Pin It

Learn the best way to play the G Major Scale on fingerstyle guitar with this guide.

Here are all the positions and notes of the G Major guitar scale, which can be played over one, two or even three octaves.

In this article we'll learn the notes of the G major scale and how to play it easily for fingerstyle guitar, both ascending and descending.

What Is The G Major Scale?

The G major scale, or the G scale for short, consists of the notes G, A, B, C, D, E and F♯. It is one of the most common guitar scales in Western music, and in guitar music in general.

An ascending scale refers to a scale that is played from a lower pitch to a higher pitch. It starts from the root note and moves upward to the next octave of the same note. This is generally how we traditionally hear scales played. 

On the other hand, a descending scale is played from a higher pitch to a lower pitch. It starts from the root note at a higher octave and goes down to the same note at a lower octave. So, if we take the G major scale, the notes are in the following order: G, F♯, E, D, C, B, and A.

Here is what the G Major Scale looks like on the guitar over One Octave, played in first position.

Tablature and notes for the G Major Scale for one octave

The ascending G major scale is the sequence of notes played from lowest to highest.

However, it is perfectly possible to play the descending G major scale. This is done by playing in the other direction, from the high note to the low note.

How To Play the Two Octave G Major Scale

The most common way to play the G Major scale is entirely in the second position. You can play this scale ascending and descending,  without having to move your hand to any other position. 

Tablature for the G Major Scale over two octaves, ascending and descending

However, the problem with this fingering pattern is the uneven number of notes per string. Sometimes there are two notes per string, and other times there are three.

Because you will be playing this scale fingerstyle, you will be alternating between your index and middle fingers.  You will start out playing index, then middle, but afterwards the finger pattern becomes unpredictable.

So, sometimes you will need to use the i and m fingers, or a combination of m,i,m or i,m,i fingers.

This can cause a problem when you want to play fast fingerstyle guitar scales. The solution is to use three note per string guitar fingering, which we will see in the next section.

By the way, be sure that you are evaluating your technique regularly and make adjustments as needed. Consider taking lessons or watching instructional videos, such as the online course Play Fingerstyle Guitar Now! to improve your technique.

How To Play the Three Octave G Major Scale

To play the G major scale over three octaves, you have to cover basically the whole register of the guitar. Thus, it's necessary to make a change of position in order to reach the notes of the octave above. In this fingering, we change positions on the second string.

The best way to play the three octave G Major scale with fingerstyle guitar is also using a three note per string pattern.  Play the scale ascending and descending, with the following fingering pattern:

Tablature for the G Major Scale over three octaves with three notes per string

To play the G Major scale over three octaves on fingerstyle guitar, you can use the fingering pattern p,i,m or a,m,i.

How To Play the G Major Chordal Scale

The chordal scale involves playing chords that use every note of the G Major scale. In fingerstyle guitar, because we are able to pluck multiple strings, we can take advantage of this to play chords. To create the chords, we use the interval of a third.

In the context of the G Major Scale, using thirds means that for each note in the scale, we stack another note that is a third interval away. This interval consists of skipping one note in the scale and landing on the next.

For example, starting with the root note G, we skip the next note (A) and land on the following note (B). This interval creates the basis for the G Major chord, where G is the root, B is the third, and D is the fifth.

Here is what that looks like in the context of the G Major guitar scale.

Tablature for the G Major chordal scale

However for fingerstyle guitar, we don't be using the root position of the chord. In fingerstyle guitar, we take a unique approach to chord voicings, opting for the first inversion rather than the root position of the chord.

For instance, in the G Major chord, rather than starting with the root note G, we begin with the third interval B. This inversion shifts the tonal center and alters the overall mood of the chord, offering a fresh and intriguing sound.

Similarly, in the A minor chord, we start the chord on the note C instead of the root note A. 

Ultimately, this approach to chord voicings in fingerstyle guitar lets us simplify the chord shapes and reduce stretches. You will learn more about simplifying chords in the online course, Play Fingerstyle Guitar Now!