Guitar Lesson

Major Scale Tones

Author: Nate Dean

Difficulty: beginner

If you don’t completely understand the concept of numbers in music, this article is for you! Knowing numbers (the numbers of the major scale) is the pre-requisite knowledge for most intermediate and advanced skills. These skills include building chords, switching keys, understanding chord progressions, adding non-diatonic notes into solos, etc.

The basics are really simple. The major scale contains seven notes. For most purposes, after you count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, you start over again with 1, 2, 3, etc. You know – do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do. These are all “diatonic” notes, which means they are notes in the key. This is where we start.

C Major Scale with Numbered Scale Tones

Ok, here comes the great part. The totally mind-blowingly cool thing about numbers is, no matter what key you are playing in, no matter what position you are playing a scale or chord – the numbers stay the same. So, if you are playing a lick with a neat 1 – 3 – 5 pattern in the key of A, that pattern will be the exact same in the key of B. If you can memorize a number pattern, you can repeat that pattern in different keys very easily.