Understanding Scale on the Guitar


Understanding Scales on the Guitar


There are five scale positions on the guitar.

This tutorial will provide you with a useful way to memorize them.

The five positions look like this.

It is easy to memorize these five patterns if you realize that all the scales are based off of one pattern.

We will call this pattern the Master Scale.

By shifting the Master Scale up, down, left or right you can play any of the five positions.


To memorize the Master Scale, first note that every line contains only one of three possible patterns which we will call A, B, and C.


Now let’s see how patterns A, B, and C combine to make up the Master Scale.

Each position uses a different section of the Master Scale.

To play a position, first we grab six lines from the Master Scale.

Then we shift the notes on the top two strings to the right, which we show with dotted lines.

This is to accomodate the way the guitar is tuned.

Position 2 looks like this:

Position 3 looks like this:

Position 4 looks like this:

Position 5 looks like this:

One last tip to remember is that because the lowest and highest string are both E, whatever pattern is on the bottom string will be the same on the top string.

Now you have learned a handy system for memorizing all five positions of the guitar.

If you can memorize even two strings of any pattern, that is enough to know where you are in the Master Scale.