Table of Contents
The C Major scale is an absolutely essential guitar scale, and the most common musical scale as a whole!
This scale opens up a whole slew of popular chord progressions, licks, and will ultimately help you understand the song structure of a wide variety of popular tunes.
C Major Scale Guitar Lesson
C Major Scale Notes
There are 7 notes in the C Major scale, and all of them are natural notes!
There are 7 notes in every major scale, and these are the 7 in C Major.
C Major has no sharps or flats. This makes the scale’s notes easy to memorize.
Remember it as the first 7 letters of the alphabet, but start from C.
C Major Scale Formula
The formula for the C Major Scale and every other major scale is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.
C Major Scale Intervals (Half and Whole steps)
The half and whole step sequence for the C Major Scale and every other major scale is:
C Major Chord
The C Major Chord is the root chord (the 1st chord) in the C Major Scale.
Relative Minor of C Major
The relative minor of C Major is A Minor.
How to play the C Major Scale
You can play the C Major Scale on guitar by finding the C note and following the major scale formula, which results in the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B.
Doing this can result in dozens of different shapes and positions.
Some of the most common major scale guitar shapes are the CAGED shapes and 3-Notes-Per-String shapes.
You can see these shapes and positions below.
C Major Scale CAGED Shapes and Diagrams
These positions for C major are all derived from the CAGED system.
This system uses the 5 most common guitar chords, and builds the scale shape around them.
Open Position (C Shape)
This scale chart shows the notes in the open position of C major.
This is position 1 of C major.
For the rest of the shapes in this lesson, each note in the C Major scale will be shown using a number, which indicates the degree of that note in the scale.
Each of these scale positions will also outline the open shape that it represents. This is shown with the lines drawn in blue.
Position 1 (C Shape)
This shape is the same as the open position but moved one octave higher.
Position 2 (A shape)
Position 3 (G shape)
Position 4 (E shape)
Position 5 (D shape)
C Major Scale Guitar 3 Notes Per String
3 notes per string shape 1
3 notes per string shape 2
3 notes per string shape 3
3 notes per string shape 4
3 notes per string shape 5
3 notes per string shape 6
3 notes per string shape 7
C Major Scale Guitar Fretboard Diagram
C Major Scale Guitar Fretboard Diagram PDF
C Major Scale Guitar Chords
The 7 chords in the C Major Scale are:
C Maj- D Min- E Min- F Maj- G Maj- A Min- B Dim
These chords are shown below.
This is a barre chord.
B diminished contains the notes B, D, and F.
The open positions for this chord aren’t great, but there are plenty of easy ways to play this chord.
Learn more about diminished and augmented chords here.