Learn The Major Scale On Guitar – Lead Guitar Lesson #3

Welcome to lesson #3 of the Lead Guitar Quick-Start
Series. On this lesson we’re going to go over your first scale, the major scale, and
this one is really important because the major scale is pretty much the foundation of all
the other scales and chords that you’re going to learn as a guitarist. What we’re
going to do is work on just the basic mechanics and the memorization of the scale shape, but
before we actually jump into learning the shape, you need to learn how to read a scale
diagram. If you’ve learned how to read chord diagrams, it’s not a whole lot different.
On a scale diagram you’re going to see 6 vertical lines that represent the strings
of the guitar. The one to the far left represents the low E strings, the one to the far right
represents the high E strings and the horizontal lines on the scale diagram are going to represent
the frets of the guitar. When you look at a scale diagram, you’re going to see a lot
of dots on it. Those dots are either going to be filled in or not filled in. The filled
in dots represent the root notes of that particular scale that you’re looking at. So for example
we’re going to be learning a G major scale here. The filled in or black dots that you’re
going to see are the root notes of that G major scale, which means those are going to
be all G notes. The rest of the circles, the non filled in notes, are just the rest of
the notes in that scale. Now in those circles you’re going to see numbers, either 1, 2,
3 or 4. Those numbers just represent which fingers you should be playing those particular
notes with. For all the scales that we’re going to be learning in the Lead Guitar Quick-Start
Series, we’re going to be using the designated finger concept. I mentioned that in the first
lesson, and that just says that you’re going to have one finger that’s designated for
each fret in that particular scale. For this G major scale, if there are any notes that
occur on the second fret, you’re going to play those notes with your first hand; any
notes that occur on the third fret you’re going to play with your second finger. Any
notes that occur on any of the strings on the fourth fret you’re going to play with
your third finger and your pinky is going to cover any notes that happen on the fifth
fret. That’s going to become a lot clearer to you once we start learning the scale shape.
The major scale is a 7-note scale and if you look at the scale diagram for this shape we’re
going to be learning, you’re going to say “Nate, there are a lot more than 7 notes
on there" and you’re right. The thing is once you play the first 7 notes of that
scale; you’re just going to repeat those notes again one octave higher. So let’s
just into the scale, remember all the tips I’ve given you about small efficient motions
with your picking, staying relaxed, finger placement right behind the frets, coming right
down on the tips of your fingers, all of those things. So let’s get into the scale shape.
Our first note is going to be the lowest note of the scale and that’s going to be the
G root note right here on the third fret of the low E string. You’re going to play that
with your middle finger, your second finger. Second note on the scale you’re going to
get with your pinky on the fifth fret. Now I'm going to be using all downstrokes just to
keep things simple right now. So those are the first 2 notes of your scale. Now go over
to the next string and your first finger is going to come back to the second fret. Second
finger third fret. Pinky finger fourth finger on the fifth fret. So those are the three notes
on that string. So do you see how the designated finger concept
is kind of kicking in? The notes that occurred on both strings, both the low E and the A
strings on the third fret I was getting with my middle finger. The note that occurred on
the second fret I was getting with my index finger there. Third finger was getting the
note on the fourth fret. My pinky was getting both notes on the low E and the A for the
fifth fret, so both of those strings together, just take it a little bit at a time. Work
on just those two strings. And like I did just there, make sure to go up and come back down too. Let’s add in the notes on the next string on the D string. Those notes are going to
be first finger second fret, fourth fret with your third finger and your pinky is going
to grab the fifth fret. And that brings us up to an octave G note. So we’ve played 7 notes and then back up to another G. So work on just those notes. Get them under your fingers,
then add them in to the rest of the scale. That’s our first octave of that scale, 7
notes, right? And then to the octave, another G note right there. We’re just going to
repeat that major scale and to do that we need to learn the notes on the G string, which
is something really cool right here. It’s the same exact pattern that you had on the
last string, you’re going to have your first finger second fret, third finger fourth fret,
pinky finger fifth fret and those are the notes on that string.
Looking for repeating patterns like this is a trick to memorizing scale shapes faster.
If I know that my D string and my G string have the exact same patterns on them, that
can make memorizing this G major scale a little bit easier. Incorporate that with the rest
of the scale and just work on that one chunk Once you have that down, you can add
the notes on the B string. And on the B string there are only two notes for the scale shape.
Middle finger is going to grab the third fret, pinky is going to grab the fifth fret. Those
are the only two notes under that string, so get those under your finger. Once you get
those memorized and down, just add it in to the rest of the scale So you’re almost there. You don’t have to learn this all in the course of this video.
It takes some time, a couple of days, week, month, whatever to get this scale shape down.
The notes on the last string, the high E string are the second fret with your first finger,
third fret your second finger, and your fourth finger is going to grab the fifth fret. You
got 3 notes on this string. Once you get it memorized, just work on going up and down the scale, making sure that you have it memorized and it’s under your fingers really well. So right now just focus on memorizing this scale
shape and getting it down. Another thing that I want you to realize is this scale shape
is movable too. If I had this G major scale that we just played and I move it to where
the root notes were on a different note, so if I moved my starting point up two frets to
an A note, now I’d be playing an A major scale using the exact same shape and now the
name of the scale changes to an A major scale. It’s also important to start memorizing
where the root notes of the scale shape are, so we know our lowest root note is here with
our middle finger, right? If we look at the scale diagram, we’re going to see another
root note here on the fifth fret of the D string and another root note here on the third
fret of the high E string. I’ve made a jam track for you to help you work on this major scale, and like I said earlier, it’s really important that you apply everything that you’re
going to be working on here to some real music So pull up that major scale jam track and what you want to do is just start off by getting the scale shape down, kind of using
it as a metronome. After you do that, you’re going to kind of want to emphasize the root
notes of the scale, and by emphasize the root notes all I mean is start and end or maybe
even pause on the root notes. After that, once you have the scale shape down and you
know where the root notes are, just try making up your own, like start to improvise and just
mix up out of thin air with this scale shape. Here’s a basic example of how you can start
to develop this scale with this jam track. So go as crazy as you want to with that. Memorize
the scale shape, memorize where the root notes are and then just start making stuff up on
your own. Thanks for going through this lesson with me. Don’t forget to apply everything
you’ve learned to real music, in this case the jam track I’ve supplied for you. You
may feel silly at first, you’re like you’re not very good, but that’s okay. The important
part is that you start to apply like I said everything you learn to real music and you
enjoy the process of making up patterns and learning this new scale shape.
In the next lesson, we’re going to learn a new scale that you can use over the same jam track that you used in this lesson. It's going to be the major pentatonic scale, so
get ready for that. If you have any questions about the major scale or this shape, you can
leave them here on the comments and I’ll answer you there or you can just email me [email protected] See you in the next lesson.

