C Major Scales

This will help you learn how to improvise, and eventually write your own songs in the key of C Major.

C Major Scales
67
This will help you learn how to improvise, and eventually write your own songs, in the key of C Major.

Every key has 7 different positions: Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian, Ionian, Dorian, and Phrygian.

When playing in the key of C Major, every one of these scales can be used, and be in this key. Practice playing each of these in different styles. I learned to play each in different ways which I will list on here as well, but here are the scales first:

1st Position (Lydian)


2nd Position (Mixolydian)


3rd Position (Aeolian)


4th Position (Locrian)


5th Position (Ionian)


6th Position (Dorian)


7th Position (Phrygian)



So those are the 8 positions. And just so no one gets confused or anything, I put these from the beginning to end on the fret board. However, if you want to be technical, the real order of the positions goes Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian. I just wanted everyone to be able to look at these and see where they all connect, hopefully its easier.

You should try and master each of these, one at a time, and before moving on to the next one, you should be able to know how to play each in from beginning to end, and end to beginning. Also, A good bit of practice with this is to play the scales like this, Ill use the Ionian Scale as an example.



I know that might look confusing, but if you start doing it on guitar, it gets to be pretty easy. Also, another good trick is to try this and always have your fingers stay on the note and just move the finger you need to to continue the scale. Like, for the Ionian scale, you would do 8-10-12 on the low E string, and then you would keep you middle and pinky fingers on the 10 and 12, and then just move your index finger onto the 8 on the A string, and then after that move your middle finger on the 10 on the A string, and still keep your pinky on the low E 12, then move your pinky on to the 12 on the A string, and continue like that up the scale, its not easy, but its very good for training your fingers.

Well thats just about it for this lesson, and just so you know, it took me about 2-3 months to get everything on here mastered, since my teacher only gave me one a week, and I would have to practice each of them with all these things, and then eventually memorize the names in order, then play them by the name of them, which he called out randomly, so don't get mad if its taking a long time, and seriously, don't try and rush it cuz you'll get it all confused and just end up hurting your guitar playing in the end.

