Practice Exercise for Playing Major Scale Pattern #5 on Guitar

By Mark Phillips, Jon Chappell

You can play a lot of music on guitar simply by memorizing five major scale patterns, and the best way to memorize anything is to practice. The following guitar practice exercises will help you learn major scale pattern #5.

Once you learn the major scale patterns, you can play them in many different ways — by applying the best pattern for the situation or by changing keys while maintaining a pattern. With 12 major scales and 5 fingering options for each scale, you’re looking at 60 major scales in position. All these options are what make the guitar so incredibly cool.

Major scale pattern #5 spans a bit less than two octaves. Playing just a single octave may seem a bit short, so in this pattern, we go as high as the position will allow.

Major scale pattern #5 is a four-string pattern whose lowest note is on the 4th string. The pattern starts with the 1st finger on the 4th string and includes an out-of-position note that occurs on the 4th string. You have to stretch your 4th finger higher on the neck (toward the bridge) to reach this note because it occurs one fret above where the finger naturally falls.

The following figure shows major scale pattern #5 in the key of G major in both a neck diagram and in music and tab format. The stretch for the out-of-position note comes right away — on the first string you play — so watch out for it. First practice the stretch in isolation, and then try the full pattern. Play this pattern as many times as you need to get it sounding as strong as the other four major scale patterns.


Click here to download and print this scale pattern.

The next figure shows major scale pattern #5 in the key of Ab major in 6th position in ascending and descending eighth-note triplets. Start with your 1st finger on the 4th string, 6th fret. Sixth position presents a moderately difficult stretch on the 4th string.