So you know the basics of playing the guitar and want to start learning more of it? In this article you will learn how to play the major scale on guitar and three ways to have fun with that.

I‘m going to assume that you know the notes on the open strings (E B G D A E from the highest note to the lowest). So let‘s start at the beginning.
The major scale is a core building block of western music. There are 12 different notes on the guitar and a major scale consists of seven of those. Here is the major scale starting on an open string. You can play all green marked frets.

Major Scale

For example let‘s play an E major scale. For that you‘d use an open E string like the first string as your starting point. The next note is the second fret on the same string. Then follows the fourth fret and so on. Now that you know your major scale on one string let‘s make music with it.

Activity Nr. 1 Play with a backing track
Search for a major backing track in one of the open notes (E, B, G, D, A) and play your major scale on the fitting string. This immediately sounds good. Find notes that you like. You can even build small melodies out of this scale.

Activity Nr. 2 Accompany yourself
Play the major scale on the first string. While you play that, repeatedly strum the sixth string. This has the same effect of playing with a backing track only that you don‘t need anything except your guitar. You could also try playing the fifth string while playing your major scale on the first string.

Activity Nr. 3 Experiment with random other tones
Just grab any note on the guitar and play a major scale on another string with it. Test how this note sounds with the scale. Does it sound good with some notes? Does it sound horrible with others? You are here to experiment and test the notes.

With these activities you will have the major scale down in no time. But remember: The most important point is to apply it and have fun with it.

About the Author:
René Kerkdyk is the owner of Rock Gitarre Hildesheim, the
best guitar school in Hildesheim, Germany.