Major Scale Resources

Free Online Resources for Fretboard Theory Chapter 5: Major Scale Patterns

These resources are to be used together with the guitar theory video course, Fretboard Theory. Be sure to bookmark this page for future reference.

You can also download these same resources in a PDF doc.

Download Resources as PDF

Major Scale Video Section Times

  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Lesson 01: Get to Know Major Scale Construction (7:04)
  • Lesson 02: Play the Major Scale in Five Patterns (15:37)
  • Lesson 03: Use Accompaniment and Cover the Whole Fretboard (41:03) [Jump to section]
  • Lesson 04: Transpose Major Scale Patterns to New Keys (1:03:58)
  • Lesson 05: Play Three-notes-per-string Patterns (1:22:00)
  • Lesson 06: Play Melodic Patterns (2:02:22)

Lesson 03: Use Accompaniment and Cover the Whole Fretboard (41:03)

Playing up and down scale patterns isn’t exactly the most enjoyable way to spend your time. Frankly, it can be tedious, and it may even feel pointless to you. Sure, eventually, you’ll be able to use the scale to play things that you enjoy, like melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos, and bass lines, but what can you do now while you’re still getting the patterns down? Lucky for you, I offer a few ideas in the following sections for how to add a little fun to your practice sessions. Enjoy!

The major scale patterns will absolutely come alive if you play them along to some accompaniment. Just put on some music that’s in the same key as the scale and let the music play as you run up and down the patterns.

So if you’re in the G major scale, pick music that’s also drawn from that scale. This can be any piece of music based on the following chords (which you get to know in Fretboard Theory 1 Chapter 6):

G-Am-Bm-C-D-Em-F♯m♭5

If you’re having a hard time choosing a song that’s drawn from the G major scale, why not try one of the following classics?

You don’t need to learn how to play the guitar parts in the songs above. Just use the recordings as backing tracks so that you have something to play along with as you play through the major scale patterns. The mixture of the scale and music creates harmony and gives you a tempo to follow. As a result, you’ll really feel and sound like you’re making music, which will make practicing the patterns a much more enjoyable experience!

You can use any song with chords that fit into the key of G. Or you can make up your own tracks either by recording yourself strumming a chord progression or by using an audio program that features prerecorded tracks that you can transpose and paste together.

Play-along Backing Tracks

In addition to the suggestions above, I have a handful of play-along backing tracks below for you to download and practice with. Watch my demonstration in the video.

Play the Relative Minor Scale

If you’re tired of working in G major but still haven’t quite mastered the major scale patterns, you’re in luck! You can practice the same notes and patterns in a minor scale instead. The relative minor to the major scale is always the 6th degree, so in the G scale, the relative minor is the 6th, E. Some songs that focus on the 6th, E, include:

Get copies of these songs and play along, or download and use my E minor track below.

Music can use other degrees of the scale as the tonic, too. When this happens, the music is in a mode. You get to know modes in Fretboard Theory 1 Chapter 8.

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Major Scale Songs

Here’s a list of songs that feature a major scale melody, riff, solo, or bass line at some point in the music. Learn some of these song parts in order to put the scale patterns to use and build up your vocabulary of licks and phrases. I link to free tabs and video lessons when I have them. You can find more free tabs by searching songsterr.com. Go to sheetmusicdirect.us or musicnotes.com for official sheet music.

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Don’t have the video yet? Get full access to the complete Fretboard Theory guitar theory system today!

Learn how to easily master scales, chords, progressions, modes, composition techniques, and more.

Get the Fretboard Theory Video Instruction

Guitar Picking Mechanics

Playing scale patterns (and guitar parts based in scale patterns) proficiently requires added picking technique. To go beyond the basics of picking and learn the strategies the pros use to increase accuracy, speed, and comfort, see my course, Guitar Picking Mechanics, which is sold separately.

Private Lessons

Need personalized instruction? You can take private lessons with me online using the free Skype video chat app. Go to my scheduler for more information.