Hobbies Playing Music Positions of the Major Scale Share PINTEREST Email Print Playing Music Playing Guitar Tutorials Basics Tab, Chords & Lyrics Music Education Playing Piano Home Recording By Dan Cross Dan Cross Dan Cross is a professional guitarist and former private instructor who has experience teaching and playing various styles of music. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 03/06/17 01 of 07 Major Scale in First Position Major scale in first position. The root of the scale is marked in red. In your evolution as a lead guitarist, it becomes more and more important to learn to solo in more than one position. If, for example, you're soloing in the key of C major, and you only feel comfortable playing in the few frets surrounding the eighth fret, then you're limiting yourself unnecessarily. What follows are diagrams and explanations of how to play a major scale in every position on the neck of the guitar. The first position of the major scale, seen above, is the "standard" way of playing the major scale, which most guitarists know. If it looks unfamiliar to you, play through it. This is the "do re mi fa sol la ti do" scale you probably learned in school. Begin the scale with your second finger, and do not adjust your hand position while playing the scale. Make sure to play the scale backwards and forwards, slowly and evenly, until you have it memorized. 02 of 07 Major Scale in Second Position Major scale in second position. Pattern begins two frets up from the root on the sixth string. The root of the scale is marked in red. The second position of the major scale begins it's pattern on the second note of the scale. So, if you were playing a G major scale in second position, the bottom note in the pattern would be "A" - two frets up from the root of the scale. This is actually much easier to hear than it is to explain. Grab your guitar Now, try playing the third fret on the sixth string of the guitar (the note G) with your first finger. Next, slide that finger up to the fifth fret, and play the pattern shown here. Play the scale forwards and backwards, staying in position throughout, using your fourth (pinky) finger to stretch. When you return to the fifth fret on the sixth string, slide your finger down again to play the note on the third fret. Could you hear what happened? You just played a G major scale, which you'd normally play using the pattern outlined on the previous page. This time, however, you played the major scale two frets up, using a different scale pattern. This is the concept we'll apply in the following steps to the rest of the positions of the major scale. The goal when complete is to be able to play a single major scale all over the fretboard. 03 of 07 Major Scale in Third Position Major scale in third position. Pattern begins four frets up from the root on the sixth string. The root of the scale is marked in red. This pattern begins on the third note of the major scale. So, if you were playing a G major scale - traditionally played starting on the third fret of the sixth string - you'd begin this pattern at the seventh fret at the note B. Stay in position while playing this scale pattern. 04 of 07 Major Scale in Fourth Position Major scale in fourth position. Pattern begins five frets up from the root on the sixth string. The root of the scale is marked in red. This scale pattern is actually no different from the third position pattern we just covered - your hand position remains identical. To play the major scale in the fourth position properly, you begin the pattern above using your second finger. So, on the sixth string, you'd use your second finger, then fourth finger to play the second note. Then, on the fifth string, you'd begin with your first finger. When playing the pattern this way, your hand position never needs to shift. 05 of 07 Major Scale in Fifth Position Major scale in fifth position. Pattern begins seven frets up from the root on the sixth string. The root of the scale is marked in red. Begin this pattern using your second (middle) finger. In the fifth position, you will need to shift your hand position up a fret on the second string. Stay in this new position for the notes on the second and first strings. When descending the scale, stay in this new position for the first and second strings. When playing your first note on the third string, use your fourth (pinky) finger, which should naturally shift your hand back into the initial hand position. 06 of 07 Major Scale in Sixth Position Major scale in sixth position. Pattern begins nine frets up from the root on the sixth string. The root of the scale is marked in red. The pattern for the sixth position of the major scale starts with your first finger. Play the scale in the same position, stretching with your fourth (pinky) finger when necessary. 07 of 07 Major Scale in Seventh Position Major scale in seventh position. Pattern begins eleven frets up from the root on the sixth string. The root of the scale is marked in red. The seventh position of the major scale is actually the same hand position as the root position - the difference being you begin playing the pattern with your first finger, instead of your second. Play the pattern for the seventh position of the major scale forwards and backwards, keeping your hand in the same position throughout.