Beginner Guitar ScalesIn addition to the CAGED chord system, there are also CAGED Scale Forms (5 of 7 shown). Each of these is an 'open position' or 'open string' scale (a scale at the nut with open strings). Some of these scales are identical to the patterns you will find in our 7 Major scales system, and some are slightly modified to utilize the open strings where possible. Some shifting is used.
As you build your scale knowledge (to ultimately transcend patterns), you will determine which fingerings work best for the type of melodic phrasing you are creating.
With all of these beginner guitar scales, we will start with the root, play to the 'highest tone' in the position, then play to the lowest tone, and back up to the root. You can also just play lowest to highest tone. Or, practice the scale just descending, as this sometimes gives early hands more of a challenge than ascending. You can also repeated in sequences (ie. cde, def, efg, fga, etc.).
The C Major Scale - C D E F G A B C
G Major Scale - G A B C D E F# G
D Major Scale - D E F# G A B C# D
A Major Scale - A B C# D E F# G# A
E Major Scale - E F# G# A B C# D# E
Some keys to playing beginner guitar scales and melodies accurately...
- Be one step ahead in the process. This one step ahead manifests itself in both hands. As you play a tone, you are preparing the next tone in both hands. You snap to the next pick location (The Leave), and you snap your fretting hand to be prepared for the next tone.
- Hold on to tones as long as possible. Let go only when you are about to land the next tone (legato - connected), unless you are intentionally playing staccato.
- Sing the tones as you play them. Say the note names as you play.
- Take your time. As you build preparedness (the leave) into your scale playing, you'll find that chording and other techniques are quicker to process.
- Take breaks.
- Start scales from different tones. Example: start on highest tone and just descend. Then repeat.
- Use a variety of rhythms. Use repeated tones (say 4 repeated tones, then go to next).