83 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    bassdrum
    you guys are just jealous you couldn't write such a good lessen. Great lesson man!
    rhcpcure2826
    heres a ten times better lesson in tablature form: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/m/mi... you didnt cover nearly as many scales as he did. and you didnt explain a whole lot.
    Rhythms Pace
    The lesson you lead to has only 5 positions. I think since it's a 7 note scale it makes more sense to use 7 positions. As for playing each mode in all 7 positions, that's good to figure out on your own. Same as working it out in all 12 keys.If you then repeat the process for harmonic and melodic minor; then add diminished and whole tone scales you will know the fingerboard pretty well. It's a good place to start imho )
    DrewRoth
    if you're got the need to insult people in cyber space - where you don't even know them for anything other than their best attempts to offer their own knowledge as aid to another - then you send a message something along the lines of "i'm a deutche bag! look at me!" ...just a comment in answer to all the comments... i liked the lesson, nice job.
    Slash15
    look man who gives a shit its in C unlike all the others that are in A
    chestermeedi
    I have a question about the 5th position (Ionian) as it hits the 2nd string the frets say 8-10, I think it sounds better if the 2nd string went from 10-12, No offense but is this a mistake or it's 8-10?
    EldonsName24
    could this lesson be written in the 24 fret diagram? I can't already assume where the scales start(roots)
    lbc_sublime
    these aren't even modes so no one think of them as that he is simply calling these scale posistion by tha same name of modes. these modes are however relative to the Cmaj scale but are used differently. lets say you have a progression C G F A D these modes some might think you could use. however this is key based music and modes do not apply therefor you are simply playing in the key of Cmaj and not D dorian and so on. if you where to play in the relative dorian mode of Cmaj which would be D dorian that would imply you are using the intervals 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 as a structure. you would need to play a Dmin6 chord and have the tonal center of the song D. now just naming the position after reelative modes isn't nessicarily bad as long as someone reading this understands what a mode is,how to use them, and what he is referinig to. if you start on the 5th position here the starting point is C implying by ionian that C is the root note of this scale. intervals being 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8(octave) giving you the notes CDEFGABC if you move up 1 position to the 6th. the position starts on D. calling it dorian implies the intervals 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 obviously it can't be C dorian because C dorian is C D Eb F G A Bb C so it implies that the root note is changed to D changing the tonal center and the scale completelyto D E F G A B C D
    Lemik Adrian
    Wow, that was awesome. Its better than that English-Syrian user. " I know many songs to play on my guitar but all the fish want me to play are Scales."
    doive
    these 3 notes per string patterns are especially useful to me as a bassist and strangely hard to find...
    joshpride367
    i played the first scale for about an hour and i noticed a huge improvement this is an awesome lesson
    cowboycraig
    Truly we can never do enough scales. When scales (any one of them but C is a better one I think) becomes hardwired in your brain... and a natural reaction you are getting there. When improvisational inspiration hits, there isn't time to think. You either have the hard won technical skill to ground it into sound, or you don't. This is of great use. Craig
    joshpride367
    hey whats the time we have to play it in is there a curtain amount of time we have to play each scale
    trowe
    I just started playing less than a week ago and by learning these various scales i have not only improved my confidence in my playing ability i have excelled in my speed and accuracy in hitting notes. I now feel familiar with the lowest end of my frett board. thanks bro. don't listen to the other faggots
    Le Tard
    Le Tard wrote:Not Goof job but Good job...Sorry Really goof Job on Tabbing these scale...Thank you very much for the effort
    Le Tard
    Really goof Job on Tabbing these scale...Thank you very much for the effort
    eklipt
    Someone please help im very confused about one part. i just started learning these different types of scaled and i want to be able to transfer all 7 of the scales into the way you changed the the ionian. It seems pretty simple except one part. On the ionian scale the b string is 8 10 but on the the other version it is 10 12. Did the writer make a mistake is it suppose to be 8 10 or is that really the way it should be? If that is the way it should be someone please tell me why. Thank you.
    rhythmstrumming
    This is great. I love the c major, it was the first scale I learned to solo in. I got a pdf of all the c major scale and other scales on my blog rhythmstrumming.com.
    Dirk G.
    Brilliant!!!!! simplistic, just what I was looking for! Best lesson yet!!!!!Thanx
    dlm8751
    If you need an aural example of modes, play the Ionian mode at the third fret (GMaj). Then, pluck the open 6th string (E) and start playing the same scale. Sounds different now, eh? So, if you are playing the Ionian mode at the third fret, and the root note for what ever song you're playing is G, then you are playing in G major. If the root note is E, and you play the Ionian at the third fret, you are soloing in Em. GMaj = Em, CMaj = Am, etc, etc.
    mariatrepanie
    I Understood C Major on first position F Lydian but trying to connect what you are trying to explain is a bit confusing playing C mode on third fret is a G note or root note but the part that E note is root and playing third fret C in for soloing confused on E minor. However, I do understand Modes would you please help me to see the puzzle to where I can see it more clearly. I appreciate you getting it though my head please please please... I think I get it but could be making it harder than it really is Thank-you so much...
    dinero.burner
    Sorry for the flood, but...i just need some clarity, why is it that all of these scales or modes or whatever dont end on the root, like on the high E of the Ionian why must you persist past C?
    dinero.burner
    Okay, i was looking at the Ionian one and so if its CDEFGABC then how come on the G string you play E F G then you play another G on the B string, shouldnt it be A? Or am i missing something im trying to map it all out on paper and im at a road block
    TimH09
    BlaZeDude wrote: yo thanx for the lesson man. I've actually had the dorian and the aeolian scale a couple of lessons ago from my guitar teacher. but I play the Aeolian a bit different. in stead of using the 9th fret on the D-string I use the 4th fret on the G-string. it's still the same note, but I find it plays much easier for me.
    can we improvise like that and still be the same thing? like could i play it all in different frets but still play the notes in order, or do i have to stick witht he box pattern?
    inethacker
    the lesson was ok but just for the record your C Ionian scale is wrong. this is correct: e|---|---|10-|---|12-|13-| B|---|---|10-|---|12 -|13-| G|---|-9-|10-|---|12-|---| D|---|-9-|10-|---|12-|-- -| A|-8-|---|10-|---|12-|---| E|-8-|---|10-|---|12-|---|
    rokoutcokout
    This doesn't explain modes at all...also all modes are not Major scales. Three are major, three are minor, and one is diminished. Modes are basically variations upon scales which coincide with chordal patterns.
    BlaZeDude
    yo thanx for the lesson man. I've actually had the dorian and the aeolian scale a couple of lessons ago from my guitar teacher. but I play the Aeolian a bit different. in stead of using the 9th fret on the D-string I use the 4th fret on the G-string. it's still the same note, but I find it plays much easier for me.
    yaaarp
    This helped a whole lot, I knew all the Tones and whole tones and the formulas to all the modes but I was way to lazy to figure out the positions.
    mariatrepanie
    Thank-you your the best!! you have the Best explanation I could find on the web to all seven positions in C major. I can now apply it to all key's. You are the best teacher ever!!!!
    FukFace
    Exactly! thnx for posting that on here.
    lbc_sublime wrote: these aren't even modes so no one think of them as that he is simply calling these scale posistion by tha same name of modes. these modes are however relative to the Cmaj scale but are used differently. lets say you have a progression C G F A D these modes some might think you could use. however this is key based music and modes do not apply therefor you are simply playing in the key of Cmaj and not D dorian and so on. if you where to play in the relative dorian mode of Cmaj which would be D dorian that would imply you are using the intervals 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 as a structure. you would need to play a Dmin6 chord and have the tonal center of the song D. now just naming the position after reelative modes isn't nessicarily bad as long as someone reading this understands what a mode is,how to use them, and what he is referinig to. if you start on the 5th position here the starting point is C implying by ionian that C is the root note of this scale. intervals being 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8(octave) giving you the notes CDEFGABC if you move up 1 position to the 6th. the position starts on D. calling it dorian implies the intervals 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 obviously it can't be C dorian because C dorian is C D Eb F G A Bb C so it implies that the root note is changed to D changing the tonal center and the scale completelyto D E F G A B C D
    <Insanity>
    Thanks a ton. I've been wanting to get into learning scales for a while now, this is going to help me a lot, especially with improvising.
    gagnon1987
    THANX MAN THIS WILL HLP ME I JUST PRINTED IT OFF...TO ADD TO MY BINDER THIS LOOKS USEFUL
    Kingston_08
    ei, i really learned a lot..i was hoping that cu d some more so that many would become more talented like me..you're the best dude..
    SilentDeftone
    This would have been more appropriately titled 'Modes of C major'. It's not very explanatory - all you really did was tab the modes out and name them. Sure it helps some people, but wouldn't it be more effective if you explained how you achieved those scales? Then you wouldn't have people asking for the modes in A?
    wenhellfreeze22
    actually dude...i need 2 get sum other scales...esspecially lik any in A...if its like this then itll be perfect
    wenhellfreeze22
    yea man this is great...i am jsut starting out and i want 2 start learnin scales...this was perfect f4 me...screw evere1 4 givin u shit 4 takin ur time to help evere1 else