The major scale is one of the most basic and widely used scales in music. The major scale is also the scale most often used as a reference when building other scales. The C major scale has all natural notes, meaning it has no sharps or flats in it. The notes of the C major scale are C-D-E-F-G-A-B.
The C Major Scale
The C major guitar scale is simply the C major scale as it’s applied to the guitar. Below is the C major guitar scale written in traditional notation and tablature. These notes are in the open (or first) position on the guitar. Played ascending and descending. Play the notes on your guitar and there’s a good chance you’ll recognize the pattern as one of the most basic in music.
If you replace the notes in the C major scale with whole and half step markings, you’ll get a pattern you can use to find the major scale in any key. The pattern is: W-W-H-W-W-W-H. All you have to know is your starting note (the root note, which will be the key of your major scale) and apply these steps to find the notes you need to play.
The C major scale, as with any scale, can be played on any instrument. What makes the C major scale guitar specific to the guitar is the way you apply it to the guitar. The second illustration shows positions for C major scale on guitar. If you get familiar playing this pattern, you’ll be able to start on any note and maintain the same pattern to play in the major key of the starting (root) note.
The major scale is the building block of western music and the C major, since it has no sharps or flats, is the major scale most often used by guitar teachers with beginning students. Master the major scale pattern and you can use it as a springboard for everything else you do.