The A Major scale contains the following notes:
- A – B – C# – D – E – F# – G #
The A Major scale is one of the most popular guitar scales. In this lesson you will learn how to play the A Major scale in 5 different positions on the guitar, as well as the open position.
If you have read the posts on understanding major scales, you should be familiar with how Major scales work. If you are interested in learning about modes and guitar scales, it should be pointed out that the A major scale is effectively the same scale as the A ionian scale. For the purpose of the series of lessons on guitar modes, we are going to treat A ionian and A Major as identical scales (which they are).
The A Major scale is actually one of the most common scales that guitarists learn. The Major scale in general is a very important scale, because many other scales are derived from it. Perhaps because of the letter ‘A’, being the first in the alphabet, many people choose the A Major scale as the first Major scale to start with.
A Major Scale In The Open Position
Firstly, let’s look at the A Major scale in the open position. The open position simply means that there is at least one open string involved, when playing the scale. Here it is:
A Major Scale CAGED Positions
There are five more 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 A Major scale on the guitar (notes and tabs).
A Major Scale in the 1st Position (lowest fret is 1)
A Major Scale in the 4th Position (lowest fret is 4)
A Major Scale in the 5th Position (lowest fret is 5)
A Major Scale in the 9th Position (lowest fret is 9)
A Major Scale in the 10th Position (lowest fret is 10)
How To Practise The A Major Scale
The best way to practise the A Major scale is to memorise the positions along the fretboard and be able to play them in time, with a metronome.
Which Chords Work With the A Major Scale?
For the purpose of improvising, the A Major scale can be used over the A Major chord, the A Major 7 chord, as well as other chords within the key of A Major:
- A Major/A Major 7
- B minor/B minor 7
- C# Minor/C# minor 7
- D Major/D Major 7
- E Major/E Dominant 7
- F# minor/F# minor 7
- G# diminished/G# half diminished
Modes Of The A Major Scale
There are 7 modes in the key of A. We can produce these modes by playing the notes of the A Major scale, while starting on different notes of the scale. For example, to play the B dorian mode, we start on the note B and then play the notes of the A Major scale. To play the C# phrygian mode, we start on the note C# and then play through the notes of the A Major scale.
Here are the 7 modes in the key of A Major:
- A Ionian (A Major)
- B Dorian
- C# Phrygian
- D Lydian
- E Mixolydian
- F# Aeolian
- G# Locrian