Open Scale

In this lesson, Charlie will cover a beginner's tutorial around the Open Scale.
The diagram below shows the position of the fingers on the strings to play the notes of this scale.

Play Video

Difficulty Rating

Try the Tab

 

In case you missed it ...

Let's take a look at what we call the open scale. These are the notes down on the first three frets of the guitar and we are also using the open strings. So for those of you that aren't aware of the name of the strings on the guitar, let's take a quick look at them.

So, starting off with my low string here, my E string ... followed by A string ... open D ... open G ... open B ... and finally, open E again ...The high E is two octaves above the low E.

E ... A ... D ... G ... B ... E

Or, going the other way,

E ... B ... G ... D ... A ... E

Ok, so starting off with our low E string, we then put our first finger on the first fret and we will play that note ... and, alphabetically, after E we have F ... We're going to leave the second note out on the second fret, that being an F# We're only actually playing notes of the C scale. So, we're playing open E ... F ... third finger, third fret ... playing a G.

It's important that I use the corresponding finger with the fret. ... open ... one ... three, rather than using, say, ... open ... one ... and then my second finger. Means that I have to do a little bit of a shift with my hand. I want to keep my hand still and just basically use the correct fingers ... open ... one ... three, E, F and G.

Now going onto my A string ... open A, second finger second fret for B ... third finger third fret for C. E, F, G, A, B, C

Now my D string ... open, second finger second fret for E ... third finger third fret for F. D, E, F ...

Dropping down to my G string ... open G, second finger second fret ... A.

It just so happens that my next note being an open string is B, so they are the only two I play on that G string: G ... and A ...

Open B ... first finger, first fret for C ... third finger third fret for D ...

Open E, my top string ... F ... and G ...

Now, even though I'm basically playing a C scale, I'm starting on my low E ... and I'm finishing on my top G ...

So, I'll just play through the scale slowly for you.

Open E ... F ... G ...
A B C
D E F
G A
Open B C D
E F G

Or, if you want to be a little clever:
G F E
D C B
A G
F E D
C B A
G F E

All I'm using to pick these notes is my thumb nail. You can use a plectrum. Not a bad idea if you are using a plectrum to practice using alternate picking, which is down-up, down-up, so one note down, second one up, third one down, that's another way to work on it, but for now. I'm just really going to play down stroke using my thumb nail...

Now, a good thing to do is just to pick out a note in the scale and see if you can figure out what the note is. For example, if I put my third finger here on the third fret of the B string ... I know I've got two notes on that particular string. I've got a note on my first fret and a note on the third fret which is the one I'm playing. If I want to work out what this note is on the third fret, I know my string is B, and I just follow my alphabet: C, D. B, C, D ...

One more for you, third fret of the D string. Again, I know I've got two notes on that string; a note on the second fret, and one on the third fret that I'm looking for. Play my open D string ... the two notes are alphabetically E and F. So, therefore, ... I need an F note, there it is ...

Ok, practicing scales is probably not the most exciting thing you can do on the guitar but very, very helpful in getting to know the names of the notes on our fret board. We will travel further up the neck, but it's probably a very good idea for you to make a start in what we call the open position, which is the scale that we just played.

So, have fun practicing it or as much fun as you can possibly have and I'll catch you next time.

 

Copyright © C. Pennell & J. Marco (cpguitar.com)