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How to Play a Major Scale in Country Guitar

Learn how to play a major scale in country guitar from musician Boo Reiners in this Howcast video.


All right, we're going to go over a major scale. Let's start with the key of C. The C chord has a major scale within it that is very accessible. So if you start with the C note on the fifth string, third fret, go from there to the D note on the fourth string open. E comes after that. After E we've got a half step to an F. Then we're going to the G on the third string, followed with an A. We go to the B on the second string open. Then we play another half step from B to C.

So we've got two half steps, the rest of them are whole steps. You could label these Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do or C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C or, as I like to do, I just number them. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, one, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. I think that's a really handy way to deal with scales when you're first trying to put them to work for you. When you start getting into different keys, different fingering positions on the fingerboard, using the number system can really keep things simple for you.

The other thing that keeps things simple is, just know that in a major scale, it's really just a formula. You've got whole steps, but there are two half steps. Between scale degree three and four is a half step, and between scale degree seven and one is a half step. So if you just remember that, know all the other steps are going to be whole steps, which is a two fret space as opposed to a one fret space. You're going to get on top of this pretty quickly.

Here's a melody that we could use to start putting the scale to work for us. So that melody just fits really nicely inside that C chord. There's going to be all kinds of other melodies that you've known since you were a kid, that you can sort of just experiment with this scale and let the melodies come out. Your ear is going to know right away, when you're hitting a wrong note. So these melodies can show us what to do on the fingerboard. So have fun with that.

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