How to Understand Guitar Scales

How’s it going my guitar friends? Darrin Goodman here with some more guitar info for ya’, today I want to help you in your quest of understanding guitar scales.

There are many different types of guitar scales, to many to cover them all in this short article, but I will try to cover stuff that you will get the most use out of.

First lets take a look at the Major Scale, which we will use as sort of bench mark for understanding the others that we will look at.

The major scale is a seven tone scale that identifies the seven notes that are in a given key. Lets look at the key of G, which consists of the notes; G, A, B, C, D, E and F#. This is the first pattern which starts on G, which is also known as the Ionian Mode.


If you look at each note and there relationship to one another they are divided into two groups; the majors and the perfects, notes 1, 4, 5 and 8 are the perfects and notes 2, 3, 6 and 7 are the majors, these are what are called intervals, which could make an entire article of itself. If you flatten a major it becomes a minor, which we will talk about in a minute.

There are six more patterns each of which starts one of the notes in the key. The second pattern would start on A, the third pattern would start on B, the fourth pattern would start on C, the fifth pattern would start on D, the sixth pattern would start on E, and the seventh pattern would start on F#.

If you look at the sixth position below, you will see that it is the same as the first position except that the major intervals are flattened which makes them minor; this pattern is the natural minor scale. So in the key of G major the relative minor starts on E.


Another pattern we will look at is the five tone scale or pentatonic scale. It consists of the intervals of; perfect first, minor third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth and minor seventh when you compare it to the major scale.


If you were playing in the key of G major the major scale would start on G and the natural minor scale would start on E. The pentatonic scale would also start on E, since it is also a minor scale due to the major intervals being flattened.
I hope this helps you to understand scales a little more and how to use them.


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