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How to Play Major Scales in Fingerstyle Guitar

Learn how to play major scales from guitarist Adam Smale in this online fingerstyle guitar lesson from Howcast.


I'd like to talk to you about the major scale now. The major scale has seven notes. All major scales have seven notes, and we usually number them from one to seven. If you think of the eighth note, you get the repeated note you started with, but an octave higher.

So let me explain. I'll start with a very simple major scale. Let's start with a key of C, and I am going to play it one octave. So C, D, E, F,G, A, B, and then a repeated root note at the top, C. Every one knows this sound. An case you don't really actually understand what a major scale is, everyone knows do, re, me, fa, so, la, te, do. That's what a major scale is. Do, re, me, fa, so, la, te, do. You get to hear me singing too. So that, essentially, is a major scale.

Now, let's expand the range of the major scale. Instead of just playing it from our fifth string to our second string, let's learn how to play it on all six strings. So I'm going to start on C, it's a good place to start, but I'm going to go past this other C on my second string, and I'll wind up here on a G. [playing guitar] When I get to that point, I'm going to come back down, [playing guitar] and I'm going to go past my C, keep going all the way to my open E, climb back up, and land on the C. And then I'll do it one more time. [playing guitar] There is the C major scale.

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