Major Guitar ScalesThese 7 guitar scales can change your worldview. Once you figure out how these patterns work, you can play in every key. The patterns follow a cycle of forms that link up to the CAGED chord forms [CForm] & the Pentatonics [PFrame].
These patterns are built in C Major [all natural tones - memorize the note names for these patterns], yet are movable to any position.
Patterns are maps. Maps that can get us going. Yet, they are meant to be transcended. When we jam, we work with other vital dimensions of our musicianship, rather than playing patterns. Learn these and move on.
More on the PatternsLook for octave shapes. Both chords and scales wrap around or fill in octaves. Octave shapes are the basic skeleton of the guitar.
The information on the left for right handers - on the right for left handers:
- Root = which string the root is on. Either 6, 5, or 4.
- Finger = which fretting hand finger starts the scale. The first number is for all higher fretted versions of the scale. The number in parenthesis is the finger that starts the scale at the nut for the scale form - the origin.
- SForm = Scale Form. It is the lowest possible fingering of the scale pattern - what we are calling the origin and heel.
- CForm = Chord Form. It is chord form for the I chord [starting point for the fixed position cycle of chord forms]. In some of the scale forms, more than one chord form is present (those guitar scales which shift positions - with these, the chord forms are fragmented). In a fixed position [scale form], the types of forms follow the CAGED cycle: when you play a fixed position alphabetical chord scale, ascending, the forms are reversed...DEGAC, with 2 repeats. While descending, the forms follow the CAGED cycle in order, with 2 repeats. Which forms repeat depends on which wing you use. Wings are the unisons on each edge of a scale form. You have options.
- PFrame = Pentatonic Frame. From the Major, if we 'took away' the 4 & 7 scale degrees, we would have the Major Pentatonic. From the relative minor (the same scale as Major, just starting on the 6th scale degree), if we 'took away' the 2 & 6 scale degrees, we would have the minor Pentatonic. The pentatonics can be viewed as hollowed out Major & minor scales.
Dot TypesR stands for Root. A Root is the base tone (origin) for something (chord, scale, arpeggio) to be built. It is the tone that names the chord, scale, or arpeggio.
The 5/2: B-flat or A form?We call it the B-flat scale form to differentiate it from 5/1. Both 5/2 and 5/1 wrap around the A form for the I chord.
The HeelsYou can label guitar scales & chord forms however suits you best. We call these by string/finger. So, in order above, the cycle for C, goes: 5/4, 5/2, 5/1, 6/4, 6/2,6/1, 4/1. No matter what key you are in, the cycle is always the same, just with a different starting point. We call starting points, heels, as in a loaf of bread.
|C-Bb-A-G-E-F-D Form||The Heel for...|
Wrap UpMusic is not pattern playing, yet learning these patterns gets you functional in all keys, by moving the grid around to different starting points.
This system is just one way to organize guitar scales in standard tuning. And, an effective one.
7 Major Guitar Scales in C- Note Names