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Lesson 8 Continued: Playing a Scale

Now we are going to play a complete 8 note scale. This is the bread and butter of music. You probably already know about the scale and you will definitely hear how it is a perfect symmetry of eight notes. It begins with a note and ends with the same note an octave higher.

 

Before we play the scale let's first take a look at what a scale is

It is a series of notes that start on one note and end on the same note that is just an octave higher. Well, that might sound a little confusing but it will make sense. There are lots of different scales and they all have very distinct sounds. We will just play the good old C major scale. It is the most common and basic scale.

 

What is a Major Scale?

A major scale is a very exact series of notes and half notes. In the case of the Scale of C Major It goes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

Here is what that scale looks like on your guitar. On the B string. Give it a try. And you will hear how perfect it is as it starts on C and ends on C.

 

But, the big thing you can notice here is that some of the steps are one fret and some of the steps are two frets! Yikes, that makes things complicated. It would be simpler if every note were just one fret up. Yup, it sure would and that is a scale too. But it is not the Major Scale.

The Major Scale is composed of whole and half steps at very distinct locations:

C to D - whole step (two frets)
D to E - whole step (two frets)
E to F - half step (one fret)
F to G - whole step (two frets)
G to A - whole step (two frets)
A to B - whole step (two frets)
B to C - half step (one fret)

The important thing is that you start on C and you do the whole step and half step sequence. That gives you the scale. And a beautiful thing about the guitar is that you have a whole lot of different ways that you can play this. Just as long as you follow the whole/half steps you can start on any C of the Guitar and come up with a perfect C Scale.

This picture shows the same C scale (an octave lower).It crosses several strings. Make note of the white dots that represent playing a string open.


You can start on any note on any string of the fret board and as long as you do the right sequence of steps: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half - you come up with the major scale for that starting note. So, if you started on F and did this you would end up with the F Major Scale.

 

Lets continue on with how to read sheet music In the next lesson we take a look (and hear) the minor scale. It really is quite wonderful how different it sounds