C Major Scale

Tom @Tbushell

Justin does cover scale on a single string in module 3 of the theory course.



Thanks…have not taken the theory course, so didn’t know that.


One of Justin’s early Theory course lessons featured the G major scale pattern 1. Unlike the C major open scale, I don’t recall Justin referring to it as the G major open scale which I believe would be an appropriate name for it. Can the C major open scale also be referred to as C major scale pattern 1? If so, which is preferable?

Hey Robert,

In short, no. Pattern 1 is the E shaped pattern for a scale.
So the G major scale in the theory lesson is Pattern 1, or more specifically, the E shape pattern.

The C major ‘open’ scale pattern , means it uses open strings, somewhat a standalone’ pattern or shape. It the same C Major scale as any other on the fretboard, but it uses open strings. The others do not.

Pattern 1, ( or again, preferably the E shape) C Major scale begins on the C note on the 8th fret.

Initially confusing, and may take a little while to digest, but once you see it, very logical. Its all about the root notes.

All the best



This is correct

It’s actually the C shape (pattern 3) from the CAGED system. It’s the only shape that can be played in open position using the chord it’s named after without modifying the pattern.

1 Like

Hey Rick,

100% agree.
I suppose internally I’ve given the open shapes a ‘special’ category due to open strings, and all being, necessarily, locked into the one part of the fretboard.


1 Like

You can set it free and use it anywhere. Just make sure you move the open strings along with the pattern. The C shape is one of the patterns I use a lot. Works really well for Major Pentatonic licks

1 Like

As @stitch has clarified, it is in fact a C-shape Pattern 3.
It just so happens that Pattern 3 has a full row of notes at the same fret and these are the lowest notes of each strings particular set of notes.
This specific aspect of the C-Shape Pattern 3 scale is unique to it. All of the other four patterns have one or more strings whose lowest note is at a different fret to the lowest note on the other strings. Meaning Pattern 3 is the only one of the CAGED patterns that can be played as a whole pattern which incorporates all of the open strings. And when that is done, the root note is at fret 3 of the A string. Which must, by definition, mean that Pattern 3 of the C Major scale is a unique scale pattern on guitar.
See below (lowest notes highlighted with a yellow bar.


2 posts were split to a new topic: I anchor my little finger on the high E string - bad habit?

Why does he strum the open note and sometimes he doesn’t. This lesson makes 0 sense to me … He strums the open chord then on the high e string he doesn’t strum the open chord between the two notes…

Hey @Action_Eric , it would be helpful if you specified exactly when in the video there is something you don’t understand.

Hey, thanks. Since the post I figured it out. I am back taking 1 2 1 lessons now , as while midway through grade 2 I was going in circle not able to correct my mistakes and progress , so frustration and nearly gave up!

1 Like

Forgive me if this query has already been put forward. I’m wondering why the tabbing for the C Major scale is different here, as it starts on the low E string:

Is it because on the JG course we are learning it in open scale? Not in the slightest doubting JG, just curious as to what causes the variance.

Thanks for the lessons, J. 20 years since taking my first guitar lesson and I finally feel I’m getting somewhere with your courses.

Welcome to the forum Jake
There are 5 different places on a guitar neck that you can play the major scale using the CAGED system. The C major in the grade 2 lesson is the C shaped major scale using open strings.
Scroll down the page and there is a diagram of the scale. You’ll see it is exactly the same as the first C major scale in your link.
The tabs start on the Root not C which is located on the 3rd fret A string.

Hello @Turbzy and welcome to the Community. When I click on your link it opens a blank neck diagram with no settings saved.
When I select C as root note and Major as the type of scale I see this:

What this shows is each and every occurrence of all of the seven notes contained within the C major scale. It contains only natural notes:
C, D, E, F, G, A, B
The lowest possible scale note playable on a guitar is the open E string. It is not the root note but it is a scale note.
The diagram also shows no user-friendly patterning such as the CAGED system that @stitch mentions. Using metaphor, it is the entire contents of the C major box thrown onto the floor.

Justin teaches CAGED patterns and also emphasises the importance, when practicing, of starting and ending on the lowest root note of the scale - to get the sound of home in your ears.

Thank you, much appreciated! If you click ‘vertical’ it brings up a specific tab. But your explanation makes sense in the sense of making sure to finish on the root.

1 Like

You have most likely seen this in other places, as have I. I play mine C to C, but that is, in fact, more than one octave of a scale. Other instructors have the scale end and start on the Root. I personally don’t know which is best or better or what, but knowing that they are both a root is the important part in my mind.

1 Like

Thanks - I just got to this bit in the theory course and was instantly confused having learnt a C major scale to learn a different pattern. I take it from your answer, that what I have learnt in module 9 so far is pattern 3 and I can now use that to play any other major scale if I move the root note. In the theory course, I am going to be learning pattern 1, which is the E shape but start playing on G in order to get a G major scale. Am I correct that it is called the E shape as the root note is actually the open E string if playing the E major scale using it?


That is called the E-shape, yes.

But, not because the root note is on the E string. It is called the E-shape due to the way the CAGED system works - chords & scales overlaid and co-existing in the same place. E-shape barre chords and E-shape major scale patterns all sit right there together on the fretboard.

I would not worry about the numbering of the patterns. IMO, knowing which shape you are using is more useful, practically speaking.

Also, if your major scale has only 7 natural notes (no sharps or flats), you play the C major scale wherever the root note is on the fretboard. The E major scale will have the notes… well, you can figure them out with the major scale formula.