Major Scales in Open Position

Lesson #477 • Mar 14, 2023

In today’s lesson I want to return to the topic of the major scale, with a focus on the 5 major scales you can play in open position. I’m specifically talking about the major keys of C, G, D, A, and E — which I’d consider the most most common keys used on guitar. While I’ve done a few lessons in the past looking at the major scale patterns up the fretboard (e.g. playing scales using the CAGED chord shapes), I’ve never done a proper “start here” lesson… until today!

This one goes out to Song Notes community member John, whose question on this topic spurred me to create this video.

Instructional PDF 2 pages

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Follow along with the print-friendly PDF!

It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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Zoomed Videos Teaching Each Scale

Here’s a zoomed-in video walking you through the major scale for the five most common keys. Generally, I’d consider these to be ordered from simplest to most difficult — as there’s an increased reliance on your fretting hand’s pinky for the A major and E major scales. Dig in and enjoy!

C Major

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G Major

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D Major

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A Major

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E Major

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