41 thoughts on “Learn The Major Scale On Guitar – Lead Guitar Lesson #3”

  1. Hey there still struggling a little bit with my improvisation like I memorized the whole scale but when I try to improvise to a backing track I don't feel like I like the Melody that's coming out and I can't do the melodies that i want like I play the note randomly

  2. picked up some awesome information here thanks a lot! maybe i missed it during the explanation because i was trying alonfgside but could have been cool to mention the fact that when you are playing from lower to upper (or vice versa) notes on the same string, you (maybe?) don't need to move the finger that is closer to the left ( i mean to let the string go) . just figured it out by watching the way you handle it, it makes the handling so much easier. but damn my arm still hurts even trying to be decontracted, first day is hella hard tho lol

  3. Once you get this down pat start saying the notes folks. 🙂 and then look at the sheet music and compare.

  4. I first learned chords and strumming everything basic from your videos then went away for quite some time practiced songs still never been able to know exactly how to start lead and after all this time I come back to you for help… It's amazing. 🙂 Due to time problems I can't go to guitar classes but you know this isn't half bad. 😀 thank you live long and make more videos :O. 😉

  5. It looks like all fingers to be used on a given string are being held down until all notes on that string have been played(?). Is that done for efficiency? I don't think many guitar players do that. I've seen them lift each finger back up as soon as each note ends. It would have been good to point that out.
    I had to google 'Nighthawk Anniversary guitar' to find out it's a Gibson(?) Can't see or read the top of the head to confirm. Youtube should pass a law that all guitar videos must list make/model in the notes at the top to save people from always having to ask in the comments. I could never buy so many guitars without being a rock star first. I wonder how Nighthawk compares with something like a Les Paul. Gibsons are known for being pricey, but I like the smaller body size. I wish you'd teach without the distorted sound. You never play the highest note in the chord diagram, which is the 9th.

  6. Thank you SO much for this series!!! I was so excited to stumble upon your lessons. They’re clear and go at just the right pace for me. You’re helping make this dream come true!! ❤️

  7. I'm planning to switch my music role from drummer to be a lead guitarist. Hope I can make it. thanks for the fundamentals

  8. So root notes work for beginning and ending on them to sound on key right ? Memorizing root notes will help me improve my use of these scales by starting and ending on them so I can work around them and always land on key? And start on key? Haha

  9. Hey, since this is a moveable pattern after G
    There is A in 5 fret
    B in 7 fret
    C in 8 fret
    But what about D E F

  10. what about the 1st fret Nate ? is this fret not played at all on an electric guitar ? I am using an Acoustic guitar at the moment. Please let me know ?

  11. Hi Nate. Is the fingering system different in a electric guitar. In an equistic guitar 1st finger is for the 1st fret, 2nd finger for 2nd fret, 3rd finger for 3rd fret and pinky for 4th fret ! Here you showed it different ?
    Thanks !
    This is a great lesson Nate ! I am a slow learner and therefore will take some time with it.
    Keep up the good work and God Bless you for this !

  12. Dude it is incredibly cool what you are doing here. I've been playing rusty as hell thrash and black metal for years and have always known how bad I am at playing but just got by. I'm 32 now and I was feeling like I could never get get to a stage where I should have been when I was 18 but your videos have given me hope. The fact that you're doing these videos for people (especially the jam tracks bud! I thought that was a little catch but no You're putting them there for us to), makes you really good people man. I'm quite humbled by your vids. I'm gonna practice the hell out of this scale, although I really want to jump to the pentatonic lol. If you were to read this and give advice though, do you think I should practice this scale until I am flying through it, or just competent and then move one and come back? Thanks again.

  13. I have been self teaching myself how to play the guitar and I have never learned the major or pentatonic scales until now lmfao. Luckily I can play this scale with some ease, though I do have some buzzing going on

  14. SERIOUSLY YOU RULE!!! you have no idea man.. I’m 29 in my second month of learning guitar this is the first video I’ve watched and actually picked up and retained any knowledge from when it comes to the scales thank you so much I will be watching all of your videos I’m hoping you have some on learning chords I’m stuck on those two need to memorize them and stop muting other strings out when attempting the very few I do know. I’m hoping so much to find videos from you on these topics I’m sure you’ve made them I just found your channel. Just wanted to say thank you. Other than a few little riffs from other people you’re the first actually “music theory” I have picked up on and understood and retained!!

  15. Dear Nate
    Thank you from heart and very grateful for teaching in a very simple manner
    Form my age 15 I desire to play the guitar now I am 47 just beginning my childhood dream
    Thank you one again
    Delhi (Indian)

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