The complete C Major Scales for Guitar – Part 1

Full Scales

All the notes you will need to play in the key of C Major, anywhere on the fret-board, can be found in 5 scale shapes. These are shown here in this fact sheet. Remember that the shapes end at the 12th fret but the open strings are the same as the notes on the 12th fret. So when you get to the 12th fret repeat shape 1. Repeat shape 2 starting on the 15th fret and so on.

To read the diagrams:-

  • The other thing that you need to  know is that the strings are the vertical lines.
  • The left hand line is string 6 (the thickest string) and the right hand line is string 1 (the thinnest string).
  • The horizontal lines are the fret lines. 0 is the open strings with no fingers on them.
  • The notes should be played in alphabetical order starting from the letter on the top left hand corner of the diagram and ending on the bottom right hand corner.

C Major Scale shape 1

 C Major Scale Shape 1

Playing Positionally

Below is a picture of a left hand with the fret-board fingers numbered from 1 to 4.

 

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From now on whenever a finger number is referred to it will relate to this diagram.

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Things to remember about playing positionally:-

  • Place the thumb in the correct position.
  • Whenever you place your Finger 1 in position always check that the thumb is in the correct position so that you can maintain good technique.
  • The thumb should always be positioned behind where Finger 2 will come down, even if it is not used.

This means that you use a finger to play each string on the same fret.

For example:-

  • You would use finger 1 to play any note that occurred on the 1st fret no matter what string you were using.
  • If you had to stretch for a
    note, say on the 5th fret, you would move the whole hand up one fret and not just one finger.
  • The idea of this is that you always know where you are on the fret-board because you can use the 1st finger as a guide.
  • No matter where you are playing on the guitar you are in a position. These are denoted by Roman Numerals I is 1,II is 2,III is 3, IV is 4, V is 5, VI is 6, VII is 7, VIII is 8, IX is 9, X is 10, XI is 11, XII is 12 and so on. If you played a note on the 8th fret, and you were in the VI position the note would be played by the 3rd finger.

When playing this shape you can maintain the principle above. This means that anything that appears on fret 1 (of the diagram) you use finger 1, anything on fret 2 you use finger 2 and so on.

There is 2 ways to practice these scale shapes:-

1)         Practice the scale shape from the e on the top left hand of the diagram to the g of the Bottom right hand of the diagram, and then back to the e.

As you go say the names of the notes so that you come to play them individually you will know where they are.

2)         Practice playing the scale the same as in (1) but this time say to yourself the fingers that you need to use.

String 6 – Open, finger 1, finger 3.

String 5 – Open, finger 2, finger 3.

String 4 – Open, finger 2, finger 3.

String 3 – Open, finger 2.

String 2 – Open, finger 1, finger 3.

String 1 – Open, finger 1, finger 3.

 

Below is the C Major Scale shape 2.

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When playing this scale shape use the “one finger to one fret” principle until you play the d (on string 2) with finger 1 and then follow again. When playing backwards play the c (on string 3) with finger 4 and follow the one finger to one fret.

String 6 – Finger 2, finger 4.

String 5 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

String 4 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

String 3 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

String 2 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

String 1 – Finger 1, finger 3.

Below is the C Major Scale shape 3.

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With this shape you have to play the a (on string 4) with finger 4 to be able to reach the b (on string 3). Then play the e (on string 2) with finger 1. This is also true when you are playing backwards.

String 6 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

String 5 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

String 4 – Finger 1, finger 4.

String 3 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

String 2 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

String 1 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

 

Below is the C Major Scale shape 4.

 image007

With this shape you have to simply play one finger one fret and everything follows. This is also true when you are playing backwards.

String 6 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

String 5 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

String 4   Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

String 3 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

String 2 – Finger 2, finger 4.

String 1 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

 

Below is the C Major Scale shape 5.

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For this shape you have to play the a (on string 5 ) with finger 4 to be able to reach the b (on string 4) with finger 1. Then play the a (on string 2) with finger 1.Then you continue with the ‘one finger one fret” principle. This is also true when you are playing backwards.

 String 6 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

String 5 – Finger 1, finger 4.

String 4 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

String 3 – Finger 1, finger 2, finger 4.

String 2 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.

String 1 – Finger 1, finger 3, finger 4.


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