The A sharp Major Scale is an interesting one. It actually contains 4 sharps and 3 double sharps. A double sharp is a note that is raised by 2 semitones (2 frets) instead of 1 (ie a sharp). A double sharp is represented by an x. Because of this, A Sharp Major is a bit of a ‘messy’ scale and is usually avoided, or in actual fact it is referred to as Bb major scale. Since A sharp and B flat are the same note, it is a lot easier to work in B flat rather than A sharp. Having said all that, I believe it’s worth having a look at. If you are feeling on top of your major scale theory, observing the key of A sharp is only going to give you a bit more reinforcement. I would recommend avoiding this post however, if you are a little bit confused with Major scales. I never use A sharp major. I understand it, but never use it. I use B flat lots though, which is essentially the same thing. If someone says to me, “play me an A sharp Major scale”, I immediately tell myself, “play a B flat Major Scale”.
The notes in an A Sharp Major Scale are:
A# – B# – Cx – D# – E# – Fx – Gx
You might have realized that B# is actually the same note as C natural. Why then would we call it B#? This is because you can’t have a B and a C and Cx in the one key. If we were to write out the scale and used the equivalent notes without following the correct conventions, the scale could look like this (it would be WRONG though):
A# – C – D – D# – F – G – A
While the above example may look a lot neater (and easier to read), it produces A natural and A sharp. It also produces D natural and D sharp. This is undesirable. However, if you genuinely understand the scale, there’s no reason why you can’t come up with your own preferences for referring to the scale. Rules were meant to be broken. Just make sure you understand the fundamentals before breaking away.
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 oflessons on guitar modes, we are going to treat A# ionian and A# major as an identical scale.
Positions On The Guitar:
Let’s look at the A sharp major scale in the open position:
Here of course, are the other positions across the fretboard:
The first one is in the 2nd position (the lowest fret is fret 2)
The next one is in the 5th position (the lowest fret is fret 5)
The next one is in the 6th position (the lowest fret is fret 6)
The next one is in the 10th position (the lowest fret is fret 10)
The next one is in the 11th position (the lowest fret is fret 11)
And there you have all the positions along the guitar fretboard for A sharp Major.
For more information on major scales check out the post a complete guide to major scales on the guitar.
Also check out the post, guitar modes explained.
Here are the 7 modes in the key of A# Major:
- A sharp major scale
- B# Dorian
- Cx Phrygian (impractical mode)
- D# Lydian
- E# Mixolydian
- Fx Aeolian (impractical mode)
- Gx Locrian (impractical mode)