The past couple weeks we learned our C major scale in all five scale positions up and down the fretboard. This enabled us to also learn the F major scale in all five scale positions, because all we had to do was change the “B” notes in the C major scale to “Bb” notes for F major, because F major has one flat–a Bb.
If this seems confusing, it’s really not, but you will first need to get caught up on learning the C major scales in all five positions on the guitar fretboard and then learn your F major scales.
Once you’ve done that, we’re ready to learn our next scale: G major.
The Anatomy of a G Major Scale
If you went through and constructed major scales for all twelve keys based on the half step, whole step pattern, then you’ll know that a G major scale has one sharp–an F#.
G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G
In other words, from G to A, we have a whole step, from A to B, we have a whole step, from B to C, we have a half step, from C to D, we have a whole step, from D to E, we have a whole step, from E to F#, we have a whole step, and from F# to G, we have a half step.
Again, if we know our C major guitar scales in all positions on the fretboard, then all we have to do is raise the “F” notes a half step to make them “F#” notes.
Guitar Scale Position #1: G Major Scale
The 1st position of a G major scale starts on the low open E string and roughly spans the 1st to 4th fret.
Guitar Scale Position #2: G Major Scale
The 2nd position starts on the G note of the 3rd fret of the low E string and roughly spans the 2nd to 6th fret.
Guitar Scale Position #3: G Major Scale
The 3rd position starts on the A note of the 5th fret of the low E string and roughly spans the 4th to 8th fret.
Guitar Scale Position #4: G Major Scale
The 4th position starts on the B note of the 7th fret of the low E string and roughly spans the 7th to 10th fret.
Guitar Scale Position #5: G Major Scale
The 5th position starts on the D note of the 10th fret of the low E string and roughly spans the 9th to 13th fret.
As you can see, all the positions have some overlap with one another.
Click to enlarge
Your job is to learn G major in all five scale positions. If you know your C major scale, this shouldn’t take you too long, because all you have to do is change one note. Again, you want to make sure you’re also not just learning the patterns of these scales, but rather, you are learning the individual notes. Verbalize the notes as you play them.
Further Application & Resources
I’ve mentioned some other exercises in the previous lessons of this series, but I’ll mention them again.
As you get to be more comfortable with your C major, F major, and G major scales, choose a scale position and ascend in one key and then descend in another. For example, you might choose to play F major in the fourth scale position. Once you ascend the scale, descend in G major. When you descend in G major, ascend back up in C major. Repeat this for all scale positions.
The goal is to have a complete grasp of the guitar fretboard so we can apply this knowledge to soloing and improvising. Eventually, we should get to a point where we are hardly thinking about what we’re playing and it is second nature.
If you are really enjoying this series on guitar scales, you might enjoy Craig Bassett’s guitar scale course. His method utilizes a ton of really cool exercises to help make playing guitar scales second nature. I know many of our readers have been satisfied with his course.
Questions & Comments
If you’re still scratching your head, post your questions. What are some things you’ve done to learn the guitar fretboard?
Next week, we’ll look at a Bb major. See you then!