 to 0-2-3 to 0-2-3 to 0-2 to 0-1-3 to 0-1-3 it kinda shifts back to the finger positions in the beginning at the end, thats how it looks like said "c"
    Kurt Russell
    I play guitar better than anyone I know and I don't know one scale, mostly because of articles like this.
    Dude these are good lessons but it is almost impossible to learn some basics over the net. My advice to you people is to get private tutors, they can explain it to you (in most cases) one to one.
    i don't get what it means when he says it "looks like a C". can someone help? thanks :
    maybe cuz the c chord is like the 1rst finger on the 2nd string in the first fret, 2nd finger is in the 4th string 2nd fret, and 3rd finger 5th string 3rd fret. (theres kind of a resemblance). idk thats my guess
    yes it "looks like a C" because within that scale shape, the notes of a C chord are all there - basically.. This lesson was designed for maybe a tutor or sumone else to help you through it. I WROTE THIS! check > Lessons. You'll see that high voltage does not write these lessons, but in fact I do.
    thank you for pointing this out, we are working on finding out the full details right now!
    rusted embrace
    this is going in the right direction and is still a nice lesson...but i'm not sure it's correct. shouldn't a "c scale" start with a c?? or am i totally off base with that? the tab is right but under the wrong name i think.
    C major in C shape looks like a C. and i would understand if the A looked like an A but it doesnt look like an A.
    ok this was confusing as I know alot of music theory and know that these are not proper C major scales, for one thing the C major scale starts on, oh wait I know this one, C!!!! not E or G as shown here, people who want to learn proper scales find a lesson on scales, not this thing, this is no way the scale of C, just because it has the notes with no sharps or flats doesn't mean it's the key of C, I think High Voltage needs to redo this one
    people dont feel bad if you dont understand...i play guitar pretty well on my own then i read some shit and im like wtf... i dont see resemblence sometimes i dont see this me they look inversed
    BTY, for those that are confused about this being a C Major scale, you might also like to read the lessons on Modes. A bit of history if nothing else.
    What the author is trying to show you here is the finger patterns of the C Major scale in various positions as you go up the neck. By your fingers memorizing the patterns, you should eventually develope a feel for what notes fit when you get to the point of soloing.