Visualizing Major Scales Quickly And Easily Pt.2

This lesson continues our study of visualizing every major scale in every key all over the fingerboard using 3 notes per string scale forms.

Here is when we really start to dive into what this method is all about. It does take a thorough knowledge of your keys to do this method, but after that I think you will see that the whole fretboard will just open up for you.

This method is also EXTREMELY easy to use with modes, which I will be talking about in the future as well.

Please take your time and let this stuff just sink in. It isn't supposed to be incredibly fast in the beginning, but I think you will find that you will get there a lot quicker than you think. Just do in consistently.

Please leave me any questions or comments that you might have.

If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Visualizing Major Scales Quickly And Easily Pt.2


  1. Patrick on March 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Oh my god thank you! I had this very same exact idea, but I was not able to express it clearly to any one else, but now that I have heard this out loud, I think I will never have trouble explaining it again! Amazing job man, I love all your videos! They are great! I really appreciate you putting them up. I have invited all my friends to your site and I have given it a thumbs up on stumbleupon!

  2. Carl Brown on March 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you so much Patrick for taking the time to show your support for my lessons. I think its great you are willing to spread the word about this site. I hope to see a lot of your friends around here soon!!

    Thanks again for following along!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Mike on December 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    thanks, Carl… I was going 2 try doing this when i finished the 3-note per string major lesson, and i think your lessons have given me even more knowlege on scales. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Andy on January 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Very useful dude!

  5. Steve Luko on January 16, 2011 at 12:49 am

    HOLY MOLY!!!…A new door has just opened up for me…I’v been shredding for almost 9 years and now its going to a new level!!

  6. zack on February 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    this is awesome i have a few books and a scale book or two and they all give me 5 positions that start from the root i was having such a hard time visualizing the neck this lesson has showed me in a matter of minutes what was going to take me many many hours to learn thank you so much when i get ahead on some cash i will donate to this site

  7. Brian on February 20, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Your lessons are great. I will make sure I donate…I only have one question and I think I’m just confusing myself…If you are, say playing in the key of F like you were saying from the A region, is F considered your Root( the note you should stop & start on) or is it the A? Since it’s the 3rd note of the scale you are deriving it from? Thanks…like I said I think I know but I’m just thinking to much…lol. Brian. Dallas TX

  8. sherise on March 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    great site!!!! extremely helpful in filling in blanks for me

  9. Yike Lu on March 28, 2011 at 3:03 am

    What I find extremely valuable from this lesson is the organizing principle for memorizing all the notes.

    I have been playing for quite a while, have been a shredder, and know my theory quite well. But when it came time to actually memorize the notes and “know the fretboard cold”, I had trouble figuring out how to do it systematically without boring myself. I was stuck in “I can shred in A minor, and I know how to figure out the other keys, but I just never do.”

    Bravo for putting together a nice system for that. I actually think it would be quite valuable to have a lesson that goes over the progression to really learn the fretboard with chords included.

  10. Mike Brumley on June 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I have been playing the guitar for over forty years and have enjoyed the experience tremendously. Your online lessons and videos are proof positive to me that you can teach an ole’ dog new tricks. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and talent. Will be supporting Guitar 365.
    Thanks again,

    • Carl Brown on June 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks a bunch Mike! Glad you are enjoying the lessons!

      Hope to hear form you a lot in the future!


  11. Damian BArabino on July 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Hey Carl cheers from Uruguay (south america) I came across to your website on you tube and found the site great.

    You’re great theacher indeed, and hope you continue with the good work, you’re the “guitarist painkiller”

    Have a nice day!

    • Carl Brown on July 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Hey Damian, thanks for checking out my site. I do plan on continuing the updates for a very long time to come so I hope you will keep checking back. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Cheers! Carl..

  12. Jake Mikolas on August 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Yes, Im not quite sure how much you check this comments anymore, but I just watched this video and it blew my mind. I took an AP Theory class last year in High School and it helped me with my musical knowledge, so I was able to understand everything you were talking about and it really helped me understand my fretboard. Thank you so much.

    • Carl Brown on August 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

      Hey Jake, thanks a lot for the kind comment. Glad you enjoyed the lesson!


  13. Mark Leary on September 28, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Super Lesson Carl!
    Is it possible to make a tab of a the “A”, “B”, “C#” or some combination of the scales from the A region? The rest of the scales could be left for an exercise. I have learned the major scales in a different shape for years and I would like to practice this form instead of “chasing the root”. Having a few tabs will help me visualize the scale degrees as you played them. Thanks!

  14. Greg Heidel on December 25, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Great job, Carl, I am really enjoying the lessons even though I am new to the site. I signed up and donated as well. I hope you can keep this site going for as long as possible!

    • Carl Brown on December 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks a bunch for the support Greg! With support from people like yourself this site will never go away and will only become bigger and bigger through the years!

