The A flat Major scale contains the following notes:
Ab – Bb – C – Db – Eb – F – G
The A flat Major scale contains 4 flats. They are Ab, Bb, Db and Eb.
The relative minor key of Ab Major is F minor.
The A flat Major scale is a commonly used scale. It is effectively the ‘master A flat scale’. This is because the notes in the key of A flat are the same as the notes in the A flat Major scale itself. It is therefore used as a reference point for all other types of A flat scales.
If you are interested in learning about modes and guitar scales, it should be pointed out that the Ab Major scale is effectively the same scale as the Ab ionian scale. For the purpose of the series of lessons on guitar modes, we are going to treat Ab ionian and Ab Major as identical scales (which they are).
Ab Major Scale In The Open Position
Let’s look at the the open position for A flat. It’s interesting to note that the A flat major scale in the open position contains only one note (G) that can be played on an open string. For the sake of being thorough though, it is still worthwhile learning the scale in this position. Here it is:
Ab Major Scale CAGED Positions
There are Ab Major positions, based on the CAGED system. Remember these positions are movable, which means that you can move them along the fretboard if you want to change keys.
Here are the 5 CAGED positions for the Ab Major scale on the guitar (notes and tabs).
Ab Major Scale in the 3rd Position (lowest fret is 3)
Ab Major Scale in the 4th Position (lowest fret is 4)
Ab Major Scale in the 8th Position (lowest fret is 8)
Ab Major Scale in the 9th Position (lowest fret is 9)
Ab Major Scale in the 12th Position (lowest fret is 12)
How to Use the Ab Major Scale
For the purpose of improvising, the Ab Major scale can be used over the Ab Major chord, the Ab Major 7 chord, as well as other chords within the key of Ab Major.
Chords in the Key of Ab Major
The key of Ab Major contains the following chords (triads and 7th chords):
- Ab Major/Ab Major 7
- Bb minor/Bb minor 7
- C minor/C minor 7
- Db Major/Db Major 7
- Eb Major/Eb Dominant 7
- F minor/F minor 7
- G diminished/G half diminished
Modes Of The Ab Major Scale
There are 7 modes in the key of Ab. We can produce these modes by playing the notes of the Ab Major scale, while starting on different notes of the scale. For example, to play the Bb dorian mode, we start on the note Bb and then play the notes of the Ab Major scale. To play the F Aeolian mode, we start on F and play through the notes of the Ab Major scale.
Here are the 7 modes in the key of Ab Major: