All Levels


iOS Apps by justinguitar

The JustinGuitar Store


Buying things through the links below cost you no more but contribute a little to the site! Thanks, J.


Justinguitar - Free Guitar Lessons

The Major Scale - Pattern 4 on Scales

Learn how to play The Major Scale Pattern 4 in this free lesson

We're starting here with Pattern 4 of The Five pattern system, based around the A Shape barre chord it can be a little tricky to visualize but it's not hard to play!

Video Guitar Lesson

Major Scale Pattern 4

Don't forget to start on the root note, not the lowest note... and take it real slow when learning new scales, particularly this one because of the way it moves position.

Make sure you have your concentration hat on!


As well as the TAB above I made a Guitar Pro Major Scale Pattern Practice file for you. You'll need to buy Guitar Pro to use it (get a 20% discount through my site here!) and then you want to use the cycle / loop funtions to practice one pattern at a time and adjust the tempo to suit your technique level, you could also print it!

Memorization Tips

• There is only 1 pair of string with the same fingering, Strings 4/5 - so this one takes a little more thinking.

• Can you see the way it climbs?

• The shift of position happens with the same fingering.

I find using visual tricks like these might help you remember it. You'll also find working on visualization might help - practice your scales away from the instrument!


The most common alternative is to move the last note on the second string (played with 4th finger) to the first string (then played with 1st finger). I prefer this position because it is very common to add that note (it is the 4th degree of the scale) to make a suspended sound and this is the place where you would add it.

Other alternative is to add a high B note to the top of the scale, but then it becomes a 3NPS (Notes Per String) scale which is another system that we are not doing here...

17 Note Patterns

All these Patterns have 17 notes (3 notes on each string, except for one string which will have only 2 notes). This gives you the perfect number for practicing scales with a metronome because if done correctly with 4 notes between each metronome click (16th notes, semi quavers) you will always arrive back on the root note on the beat :)

Tips for learning scales quickly, easily and perfectly

Don't make any mistakes. Play it 10 times perfectly at a very slow speed and you will find you can speed it up without making mistakes and developing bad habits you will have to correct later.

Do not let your fingers "fold", use the tips the whole time, and definitely NO barres at any point. Ever.

However, you do want to allow Finger 1 to rest lightly on all the strings to mute all the strings under it and the tip of Finger 1 should touch the string above (the thicker string) as taught in the String Muting Lesson, part of the Intermediate Course.

This will help train your ears into hearing the sound of the scale, very important. So start on the lowest (in pitch) root note, play up as far as you can, then go back down as low as you can, and then back up to the root note.

It is very important that you learn all five of these patterns... eventually, but please learn to make music with them. Much much better to be able to use one scale shape and play a solo than play five up and down and not be able to do make music with any them :)

And if you are really serious...

DVD: Master The Major Scale
In this DVD I guide you through a whole system to help you make music from the Major Scales - all five positions, all over the guitar neck! This course will help you structure your learning of The Major Scale and give you many tools to make music with it. In this practical and fun journey we'll be exploring various fingering options, sequence studies, linking patterns and practice routines for each lesson.

Available in The Justinguitar Store.


Lesson ID: SC-254