      Cheers! Carl..

  15. ral mathias on May 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Really appreciate the breakdowns my big problem is playing chords in the various keys.I have been studying jazz so a solid foundation is very necessary thanks.

  16. D Hewett on July 3, 2012 at 5:01 am

    This solves several problems at once since I’m a beginner. I can run the major scale but like you said, it was going to require chasing roots and that just didn’t make sense. I’m glad I stumbled onto this video before I got much further in applying the patterns to keys by chasing roots.

    The way I am looking at it though, it appears I need to know 7 patterns instead of the normal 5 patterns. Have you thought about adding some patterns to this lesson? It took me awhile to figure out how the patterns with these sharps and flats fit into the 5 major scale patterns, and your fingering goes way too fast to see the patterns you are using.

    • Carl Brown on July 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      Hey there, have you seen my 3 notes per string major scales video? That should usually be watched before watching these.

      That video also has a TAB PDF with it that shows all 7 scales forms. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Cheers! Carl..

  17. Gary Witzel on August 14, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Thanks Carl your lessons are awesome!

  18. Justin Marinelli on July 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Hey Carl. First off I’d like to tell you I greatly appreciate that you took the time to reply to my questions on your other videos. It really did help. Now a couple more questions have com to mind after watching these few videos.

    Not that this is a likely scenario, but just used for an example. If someone saw me playing guitar and said “Play the C major scale” but did not clarify which tone to base it off of, would they expect me to play it at a specific part on the fret-board, or could I play anywhere on the neck and base it off any tone I would like and still be correct if I use the correct shape?

    • Carl Brown on July 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Hey Justin, yeah playing it anywhere using any of the forms would be correct.

      The position or fret that you play it at is simply our way of categorizing the scales across the entire neck, but as long as they are played from the right spot you can play in C major across the entire fretboard.

      Every major scale can be played everywhere on the fretboard and that is what this system is trying to help you achieve without having to learn a whole new set of scale forms for every key. ๐Ÿ™‚


  19. Justin Marinelli on July 16, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Oh, cool!

    So to know what scale scale someone is playing just by seeing them playing it you must REALLY have be extremely familiar with the 5 shapes!

    This brings me to another question though. In the past when I’ve learned songs, the instructor will sometimes explain how the song uses a certain scale. But since every scale has so many places you can play them on the fret-board (which will obviously alter the pitches of the notes), this seems like very vague and insignificant information when learning a song. You see what I’m saying? Or am I just thinking about it wrong?

    • Carl Brown on July 17, 2014 at 8:22 am

      I think you are kinda seeing it wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚

      First off, in this scale system there are 7 scale forms, one for each note in a major scale.

      Second, all those scale forms represent a blueprint for where a particular key’s notes can be found in a specific area of the fretboard.

      I do think you may be making things a little more complicated than they need to be. Simply put, every major scale can be played anywhere on the fretboard.

      Try this:

      Start by figuring out the 7 notes of a C major scale C D E F G A B

      Then looking at the 6th string on your guitar you will see that the first “region” on that string is F since F occurs on the 1st fret of the 6th string.

      Next we can look at the scale above and see that F is the fourth tone in the key of C major. So all we need to do is start on that F and play the scale form built from the 4th scale degree.

      Then the next C major scale form up the fretboard would simply be based of the next note of the scale, in this case G which is the 5th tone of the scale.

      So all we do then is play the scale form built from the 5th starting on that G (3rd fret of the 6th string).

      Just keep continuing that process until you have done all seven notes of the scale.

      Does that help you understand what is going on here? All 7 scale forms will contain the exact same 7 notes, it is just that as you move up the fretboard you will be playing in higher octaves.


  20. Justin Marinelli on July 17, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Yeah, i understand that part.

    But when I learn songs, sometimes the teacher might say “This song uses the C Major scale”. But since there are 7 place a C Major scale can be played, isn’t that information vague since he’s not specifying which tone (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc…) of the scale he’s talking about?

    • Carl Brown on July 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      It’s not really vague, those scale forms are just a way for us guitarists to visualize all the notes of a certain keys across the entire fretboard.

      C major is C major no matter were it is played on the fretboard. It is all the same 7 notes.

      The key is don’t over think it. It doesn’t matter what note you start on, just make it musical. Those scale forms are just there to show you how to stay within the key.


  21. Justin Marinelli on July 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Sounds simple enough, for some reason I was thinking about it in a weird way. I got it now, thanks Carl!

