How to Play the G Major Guitar Scale (2024)

Lesson: Playing the G Major Scale on Guitar

The G major scale is a great scale for beginners to explore on the guitar for two important reasons. First, the G major scale is present in some of the most popular songs, so understanding this scale will help you dive deeper into your musical journey, whether you want to learn to play those songs or write music of your own.

Secondly, major scales are the perfect place to begin your music theory education. These scales tend to have fewer tricky notes. Even without extensive musical knowledge, they sound “right” to the untrained ear.

In this lesson, we’ll cover the G major scale. You’ll learn about the notes it contains, as well as finger placements you’ll need to know to play this scale in five positions on your guitar. Finally, we’ll also take a look at the chords that correspond to this important scale.

G Major Scale Notes

There are seven notes in the G major scale:

  • G

  • A

  • B

  • C

  • D

  • E

  • F#

If you’ve studied the E minor scale, you might notice that it’s made up of the same notes as the G major scale but with a different starting point. Because of this similarity, E minor is known as the relative minor of G major.

Now, let’s take a look at the different positions and finger placements you’ll need to learn in order to play the G major scale on the guitar.

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G Major Scale Positions

One simple way to learn the G major scale is by using guitar scale diagrams. These diagrams represent the fretboard of your guitar. The circled numbers represent which finger you should use to fret each note. Each finger is numbered accordingly:

  1. Index finger

  2. Middle finger

  3. Ring finger

  4. Pinkie finger

Follow these diagrams exactly to learn proper finger placement. White dots in the diagrams represent open strings.

Open Position

To play the G major scale in open position properly, use your index finger to play notes on the first fret, your middle finger for notes on the second, your ring finger for notes on the third, and your pinkie for notes on the fourth.

How to Play the G Major Guitar Scale (1)

2nd Position

To play the G major scale in second position, move each finger up one fret from open position. You’ll use your index finger to play notes on the second fret, your middle finger for notes on the third fret, and so on.

How to Play the G Major Guitar Scale (2)

5th Position

To play the G major scale in fifth position, 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.

This scale does require you to shift your hand position to reach the notes on the B and high e strings. When you’re playing these strings, use your index finger on the fifth fret, your middle on the sixth, your ring finger on the seventh, and your pinkie on the eighth.

How to Play the G Major Guitar Scale (3)

9th Position

When you play the G major scale in ninth position, use your index finger on the ninth fret, your middle finger on the 10th, your ring finger on the 11th, and your pinkie on the 12th and the 13th. To reach the notes on the 13th fret, you may need to move your hand up slightly, then move it back to the starting position.

How to Play the G Major Guitar Scale (4)

12th Position

Finally, to play the G major scale in 12th position, you’ll need to shift your hand a little bit so you can use your index finger to play notes on both the 11th and 12th frets. You’ll use your other fingers for one fret each, with your middle finger on the 13th fret, your ring finger on the 14th, and your pinkie on the 15th.

Although shifting your hand position in this way might be uncomfortable at first, it’s a great way to practice these movements and build dexterity for when you’re ready to learn more complicated pieces of music in the future.

How to Play the G Major Guitar Scale (5)

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G Major Scale Chords

Many chords work well with the G major scale, which explains why this scale is so common in rock and pop music. There are seven chords that correspond most closely to the G major scale. Let’s take a look at each chord individually, and learn a little bit about the music theory behind how chords are formed.

G Major

You can understand chords by looking at the intervals between the notes as they appear in a scale. You can find a third, for example, by counting up three notes from the root note of a scale. Like all major chords, G major uses the root of its scale, G, the major third, B, and the perfect fifth, D. Learn how to play the G major chord here.

A Minor

Next, you’ll want to play the A minor chord. This chord consists of the root note, A, the minor third, C, and the perfect fifth E. Learn how to play the A minor chord here.

B Minor

The B minor chord is usually played as a barre chord, so you might want to brush up on your barre chord technique. It’s formed using the root B, the minor third D, and the perfect fifth F#. Learn how to play the B minor chord here.

C Major

The C major chord uses the root note C, the major third E, and the perfect fifth G. Learn how to play the C major chord here.

D Major

The D major chord contains the notes D, F#, and A. Learn how to play the D major chord here.

E Minor

The E minor chord is made up of the root note E, the minor third G, and the perfect fifth B. Learn how to play the E minor chord here.

