Constructing Major Scales

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Constructing major guitar scales and guitar chords in the major key

All major guitar scales are built the same way with the following steps. Whole, whole, half, whole, whole whole half steps. A whole step consists of 2 frets on the guitar and a half step consists of 1 fret.

Major guitar scale contruction

Notice that there are 3 major chords, 3 minor chords and 1 diminished. If you were to play in the key of D Major as illustrated above, it would now be D Ionian. If you were playing in the key of C major, it would be C Ionian.

All major keys are constructed the same way as illustrated and once constructed, there will always be 3 major, 3 minor and 1 diminished chord for that major key.

Major scales and scale construction

If you're not familiar with reading music, here's a real basic idea of what's going on. Notes can continue above and below each of the lines. The key of C does this and has been illustrated below.

Reading music

Major scale and chords

Look at the illustrations above illustrating the key of C major. A good way to look at music is how it is so mathematical and how it all repeats. 

I explain the key of C major for a very important reason. Once you understand the construction of C major, building other major keys and their scales are similar. Once you learn the modes in the key of C major, they repeat the same fingering patterns in other keys. One more thing, the key of C has no sharps or flats to work around. Also called accidentals.

There are tons of other scales to learn, the harmonic minor, melodic, diminished and so on. But you can construct other scales using the illustration above.

The illustration below, will begin to explain how the chords are formed for any given key.

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