A Major Scale Guitar Lesson | How To Play

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Learn how to play a new major scale on guitar with this step-by-step A major scale guitar lesson. You’ll learn scale shapes, how the scale works, and more!

A major scale guitar lesson

A major scale notes

There are 7 notes in the a major scale, and 3 of them are sharp (#) notes.

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C#
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F#
  7. G#

A major scale formula

The formula for the A Major Scale and every other major scale is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.

A Major Scale Intervals (Half and Whole steps)

The half and whole step sequence for the A Major Scale and every other major scale is:

A Major Chord

The A Major Chord is the root chord (the 1st chord) in the A Major Scale.

Open A Major Chord
A major Open Chord

Relative minor of A major

The relative minor of A Major is F# Minor.

A major scale sharps

There are 3 sharps in the A major scale:

  1. C#
  2. F#
  3. G#

How to play the A Major Scale

You can play the A Major Scale on guitar by finding the A note and following the major scale formula, which results in the notes A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#.

By doing this you’ll end up with countless positions and shapes for the A major scale.

As for this lesson, you’ll look at the A major scales’ open position, 3 note per string shapes, and CAGED shapes.

A major scale common positions

These are the most common positions for the A major scale on guitar.

Open position A major scale

You can play this position starting with the notes on the Low E string, or you can start the shape on the A string and end it on the A string as well in order to accent the root note, A.

A major scale open position scale shape

Open Position A Major Scale PDF

4th position A major scale (E Shape)

This is called the 4th position shape because it starts at the 4th fret.

The position implies that you’ll use your fretting fingers in the corresponding positions:

  • Finger 1 – Fret 4
  • Finger 2 – Fret 5
  • Finger 3 – Fret 6
  • Finger 4 – Fret 7

Don’t be afraid to use your pinky finger! The more you use it, the easier it will become to use it in the future.

A Major Scale 4th position guitar scale shape

A major scale tabs

Download these free tab PDF’s to practice the A major scale offline!

A Major Scale Open position tab PDF

A Major Scale 4th position tab PDF

Other ways to play the A major scale

Even though you looked at the most popular shapes for playing the A major scale, there are so many other ways to play the scale!

Don’t limit yourself to the shapes that you find here and elsewhere online.

Take the notes of the scale and place them wherever you want on the fretboard.

3 notes per string

You can transpose the 3 notes per string shapes found in this lesson.

To transpose, all you have to do is change each shape’s root note to A! Then you continue with the same interval structure as depicted in the scale diagrams.

CAGED shapes

Just like the 3-note-per-string shapes, you can learn the CAGED shapes here and transpose them to use the root note A!

And the good news is that you’ll already recognize some of the shapes, because the open position and 4th position taught in this lesson are part of the CAGED system!

A major pentatonic scale

Want a simplified A major scale that’s super easy to apply? Learn the A major pentatonic scale.

This scale contains 5 of the 7 notes of the A Major scale: A-B-C#-E-F#.

Learn more about pentatonic scales here.

A Major Scale Guitar Fretboard Diagram

A Major scale guitar fretboard diagram

A Major Scale Guitar Fretboard Diagram PDF

What’s next?

Now that you’ve learned the basics of the A major scale you can move onto bigger things!

Check out some of these lessons.

Major Scale Formula Definition (Guitar)

Sweep Picking Technique: Definition and How To Sweep

G Major Guitar Scale Lesson: How to Play G Major