I’ve talked before about the music theory behind guitar scales some, but for this guitar lesson, I want to back up just a bit.
In that lesson, we learned that a scale is simply a group of notes (pitches) arranged in ascending and descending order. There are different types of scales: major, pentatonic, melodic minor, harmonic minor, whole tone, etc. We’re not going to get into the differences between each one in this lesson, but we are going to look explicitly at the major scale. Most of the music we hear on the radio is based on the major scale, so if we know the major scale, this will give us a huge foundation from which we’ll learn other things in the future.
Before we talk more about the major scale, we need to know about half steps and whole steps. All of the pitches (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) are separated by whole steps except that E to F and B to C are separated by half steps.
If you start on the 1st fret of the low E string, which is an F note, and move up one fret to the 2nd fret of the low E string, which is an F#, you’ve moved up one half step. If you were to move up two frets, you would have moved up a whole step. A whole step equals two half steps. […]