Guitars Lesson 6 – Scales On The Guitar – Major, Minor And Relative

Hello, friends! This is a big day for new topic that we’ll cover today. Today we’ll review scales on the guitar including major, minor from various strings. Scales is basic way for improvising in the tonality of the key. It’s very important to be able see them from many strings (not only one!) because it opens new sight on the fretboard.

Every every minor has its parallel major (known as relative) which can be used for playing in the key. Knowing how to find them, opens playing skills to new level. It’s one of the secret weapons of successful guitar player. It makes melody more interesting. Music is always strain and solution, which can be achieved by many ways, pentatonics, arpeggios and other tricks. This is today’s goal – learn to improvise easily and creative. It’s another essential part of guitar basics.

Today’s lesson’s goal is to:

  • Learn learn guitar scales;
  • Learn them from various strings;
  • Introduce to major, minor and relative (parallel).

Let’s begin!

Structure of guitar major scales

As an example we’ll take C major and look closer to it. This is the basic form of C major from low E string 8th fret.

c major from e string

It’s built on the following formula:

Tone > Tone > Semitone > Tone > Tone > Tone > Semitone

So, on the basis of this formula we get that scale is:

C (tone) > D (tone) > E (semitone) > F (tone) > G (tone) > A (tone) > B (semitone) > C

Ok, let’s take it and move further and build it from A string. Here’s is the same from A string from the 3rd fret.

c major from a strings

It’s built on the same formula. The only difference is in the structure. Remember that structure! Knowing it, makes it easy to build them anywhere.

Tip: Very good example – take only first high E string and try to build major using the formula above (scale on the first string). Doing that you’ll open new sight on the fretboard! And then try to build it on second, third strings.

And at least, let’s build it from D string. Here’s the C major from D string 10th fret.

c major from d strings

It’s the same scale built on the same formula. The only difference – is the structure.

Ok, I recommend you to try to remember these 3 structures of the C major scale. Use them in your playing and building own interesting ideas.

Structure of the guitar minor scales

As an example we’ll take C minor once again. Like previous one, let’s build it from E, A and D guitar strings.

Here’s the basic C minor from low E string 8th fret.

c minor from e string

C minor is built on the following formula:

Tone > Semitone > Tone > Tone> Semitone > Tone > Tone

Using the following formula we get the basic C minor scale:

C (tone) > D (semitone) > Eb (tone) > F (tone) > G (semitone) > Ab (tone) > Bb (tone)

Here we get three “b” (flat) notes which transforms it to minor.

Ok, let’s build it from A string. Here it’s from 3rd fret of the A string.

c minor from a string

The structure is different, but the formula is the same.

Remember it and compare to the basic one which starts from the E string. It will be simple, but good example for improving your sight to the various structures.

Finally, here’s the C minor from 10th fret of the D string.

(coming very soon)

It’s the example of the scale from D string. You can try building your own one based on the formula that is comfortable for you. This structure may be not so comfortable to play but it’s build on the basis of the formula.

What I would like to say is that I’ve showed you how to build scales on the guitar in major and minor from various strings based on the single formula. It’s good to know them, because it gives you the trump in playing and your ideas (using this knowledge) will make your music more interesting.

Minor and relative major (parallel)

The last tip that I would like to show you today is what is relative scale?

Every major has its own relative minor and vice versa. It’s the magic of the music which was invented by famous old guitarists like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and others. They invented it and stayed in that “World” in their music. It’s quite simple “Magical Thing” that allows to become World-class guitarist. Once my teacher showed it to me and I’ll show it to you.

The “Magical Formula” is based on the first and fourth finger principle!

Sounds unclear? Let’s figure it out!

Take A minor scale as example:

a minor scale

Next, take C major:

c major scale

Now look closer to them both. The only difference in these two scales is that A minor starts from the 5th fret of the low E string (then continues to B and C notes) but C major starts from the 8th fret of the same low E string (number 4). Got it?

The difference is 4 guitar frets from A to C note (4 semitones) on the low E string. The structure is the same but the difference is only in 4 frets from A to C note. This is the “Magical Formula” that was invented by old guitarists! Share it with your friends if they don’t know it!

It’s called first and fourth finger principle!

The same happens on the A string when you play, for example, C minor and D# major scales. Structure is the same, but the difference is in the first and fourth finger principle. This is one way on the A string how you can play relative

The other way will be also good example for you. Look at the picture called (C major from A string). Take that structure and build relative D# major to C minor.

The conclusion of today’s lesson

Ok, today was the scales on the guitar day. Knowing these simple, but essential tips will make your knowledge stronger and guitar playing better, because if we want to show something new and interesting in our playing, we must know more than simple basics.

Here’s what we have learned today:

  • Major and minor scales;
  • Building them from various strings;
  • Formulas which to use;
  • Different structures;
  • Introduction to relative scale!

Ok, next time we’ll learn guitar key structure that will help stay in right tonality key. Till next time!

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