6 note shapes – major scale

There are only 3 ways that notes occur on a string as already identified here.  When you examine all the possibilities on the guitar fretboard you find there are fixed patterns that these shapes move from one to the other.

When you move from 3 notes on one string and try to find the 3 notes that happen on the next string, to continue the scale without having to move along the neck, you find there are very limited options.  And that’s good because it makes it easier to remember!

Here are all the six note, 2 strings option that occur in the key of C major.  The notes are all C, D, E, F, G, A or B.  But you can find those all over the neck – this is a way to organise them all into shapes that are easy to remember.  For more information on this see this page.

The names of the Greek modes are included to help anyone who is coming to this from that way of thinking about things.

Notice that shapes 1 and 5 are the same, that shapes 1, 5, 6 and 7 are all pairs – the strings both have the same pattern.


Now here is the same diagram, but this time showing all the fingering to use.  It cannot be over emphasised how important it is to stick to this fingering when learning.  What we want to build is the ability to play these automatically, without thought, as a reflex.  If you vary the fingering, this will not happen.  If you vary the fingering you multiply the length of time it takes to learn to play these shapes automatically.

So here’s all the fingering: