Your First Scale:

C Major (Open Position)

Great way to learn all note names on first 3 frets!


• You can play the C major scale (Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti/Si Do), on the piano using just the white keys and no black keys (sharps or flats).

• Remember the names of the strings (from lowest-sounding to highest-sounding)?: E A D G B E (Remember: Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie!) The thinnest string is 1 and the thickest is 6.)

• Use your first finger for all notes on the first fret, second finger for all notes on second fret, etc.

• First note of the scale is called the "root."

• "Open" means: don't touch the string!

• The major scale has two "half steps" (notes that are right next to each other): Between E&F and B&C.

• Notes should ring clean and clear. Be careful not to let your finger press on top of or over the fret. Also, press just hard enough so there is no "buzzing" sound.

• The distance ("interval"), from the 1st note of the scale to the 8th note (low C and high C), is called an "octave." ("Oct" = 8) You can learn more about intervals here.

• After learning the scale, continue to learn all the "named notes" (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), above and below it (on the first 3 frets).

• The note names on the low E and high E strings are (obviously), the same!

• If you play all the named notes, from low E to high G (3rd fret of 3rd string), we call that a scale pattern or "shape." If you're interested, go have a look at the The 5 Scale Shapes (CAGED System on the Intermediate tab of my site. This is the best way to learn to use the entire guitar neck.

• It's a good idea to hum along with the notes as you play them. After you learn the scale (or extended scale), try making up little melodies using those notes!

• If you want, you can start to practice down/up picking with this scale/shape, as well!