F# Diminished (F# dim)

The F# diminished (F# dim) chord is a bit different from the other chords we’ve played so far because it doesn’t actually contain its root note, F#. Instead, this chord consists of two notes: the minor third and the diminished fifth: A and C. Here are a few ways to play the F# dim chord:

Once you’re able to play all seven chords of the G major scale, practice strumming them and switching between them. Go slowly at first, and strum each chord four times before switching to the next one. This will help you memorize each chord and master the skills you need to change chords quickly.

G Major Scale Exercises

One of the best ways to memorize your scales is to play them over and over. Start slowly, and make sure that you’re cleanly fretting each note and using the correct finger placement. As you build more strength in your fingers, you can begin to play the scales a little faster. Using a metronome as you practice your scales can help you to keep time while you play.

You might also like to play each G major scale position in a row, starting in open position and working up to 12th. As you play, listen to the differences in pitch as you play the same notes on different spots on the fretboard.

Scale practice also makes for a perfect time to practice technique with your picking hand. Use your scale practice to work on your alternate picking technique. Or, if you’re already comfortable with alternate picking, try playing your scales to a syncopated rhythm. Make practicing your scales a regular part of your guitar practice routine, and your time will be well-spent training your fingers and your ears.

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How to Play the G Major Guitar Scale (2024)

FAQs

How to play G Major scale on guitar? ›

To play the G major scale in open position properly, use your index finger to play notes on the first fret, your middle finger for notes on the second, your ring finger for notes on the third, and your pinkie for notes on the fourth.

What is the answer to the G major scale? ›

A musical scale is a sequence of notes within an octave. A scale can be major or minor, depending on the pattern of whole steps and half steps. The pattern of whole steps and half steps for the G major scale is W-W-H-W-W-W-H. The notes of the G major scale are G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G.

What are the notes for G Major scale? ›

What are the notes of the G Major scale? The G major scale is starts on G and has one sharped note, F sharp. The notes of the G major scale are G, A, B, C, D, E, and F sharp.

How do you cheat the G chord on A guitar? ›

For this simplified version of the G chord, you just need Finger 2 on the thickest string on Fret 3 - and let it lay slightly flat, so it mutes String 5. Finger 3 goes down on Fret 3 on the thinnest string. You've got two fingers down and one muted string.

How to play the G on the guitar? ›

To play the G chord in the first position, begin by placing your index finger on the second fret of the A string. Next press your middle finger on the third fret of the low E string. Last, use your ring finger to push down the high E string at the third fret. Play all six strings to hear the full power of the G chord.

Why is G Major so popular? ›

Possibly due to its clean, dynamic sound, G Major is extremely versatile. It's used in 44% of tracks analyzed in Hook Theory, and can be the root key for all kinds of tracks. From soppy ballads to tearout Drum 'n Bass, Trap and all styles of Dance Music, G Minor has something to offer most songwriters.

What is the pattern of the G Major scale? ›

We start with the first pattern on the scale. The root note is on the third fret of the sixth string (E). So the scale starts on the root note, which is G. Play through the pattern one major scale by starting with your second finger on the G, and then your fourth finger on the A (sixth string, fifth fret).

What is the natural scale of G Major? ›

G major (or the key of G) is a major scale based on G, with the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F♯. Its key signature has one sharp. Its relative minor is E minor and its parallel minor is G minor.

What are the finger numbers for the G scale? ›

The fingering for the G major scale in the left hand is also quite easy. Keep in mind that the notes are exactly the same as those in the right hand. Here are the three steps: Begin with your fifth finger on G and play the piano keys G, A, B, C and D with the fingers 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1.

What is the finger position of the G major scale? ›

The most common way to play the G Major Chord is in the open position, like this: Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A (5th) string. Middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E (6th) string. Ring finger on the 3rd fret of the E (1st) string.

What is the scale of the G major chord? ›

The G Major key uses the scale degree chords of the G major scale, which are G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, and F#mb5.

How do you open G major scale? ›

To tune your guitar to open G tuning you need to retune the open strings to match the notes that exist within a G Major chord. The 3 notes that you'll find in a G Major are G, B and D. To achieve this, tune the Low E down to a D and the A down to a G.

What is the note progression for G major? ›

The chord progression goes G7 – Em7 – Bm – C – F#°7 – C – D7.

How will you play the G Major chord? ›

The most common way to play the G Major Chord is in the open position, like this:
  • Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A (5th) string.
  • Middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E (6th) string.
  • Ring finger on the 3rd fret of the E (1st) string.

How to tune guitar to G Major? ›

In open G tuning, your low E string is tuned down a full step to a low D. Your next highest string, A, will drop down a full step to G. Your D, G, and B strings will stay the same, while your high E string is lowered a full pitch to D.

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