Major scale patterns for guitar

7 Major Scale patterns in C

The download

7 major scale patterns in C

Why should you download and learn these scales?

In this document is the foundation of everything you’ll play on the guitar for the rest of your life (hint)… So you may want to download it!

Ultimately, whatever crazy scale/chord/arpeggio that you learn will be understood through the “lens” of the major scale.  

The Theory

For example, if we take the C major scale, and apply numbers to the notes, we get this…

1           2           3          4          5           6           7          1
C          D          E          F          G          A          B          C
W         W        1/2       W         W         W        1/2


(Worth remembering is that the 1/2 steps in the major scale are between 3/4 and 7/1 – everything else is a whole step)


By applying a formula to the numbers, we can arrive at different scales and arpeggios – the building blocks of every piece of music that you’ve ever heard.   That sounds pretty important, right?


For example, the formula for the minor pentatonic scale, which many of you might be familiar with is

 1     b3     4     5     b7     1.
This is what we get if we apply it to the C major scale:

1               b3               4               5               b7               1

C               Eb              F               G               Bb             C


To help you understand this a little better, let’s look at these notes without the flats.  In other words, 1 3 4 5 7 1…

1               3               4               5               7               1
C              E               F               G              B               C


All we have to do get the appropriate notes, is take the 3rd and 7th notes of the scale (E and B), and flat them (lower them by 1/2 step)…


1               b3               4               5                b7               1
C               Eb              F               G                Bb             C

That’s it!  

Questions about sharps and flats?

  • A sharp (#) raises the pitch (sound) of a note by 1/2 step, which is one fret on the guitar.
  • A flat lowers the pitch (sound) of a note by 1/2 step.  
  • Let’s use the 3rd fret G on the first string as an example.   To play a G# (sharp), you would add 1 fret, putting the G# at the 4th fret of the 1st string.  To play a Gb (flat), you would subtract a fret, putting you at the 2nd fret for the Gb.  


More information 

In some methods they account for only 5 patterns, one for each chord of the CAGED system.  5 pattern systems are incomplete, so if you want to REALLY know the guitar, learn all 7!

Pay close attention to the fingerings, as they’re designed to make these patterns efficient to play.  If you use different fingerings, you’ll most likely end up jumping around the neck more than you need to.

Every  guitar scale, chord or arpeggio you’ll ever play will be learned through the major scale.  So download it and get to work !


7 Major Scale patterns

The Download (again)

7 major scale patterns in C


More information

fingerboard knowledge #1

fingerboard knowledge #2

fingerboard knowledge #3

CAGED system introduction