Scales and chords are the heart and soul of a guitar – just like for any other western musical instrument. So as a guitar player you must know how to build them effortlessly on the fly without having to memorize each scale and chord. You will never ever need to depend on a chord chart or a lesson book to learn a new chord or scale if you learn how to build them. I mean if you remember the formulas.
Building Major Scale
This is the most important part of the music theory that you must learn and register in your mind throughout your life as a guitar player and a musician.
The scale interval or the formula for building a major scale is W W H W W W H (W stands for Whole Step and H stands for Half Step). Applying this formula gives you a C Major Scale or any other major scale for that matter, depending on which note you start. If you start on D, and apply this formula, you will get a D Major Scale. I hope you got my point.
To begin with, let’s use the first major scale (diatonic scale) in western music, i.e. C Major Scale
C Major Scale Notes >> C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C (where C is called the Root Note of that Scale)
Now using the formula, you can build a Major scale from every note on C Major Scale (D-E-F-G-A-B). So the next scale you can build is D Major, then E Major, F Major and till the B Major scale. That way you can build all the important Major scales in western music on your guitar.
So let’s build the next Major Scale i.e. D Major Scale using the scale interval formula.
And we got the D Major Scale Notes as >> D – E – F# – G – A – B – C# – D (Where D is called the Root Note of that scale)
If you’ve got some time, you can watch this video that clearly explains building a major scale in detail. It’s worth your time!
Practicing C Major and D major Scales
You can utilize these fret diagrams and tabs to practice C Major and D Major scales in 2 different positions. The original position will always have open strings in it and I haven’t provided the Tabs for them. The open strings are marked outside the Fret Diagrams.
You can practice these scales up and down the fretboard to build speed and control over your instrument. Start off by playing slowly initially and gradually build speed as you go by. Use a metronome if you can. Never push yourself to the limits just to play it faster. You will end up being sloppy! When you feel drained out – with achy fingers and shoulders – take a break for a day or two to let your body get accustomed to the new physical requirement – that is playing guitar.
It will definitely take some time to attain perfection as your fingers need some time to gain the muscle strength and memory to play effortlessly. So give yourself some time to gain traction on the instrument, never be impatient. Practice regularly and devote at least half an hour to one hour everyday for the best results. I bet you will gradually see your efforts paying off, as the days go by.
In the next lesson, we will check out E and F Major Scales on 2 different positions. Till then rock n’ roll and practice hard, without hurting yourself!