The G major scale is an excellent starting point for guitar beginners for two essential reasons. Firstly, it is present in many popular songs, so learning this scale will help you to explore more of your musical journey, whether you want to play those songs or create your own music. Secondly, major scales are the perfect place to begin your music theory education as they tend to have fewer complicated notes and sound “right” to the untrained ear. This lesson covers the G major scale, including the notes it contains and finger placements required to play this scale in five positions on your guitar. Finally, we will also look at the chords that correspond to this essential scale.
NOTES ON THE G MAJOR SCALE
There are seven notes in the G major scale:
The E minor scale is composed of the same notes as the G major scale but with a different starting point. If you’ve learned the E minor scale, you may have noticed this similarity, and that’s why E minor is referred to as the relative minor of G major. In this lesson, we will explore the various positions and finger placements required to play the G major scale on the guitar.
G MAJOR SCALE POSITIONS
Using guitar scale diagrams is a straightforward way to learn the G major scale. These diagrams illustrate the fretboard of your guitar, and the circled numbers indicate which finger you should use to play each note. Each finger is numbered accordingly:
- Index finger
- Middle finger
- Ring finger
- Pinkie finger
To achieve proper finger placement, it is crucial to follow these diagrams precisely. The white dots in the diagrams indicate open strings.
To play the G major scale correctly in open position, you should use your index finger to play notes on the first fret, your middle finger for notes on the second fret, your ring finger for notes on the third fret, and your pinkie for notes on the fourth fret.
To play the G major scale in second position, you should move each finger up one fret from the open position. You will use your index finger to play notes on the second fret, your middle finger for notes on the third fret, and so on.
To play the G major scale in fifth position, you should start with your index finger on the fourth fret, your middle finger on the fifth fret, your ring finger on the sixth fret, and your pinkie on the seventh fret. However, this scale requires you to shift your hand position to reach the notes on the B and high e strings. To play these strings, use your index finger on the fifth fret, your middle finger on the sixth fret, your ring finger on the seventh fret, and your pinkie on the eighth fret.
To play the G major scale in ninth position, use your index finger on the ninth fret, your middle finger on the 10th fret, your ring finger on the 11th fret, and your pinkie on the 12th and 13th frets. However, to reach the notes on the 13th fret, you may need to move your hand up slightly and then move it back to the starting position.
To play the G major scale in 12th position, you need to shift your hand a little bit so that you can use your index finger to play notes on both the 11th and 12th frets. Your other fingers will be used for one fret each, with your middle finger on the 13th fret, your ring finger on the 14th fret, and your pinkie on the 15th fret. Although it might be uncomfortable at first, practicing these movements is an excellent way to build dexterity for more complex pieces of music in the future.
G MAJOR SCALE CHORDS
The G major scale is commonly used in rock and pop music due to its compatibility with many chords. Seven chords closely correspond to this scale. Let’s examine each chord individually and gain insight into the music theory behind chord formation.
- G major: Chords can be comprehended by examining the intervals between the notes as they appear in a scale. For instance, a third can be found by counting up three notes from the root note of a scale. G major employs the root of its scale, G, the major third, B, and the perfect fifth, D, like all major chords.
- A minor: To proceed, play the A minor chord, which is composed of the root note, A, the minor third, C, and the perfect fifth E.
- B minor: The B minor chord is commonly played as a barre chord, so it may be beneficial to review your barre chord technique. It is created using the root B, the minor third D, and the perfect fifth F#.
- C major: The C major chord is constructed using the root note C, the major third E, and the perfect fifth G.
- D major: The D major chord contains the notes D, F#, and A
- E minor: The E minor chord is composed of the root note E, the minor third G, and the perfect fifth B.
- F# Diminished: The F# diminished (F# dim) chord is distinct from the previously played chords because it lacks its root note, F#. Instead, this chord is made up of two notes: the minor third and the diminished fifth, which are A and C.
After learning all seven chords of the G major scale, it is recommended to practice strumming them and transitioning between them. It is advisable to start slow and strum each chord four times before moving on to the next one. This approach will assist with memorizing each chord and honing the ability to change chords rapidly.
G MAJOR SCALE EXERCISES
Repetition is a useful technique to memorize your scales. It is recommended to begin slowly and ensure that each note is cleanly fretted and the correct finger placement is used. As finger strength increases, the scales can be played at a faster pace. Using a metronome while practicing scales can help maintain rhythm.
Playing each G major scale position in succession, starting from the open position and working up to the 12th, can also be helpful. During practice, listen to the pitch differences when playing the same notes on various fretboard positions.
Scale practice is an excellent opportunity to improve picking hand technique. Alternate picking technique can be practiced during scale practice. For those who are comfortable with alternate picking, playing scales to a syncopated rhythm can be attempted. It is recommended to make scale practice a regular part of guitar practice routine to train fingers and ears effectively.
If you’re interested in learning additional scales, you can visit Guitar Tunio to explore various chord types and receive tips on how to master them.