Aside from the chord chards, the other important learning tool is the scale chart. Scale charts are similar to chord charts but show more than one note per string. They may look a little clustered at first but they are a great way to learn scales. They look similar to chord charts as well, but they have a few differences. Often, scales are played in one or two octaves.
The easiest scale to play is the chromatic scale, since it has all the possible notes of the guitar in it. There are only 12 different notes on a guitar... sorry to disappoint you! So, a chromatic scale has12 notes.
Scales are a series of notes that when played produce a desired "feeling" in the music. major scales are more happy and minor scales are less upbeat, or sad feeling. For simplicity, we will stick to just major or minor scales in the first few lessons. Both a major and a minor scale have 8 notes. Each note may also be called a "scale degree." Once you play from the first note to the eighth, you have played on octave. After the eighth note of the scale, the scale pattern starts to repeat itself. This is a lot of information to take in at first. Let's take a look at this on a scale chart.
This is a scale chart for Amaj. If you read the chord charts lesson, this should look familiar. The black grid is the same as before. The vertical lines are for the strings, E, A, D, G, B, E, respectively, and the horizontal lines represent the frets. Instead of having one black circle on each string, we have 2 or 3. This is because we are playing a scale and not a chord. At the top, there will be the name of the scale, in this case, Amaj. On the left of the chart there is the number 5, meaning that the first note will be on the 5th fret. The number five can also be used as a reference point showing where the fifth fret is across the chart.
In a scale the first note is used to name the scale. Since the first not in this scale is an A, it is called the Amaj scale. The first note can also be called the “root” note. The root notes are a good landmark that show when and where the scale pattern repeats. In the chart here, it is shown by a white “R” in the black circle. In many scale charts, the root is shown, sometimes even the 5th and 7th scale degrees are shown as well. This will be the typical GLI scale chart. Let's take a look at another chart and discuss how to play it.
This is Cmaj, the easiest scale to play, some say, because it doesn’t have any accidentals. Accidentals are sharps and flats, where you move the tone of the note up or down a half step. You won't need to worry about accidentals in this particular lesson. This chart is a little different from the previous chart. The major scale pattern is the same, but the notes you play are different. Since the pattern is different we can move the major scale pattern around, and it will still be a major scale, just with a different name and root note. If we were to take away the fret number and name of the scale, we would be left with the major scale pattern. So you can probably already see why it is important to memorize the major scale patterns. After you know how to read chord and scale charts you can now learn chords and scales!