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The Major Scale - Pattern 5 on Scales

Learn how to play The Major Scale Pattern 5 in this free lesson

We're starting here with Pattern 5 of The Five pattern system which is based around the G Shape barre chord.

Video Guitar Lesson

Major Scale Pattern 5

This is sometimes referred to as the Aeolian pattern because the lowest note is the sixth scale degree - but you're going to start on the root note and hear it as the Major scale, aren't you? :).


* - this note should use the 4th finger when the scale is descending and the 3rd finger when it is ascending. I believe this is the best fingering and keeps you hand in the best position.


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!

Memorisation Tips

• The pair of strings on Strings 6/5 have the same fingering.

• Notice the position shift happens with the same fingering.

• Outside strings are the same

• What else do you see? What visual clues might help you remember it?

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


The most common alternative is to move the note behind the root (strings 3, played with first finger) to strings 4 and playing it with the 4th finger. I don't see this as a bad way of doing it but this way there is a consistent method to fingering the scales - in relation to the other shapes above.

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-255