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Major and Minor Scales for Lead Guitar Explained

Apr 8, 2008
Why are you learning the guitar? The most obvious answer for aspiring lead guitarists would probably be to master the various scales and to play blazing solos on stage. Well! Playing the guitar is one thing and playing a lead guitar on stage in a live gig is another thing.

The place where it all starts - as in the practice to play the lead guitar is with the minor and major scales. The major and minor scales are normally separated by just about four frets and they are known as the relative scales. They are known as the relative scales because of one reason: they have the same tones. In major scale the tone is DO - RE - MI - FA - SO - LA - TI and in minor scale it becomes LA - TI - DO - RE - MI - FA - SO.

Whether you are gearing to get into the Rock scene or into heavy metal, the major as well as minor scales will be the anchor of lead guitar. You need to master them thoroughly prior to moving forward and learning some of the other advanced scales. This is will be beneficial when you actually get down to playing lead guitar. The major scale is used more often and is the most familiar of them all. Let us take a look at the attributes and values for major scale

Scale Formula: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 Step Construction: W-W-H-W-W-W-H Distinguishing Degree: M7 Good over Chords: M , M7 , M6 Good with Progressions: I-IV-V , II-V-I , I-VI-IV-V , I-III-IV-I , I-IV-I , I-V-I

In the minor scale the attribute will be:

Scale Formula: 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 Step Construction: W-H-W-W-H-W-W Distinguishing Degree: m6 Good over Chords: m, m7 , m6 Good with Progressions: Im-bVII-bVI , Im-IVm , Im-Vm , Im-bIII-bVII

The major scale is also quite similar to the Ionian mode and is made up of 7 notes like any other diatonic scales. The Ionian scale is the one that is the first of the 7 notes. So if your note was C, D, E, F, G, A and B then your Ionian note will be C-major. The other important scale in the Major scales is the major pentatonic and it is one of the most popular one too because without it lead guitar playing is incomplete. The different pentatonic major scales include A, A#, Ab, B, Bb, G, G#, Gb, F, F#, E, Eb, D, D#, Db, C, and C#.Let us take a look at a comparison chart that has C Major, C-Chromatic and Pentatonic scales:

Chromatic C C# D D# E F F# G G# A Bb B Major C D E F G A B Major Pentatonic C D E G A
About the Author
E Walker is contributes regular to guitar publications worldwide. He is the founder of Planet of Rock. See how Guitar Backing Tracks makes guitar practice more enjoyable! Jam to over 1000 professional tracks including 100s of Blues Guitar Backing Tracks
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