  22. G Clar on July 19, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    GREAT…Just what I was looking for.


  23. Amit Anand on December 19, 2015 at 8:49 am


    Is there a lesson on circle of fifths??
    And btw, this website kicksass.
    i tried learning from other tutors on youtube but haven’t been able to understand anything..
    Ive learnt so much since i discovered this website. and its only been a week..

    this is the order im going in..
    Understanding Keys
    Understanding Minor Scales
    Spelling All Triads
    Creating Major Key Chord Progressions
    Creating Minor Key Chord Progressions
    Major Key Chord Progressions With Seventh Chords
    Minor Key Chord Progressions With Seventh Chords
    3-Notes-Per-String Major Scales
    Visualizing Major Scales Pt.1
    Visualizing Major Scales Pt.2..

    then ill be moving on to
    Understanding Modes..

    is this recommended??
    sorry for the long comment

    • Amit Anand on December 19, 2015 at 8:56 am

      ive recommended this website to many of my friends.
      cant wait to see what the premium lessons have to offer once im familiar with with my basic theory

      • Amit Anand on December 19, 2015 at 9:38 am

        And i just want to clarify one more thing.
        in this lesson you were showing us all the major scales in the “A” region.
        So these were all different major scales, and not just different ways of playing “A” in one region.

        • Carl Brown on December 19, 2015 at 1:01 pm

          Yeah the first step in learning the scale forms is just to get the 7 scale shapes memorized. Most people memorize them by learning them in one key which means these 7 scale forms would be spread out sequentially up and down the fretboard.

          However, when people first learn the scale forms within a specific key, I find that it is usually harder for them to get used to playing them in all keys due to be so familiar with just the first key they ever learned. So instead, I try to get people not to focus on the keys at first. In order to accomplish that I have them play all the scale forms starting from the exact same fret. All you want to do is memorize the scale shape and it’s name (ie. shape built from root, from the 2nd etc).

          You can then more easily take those scale forms and combine with the knowledge found in the “Understanding Keys” lesson in order to play any key all over the fretboard with no difficulty. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carl Brown on December 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      Hey Amit, that sounds like an excellent sequence of learning the lessons. Let me if any questions arise when going through them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Amit Anand on December 20, 2015 at 7:24 am

    What’s Circle of fifths??
    Is there a lesson on circle of fifths??

    • Carl Brown on December 20, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      The circle of fifths represents a diagram of the keys one after the other in a circle. That same order of keys is what you are learning in the “Understanding Keys” lesson.

      It is called the “circle of fifths” because you start with the key of C major (which has no sharps or flats), then you will add one sharp for the next key (F#). That key will be G major and it is the interval of a perfect fifth above the starting key of C major. Then you will add another sharp for the next key giving you (F#, C#) which gives you the key of D Major which is once again the interval of a fifth above the previous key of G Major. It continues going through each key a perfect fifth up from the previous key until you make your way back to the original key of C major (completing the circle).

      The “Understanding Keys” lesson gives you a method of getting all of those keys found in the circle of fifths figured out in your mind without having to look at a diagram that displays all of these keys in a circle.

  25. Adam Price on December 28, 2016 at 5:00 am

    This is great Carl, but I’m struggling with the flats…

    Do I just do the same for the flats, but work through the order of flats i.e. “B E A D G C F” using their rules (i.e. To play in the key of Db, go through to D then past it one to G)

    So if playing the keys from area “A” and for example, I wanted to play the key of “Db” so “A” is a flat in this area so I would play “Ab” on fourth fret, and D is four in, so it would be “shape 4”?

    Is that right?

    • Adam Price on December 28, 2016 at 5:04 am

      Or then if I write out the key of Db…

      D E F G A B C

      D is the first, so is that the first “Root Position” I play from in the “A” area of the fret, of the fourth fret “Ab” note?

      You can see how confused I’m getting, this is such a simple concept, but I’m doing my own head in with this and just need some guidance on what is correct?

      Perhaps you could do a video on just one area for the flats like you have here, so I can keep referencing that and eventually “get it”?

      • Adam Price on December 28, 2016 at 5:07 am

        More correctly the key of Db…

        Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C

        So the “A” for the A area is played in the “Ab” fourth fret.

        And the shape for “D” would be the “root” note in this case, so shape one “Root Note”… Right?

    • Carl Brown on December 28, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Hey Adam, if you are at the A region and want to play the key of Db, you are correct that it would be an Ab (4th fret) that you would start on.

      However, Ab is the 5th tone in the key of Db major not the 4th, so be sure to play the shape built from the 5th off of that Ab note.

      • Adam Price on December 28, 2016 at 4:07 pm

        Thanks so much for clarifying Carl, I guess it’s a bit tricky till we get this simple concept glued into our heads… Love your work mate!

  26. Adam Price on December 28, 2016 at 5:09 am

    But then my question is, if I play the “Ab” fourth fret, root position for the Db scale, wouldn’t I be playing the “Ab” scale?

    So I can make sense of this? (unless of course and very likely, I’m making some big mistakes in trying to decipher this)?

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