A Major Scale For Guitar TAB, Notation, Scale Patterns And Fretboard Patterns

A major scale for guitar in TAB, notation, and scale patterns / fretboard diagrams. A complete guide for electric, acoustic and classical guitar.

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Relevant Pages Elsewhere On Guitar Command

A Major Scale Guitar: Introduction

Most notes on the guitar can be played in at least two places on the fretboard. For example, the A produced by playing the open A string can also be played at the 5th fret of the D string.

For this reason there is often more than one way of playing a particular scale on the guitar, and the A major scale is no exception.

On this page you'll find notation and TAB for playing one, two and three-octave A major scales using a variety of fingerings.

Beginners should start with the 1 octave open position A major scale before progressing to the other scales on the page.

You’ll also find a major scale pattern that can be used not only to play a A major scale, but also every other major scale, simply by moving the fretting hand to different fretboard positions.

Scale Playing Tips

When playing guitar scales, aim for an even tone and tempo. It is highly beneficial to practice scales with a metronome. Start slowly and only increase the tempo when you can play the scale smoothly, clearly and evenly.

1 and 2 Octave Open Position A Major Scales

1 octave A major scale guitar TAB showing the scale being played in open position. (Recommended left hand fingering has been provided.)

A Major Scale For Guitar TAB 1 Octave Open Position

You can extend the scale above to cover 2 octaves, as shown in the TAB / notation below:

A Major Scale TAB 2 Octave Open Position

2 Octave A Major Scale TAB

An alternative way of playing a 2 octave A major guitar scale is shown below. Note that although the notes of the scale are exactly the same as those above, several are being played at different frets.

A Major TAB 2 Octave 2nd Position

The Roman numerals above the notation show the fretboard position at which the notes should be played; 'II' means position your fretting hand so that the index finger is ready to play at the 2nd fret, 'I' means position your fretting hand so that the index finger is ready to play at the 1st fret.

Alternative 2 Octave A Major Scale TAB

Below is guitar TAB for playing a 2 octave A Major further up the neck, in 4th position.

A Major Scale Guitar TAB Pattern 1

3 Octave A Major Scale TAB

Playing a 3-octave A major scale requires a number of fretboard position changes. It is possible to play this scale on acoustic and classical guitars, but you'll have to stretch to reach the high notes!

A Major Scale Guitar TAB 3 Octave

A Major Scale For Guitar Scale Pattern

Below is a pattern for playing a A major scale starting at the 5th fret of the low E string.

A Major Guitar Scale Pattern

In the pattern above, the tonic notes of the scale are represented by green circles. The other notes of the scale are represented by black circles.

(The tonic notes of a scale are the ‘name’ notes of the scale, i.e. the ‘C’s in a C major scale, the ‘D’s in a D major scale, etc.)

Play a one-octave scale by starting from the lowest green note and stopping at the next green note. Play a two-octave scale by continuing to the highest green note, as shown in the TAB below.

2 Octave A Major Scale Using Pattern

A Major Scale Guitar TAB Pattern 1

(Note that this is the same as the TAB for the 2 octave scale shown further up the page.)

The beauty of movable scale shapes is that once you've learned one shape, you can move it to different fretboard positions in order to play other scales.

For example, by moving the above pattern 2 frets down (i.e. starting at the 3rd fret of the bottom E string instead of the 5th fret), and keeping all the fingers in the same position relative to the new starting note, you’d be playing a G major scale.

Likewise, by playing the pattern 2 frets higher (i.e. starting at the 7th fret), you’d be playing a B major scale.

By learning just one pattern, you can quite literally play every major scale! However, most guitarists learn more than one shape for each scale so that they are not restricted to playing the scale at a particular position on the fretboard.

Notes In The A Major Scale

An A major scale, like all major scales, is heptatonic, which means that it contains seven notes before repeating again at the octave.

The notes in an A major scale are: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A (Octave)

The A major scale contains three sharpened notes: F sharp, C sharp and G sharp.

A Major Scale For Guitar: Conclusion

We hope that you've found everything you need on this page in order to be able to play a 1, 2 and 3-octave A major scale on your guitar.

If you have any questions on playing this scale then feel free to ask them in the comments section below; we’d be happy to help. We also welcome any comments or suggestions on how we can make this page even more helpful!

Check out the links below for more guitar information...

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