The C Major Scale is the easiest to play and memorize on the guitar. You can create an infinite amount of different sounds with the tones in the C Major Scale. In this beginner guitar lesson, we will take a look at the ways to play the C Major scale on the guitar neck and what exactly it means.
C Major Guitar Scale
Any Major Scale can be determined by using the interval formula W-W-H-W-W-W-H
What this means is first we start with two whole steps, then a half step, followed by three more whole steps and finally a half step to bring us back to the root.
C Major Scale Notes
Here’s how to calculate the notes in the C Major Scale using the W-W-H-W-W-W-H formula.
- C – First Note
- D – Second Note: By going one whole step up from the note C, we reach the second note D.
- E – Third Note: By going another whole step above the note D, we reach the third note E.
- F – Fourth Note: By going a half step above the note E, we reach the fourth note F.
- G – Fifth Note: By going a whole step up from the note F, we reach the fifth note G.
- A – Sixth Note: By going a whole step up from the note G, we reach the sixth note A.
- B – Seventh Note : By going up a whole step from the note A, we reach the seventh note B.
- C – Eighth Note (Octave) : Finally, by going up a half step from the note B, we reach the octave of the scale at C.
Learn The C Major Scale On The Guitar Neck
Notice how all of the notes in the C Major scale have no sharps or flats? This is why the C Major key is so popular. In the guitar world, the C Major scale is also useful for memorizing the notes on the fretboard.
Let’s take a look at what the C Major scale looks like on the Guitar with tabs and chord charts.
What you just looked at is the open position of C Major, meaning it begins on the open strings. This C Major scale is easy for soloing over top of open chord progressions that you will find in a lot of beginner guitar songs. Now let’s look at how the C Major scale looks on a chord chart:
As you can already see on the Chord diagram, the C Major scale can be extended to include the E strings of the guitar even though it doesn’t begin on C. This will become more useful to you later on as you learn about playing in the different modes of the C Major scale.
C Major Scale Soloing
When using the C major scale to solo over a chord progression in the key of C, there are many different ways to create different sounding note combinations. First, you will want to experiment with playing the scale at different rhythms between notes. Try skipping notes and emphasizing other ones more. When emphasizing notes, try to play the notes in the scale that correspond with the notes in the chord progression. For example, if soloing over a G Major chord in a song, emphasize the notes G, B, and D. This will make your solo blend much better and sound more polished. It is very difficult to do at first for a beginner, so don’t sweat it.