C Major Scale Licks

C Major Scale Licks

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C Major Scale Licks For Your Repertoire

If you play an instrument such as the piano, the C major scale is the first scale you will learn. This is because there are no sharps (#) or flats (♭) in the C major scale.

We are fortunate when playing the guitar as guitarists tend to learn scales and arpeggios as patterns rather than thinking about the names of the notes they are playing. This means that playing in keys that are difficult to play on the piano and many other instruments is easy on guitar as we can slide the hand up or down to the correct position, without changing the pattern... easy!

So, Do I Need To Learn The Note Names?

Yes! It is very important that guitarists learn the names of the notes on the fretboard. This, however, is usually the part of guitar playing that guitarists neglect.

If you stop a saxophone player mid-solo and ask him or her what note is being played, they will almost certainly tell you straight away. They would also wonder how a guitarist would not know this.

Stop a guitarist mid-solo and ask him or her the same question and it is highly likely they would either not know the answer or would spend a bit of time using octave shapes and other techniques to try and figure out the name of that note.

Practise In C Major To Learn Note Names

One method a guitarist can use to help learn the names of the notes on the guitar fretboard is to practise in the key of C major and be aware of the note names. As the C major scale contains no sharps or flats, all notes will be one of seven letters. Scale patterns can still be used to generate a fretboard road map to which note names can be assigned. Once the C major scale can be visualised on the entire fretboard, sharps and flats can easily be worked out.
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C Major Scale Octave Displacement

Octave displacement means changing the octave of notes within a melodic line.

Octave displaced licks are usually tricky to play and require a bit of work both for your fretting hand and your picking hand.

Changing to more unconventional fingering is often required when playing octave-displaced licks and ideas to allow them to be played smoothly.

Actually playing these types of licks is only the first stage. Getting them to sound any good is also a big challenge as notes will often be cut short when jumping across strings.

6ths From C Major Scale

This guitar lick uses 6ths with quite a bit of chromaticism added to give this C major scale lick an interesting twist.

The lick also includes some nice phrasing via added rests to give this lick a bit of bounce.

6ths are very commonly played in many styles of music and they work extremely well with the major scale.

Guitarists often find difficulty soloing with the major scale. It is certainly much easier sticking to the major pentatonic scale, so hopefully this major scale lick will help to break you out of that habit.

C Major Scale Economy Picked

This C major scale lick begins with the C major pentatonic scale and adds the extra two notes later in the idea to create the 7-note major scale.

Unison intervals have been included in this lick and they work really well with this fingering.

Economy picking or sweep picking is the technique of choice here. Economy picking allows for a smooth, almost legato sound with minimal pick movement. When executed correctly, economy picking makes fast playing much easier in certain situations.

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