This is going to be our first scale and the C major scale is a great place to start. C major has no sharps and no flats and by learning the C scale in first position we can get a really good knowledge of the notes to be found in first position. This scale is going to be one octave going from C on the fifth string, third fret, to the C on the second string, first fret.
If you would like to use the free daily scale book to accompany this lesson, please feel free to Download Your Daily Scales Now
What is an Octave? The difference between the low C on the fifth string and the high C on the second string is that the vibrations are twice as fast, meaning that the note will be the same, but it will sound one octave higher.
What is the first position? The positions are simply a way of giving landmarks around the guitar, and it communicates the general region that the fingers are playing. In general a position is based on where the first finger lies on the fretboard. If the first finger plays on the second fret, then we are playing in second positon, if it is on the fifth, then we are in fifth position. When the first finger is in the fifth position then the second finger will have access to the sixth fret, the third finger to the seventh fret, and the fourth finger will have access to the eighth fret. It is particularly good for beginner guitar because we might only be playing single notes. Positions are constantly being moved around and the more complex the music becomes, the less useful positions will become. You will find that your hand is going to be moving around the fingerboard quite a bit, and that often there will be multiple fingers on the same fret.
We will be playing the C major scale in first position, so that means that the first note, on the third fret will be played by the third finger. As we go through the scale you will be using the corresponding finger with the corresponding fret. Second finger on the second fret, for example. Here is the scale: As you go through the scale say the note names out loud, this will begin your memorization of note names. Also, focus on making a clear sound on each string. For more tips on making a clear sound refer to the fundamentals lesson on making a good sound. Things to keep in mind:
- Play slowly
- Say the note name of each note as you play
- Alternate your right hand fingers for each note
- Make each note loud, and clear
- Play each note with the same sound. To do this use the same part of your finger/nail each time to play the string
- Pay attention to the fingers you are not using in the left hand, keep them relaxed and curved
Ascending and Descending Playing the scale upwards (from low to high) will have different movements from coming back down, so it is important to play the scale both ways. Be very conscious of string crossing as you work through the scale.
Here is a free scale book to help you practice: