Textual Description of the Six Most Common Guitar Scales

 
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For the visually impaired who have technology to allow them to understand the text on a webpage but not the images, below is a textual description of the scale diagrams for the six scales presented on our guitar scales page.

Each of the diagrams shows two ways to play the corresponding scale.

The diagram is a part of a fretboard with dots on the fretboard indicating scale notes.

Some of the notes are also the root note (which are in red in the diagram). This will indicate the key of the scale.

So for example if a scale has its root note on say the 5th fret of the 6th string (an A) then this scale would be in the key of A.

None of the scales utilize open strings so you can move the scale up or down the fretboard to change the key. For example a minor pentatonic with its root note on the 5th fret of the 6th string would be A minor pentatonic, and then you could move all notes of the scale up two frets to get B minor pentatonic, and so on.

I guess it’s then a matter of knowing where all the dots are. One of the two positions presented for each scale is mainly recognised by having a root note on the 6th string while the other has a root note of the 5th string.

I’ll now go through and indicate which strings and frets are present for each of the notes in the scale positions:

A Minor Pentatonic Scale

Position with root on 6th string:

6th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret,
5th String 7th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret (Root Note),
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret (Root Note),
1st String 8th Fret.

D Minor Pentatonic Scale

Position with root note on 5th string:

6th String 5th Fret,
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
5th String 8th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret,
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret (Root Note),
2nd String 6th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret,
1st String 8th Fret.

A Blues Scale

Position with root on 6th string:

6th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret,
5th String 6th Fret,
5th String 7th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret (Root Note),
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret,
3rd String 8th Fret,
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret (Root Note),
1st String 8th Fret.

D Blues Scale

Position with root note on 5th string:

6th String 5th Fret,
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
5th String 8th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 6th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret,
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret (Root Note),
2nd String 6th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
2nd String 9th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret,
1st String 8th Fret.

A Natural Minor Scale (Aeolian mode)

Position with root on 6th string:

6th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
6th String 7th Fret,
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret,
5th String 7th Fret,
5th String 8th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret (Root Note),
3rd String 4th Fret,
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 6th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret (Root Note),
1st String 7th Fret,
1st String 8th Fret.

D Natural Minor Scale (Aeolian mode)

Position with root note on 5th string:

6th String 5th Fret,
6th String 6th Fret,
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
5th String 7th Fret,
5th String 8th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret,
4th String 8th Fret,
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret (Root Note),
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 6th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret,
1st String 6th Fret,
1st String 8th Fret.

A Major Scale

Position with root on 6th string:

6th String 4th Fret,
6th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
6th String 7th Fret,
5th String 4th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret,
5th String 7th Fret,
4th String 4th Fret,
4th String 6th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret (Root Note),
3rd String 4th Fret,
3rd String 6th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 7th Fret,
1st String 4th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret (Root Note),
1st String 7th Fret.

D Major Scale

Position with root note on 5th string:

6th String 5th Fret,
6th String 7th Fret,
5th String 4th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
5th String 7th Fret,
4th String 4th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret,
3rd String 4th Fret,
3rd String 6th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret (Root Note),
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret,
1st String 7th Fret.

A Dorian Mode

Position with root on 6th string:

6th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
6th String 7th Fret,
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret,
5th String 7th Fret,
4th String 4th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret (Root Note),
3rd String 4th Fret,
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret (Root Note),
1st String 7th Fret,
1st String 8th Fret.

D Dorian Mode

Position with root note on 5th string:

6th String 5th Fret,
6th String 7th Fret,
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
5th String 7th Fret,
5th String 8th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret,
3rd String 4th Fret,
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret (Root Note),
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 6th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret,
1st String 7th Fret,
1st String 8th Fret.

A Mixolydian Mode

Position with root note on 6th string

6th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
6th String 7th Fret,
5th String 4th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret,
5th String 7th Fret,
4th String 4th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret (Root Note),
3rd String 4th Fret,
3rd String 6th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret (Root Note),
1st String 7th Fret.

D Moxolydian Mode

Position with root note on 5th string

6th String 5th Fret,
6th String 7th Fret,
6th String 8th Fret,
5th String 5th Fret (Root Note),
5th String 7th Fret,
4th String 4th Fret,
4th String 5th Fret,
4th String 7th Fret,
3rd String 4th Fret,
3rd String 5th Fret,
3rd String 7th Fret (Root Note),
2nd String 5th Fret,
2nd String 7th Fret,
2nd String 8th Fret,
1st String 5th Fret,
1st String 7th Fret,
1st String 8th Fret.

Once again you can then move each of these positions up or down the fretboard to form the scale in a different key.

I hope this is helpful.

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