The 5 Major Scale Positions

This article serves as a reference for navigating major scales all over the guitar fretboard. (Recommended prerequisite knowledge: The CAGED System, Scale Degrees vs. Intervals.)

Scale Definition

The major scale uses scale degrees 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. All the fretboard diagrams below show the C major scale, so the notes built on that root are C D E F G A B.

The 5 Positions

As outlined in my article on the CAGED System, I refer to the five positions by where the roots are. When the roots fall on strings 1, 4, and 6, I call it the “1-4-6 position.” When the roots fall on strings 2 and 5, I call it the “2-5 position,” and so on. This is not universal, but it’s the clearest scheme I’ve encountered.

C Major Scale, 1-4-6 Position

C Major Scale 1-4-6

C Major Scale, 2-4 Position

C Major Scale 2-4

C Major Scale, 2-5 Position

C Major Scale 2-5

C Major Scale, 3-5 Position

C Major Scale 3-5

C Major Scale, 1-3-6 Position

C Major Scale 1-3-6

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