Training Lesson: Using The G Scale

Ear Training Exercises

Studying scales means learning how to use them and understanding what type of music they make. What type of sound does the scale have? The sound of the scale, its unique flavor is called its quality. The quality of the major scale has been described as bright, happy, cheerful, tuneful and melodic. The following exercises will revisit the year training melodies we first saw in lesson two, the C major scale.

Below, our common knowledge, well-known melodies will be studied in the key of G, changing the key of a song is called transposing. Transposing a song or tune is playing the song or tune with a new first note but keeping the sound, the relationships between individual notes, the same. This way the whole tune is heard with all the right notes, just with all new pitches either higher or lower than where we started. The best way to learn about, and think about, this highly necessary skill of transposing is to base all your musical transpositions on Major scale forms and sounds.

Use the same process as you did in the previous training exercises, listen first and then playing them on your guitar. This exercise is designed to help you think melodically. Example 1 is the excerpt from Brahms Lullaby that we learned in our study of C major. The sound of the tune is lower but the two versions of the song have one thing in common: their notes are a variation, or a re-ordering of a Major Scale pattern. Memorizing and playing traditional, common knowledge scale patterns and tunes based on them is great a way to bring organizational ability and solid skills to musical situations.

Memorize The Scale Pattern

First of course, make sure you are very familiar with the shape of the open position (first position) G major scale form. For extra training and mental practice, say the letter name of each and every note in the scale.









Improvisational Exercise

As a musician you must understand that the major scale serves as the basis and foundation of music theory. (Remember, I offer a music theory for guitar course here at To continue, experienced musicians think about or analyze a major scale they immediately think of 3 things:

  • Each note having a name (Do, Re, Mi…)
  • Each note having an ordered number associated with it.
  • Each note having a chord associated with it.

Key Of G Major

Major Scale Note Names
scale degrees
G Major Scale
CHORDS in the Key Of G
G Major 

I Major

A Minor

II minor

B Minor

III minor

C Major

IV Major

D Major

V Major

E Min

VI min

F# diminished

VII diminished

G Major

I Major

The chart above represents this thinking transposed to the key of G. Any song made up of any combination of the chords listed above is said to be in the key of G. A song containing such a series if chords is an excellent musical setting or backdrop for licks and melodies based on the G major scale: all the notes in the scale will sound good at any point during the chord progression. This is the reason why experienced lead players develop an increasing command and knowledge of scale patterns, licks and scale uses throughout their careers.

Below is a study which shares its chord progression with the classic song Brown Eyed Girl. Scores of songs use this identical progression. The chord series, (progression) G – C – G is analyzed and identified as a I – IV – I . The numbers I – IV – V, are taken from the analysis of chords belonging to G major scale charted above, and clearly identify the song as being completely in the key of G. There is one and only one Scale which contains the notes G – C & D in positions I – IV – V. That scale is G Major.

As you listen to and practice the music, be aware that this solo is nothing more than a g major scale with the notes being gently and rhythmically shuffled. When the notes of a scale are played in their correct order and step by step, this is called stepwise motion. Stepwise motion is of the most important approaches to take for composers, and improvisors wanting to create melodies.

This example is not written to be a hot solo, rather a listening and playing exercise meant to acquaint your ears and fingers with the sound and feeling of playing a scale based solo against a set of chord changes. Practice with the scale and solo below until you can play in perfect sync with the recording. Ignoring the risk of repeating myself, we have determined all the chords in the song belong to the key of g major, the g major scale can be played at any time, or “sounded against” the progression of chords.


Music Minus You

Just below is a rhythm track using the same chord changes as the previous example. Use this play along to play a few solos like the one above, make the solos sound like you.

Law Of Melody: Video Lesson

Below is my video which discusses the concept of stepwise movement in great depth.

End Of Training Lesson


“My first experience with the guitar was taking lessons from Karl Aranjo as a high school student. His lessons were more than just a collection of tips and riffs: they were a method. As I look through, I get to take a trip back through those lessons and am reminded about I loved about them. His strong focus on the fundamentals quickly draws a connection between general music theory and the particulars of how that theory can be applied to the guitar, even allowing us as guitarists to use our instrument as an abacus-like tool to enhance our musical insight. In high school, Karl’s lessons got me up to speed to jam with my friends and in the school band almost immediately. In the almost 20 years since I left high school and had my last lesson with Karl, the things he taught me have continued to serve me well; I’ve played almost continuously in a variety of styles (jazz, rock, funk, folk), both as a hobby and as a part-time professional (currently playing with San Francisco’s Smash-Up Derby). If I hadn’t grown up in the same town as where Karl taught, I might have missed out on a lifetime of fun playing the guitar. With, wherever you are, you can benefit from the same quality instruction that I had!

-Grahm Ruby

“Mr. Karl Aranjo is one great teacher to work with. When working with him, he is very flexible, and will teach you all the basics and fundamentals you will need while learning how to play the guitar. From learning basic chords to crazy licks and solo’s. You will become an expert in no time and looking like a professional guitar player. In my experience, I learned to master chord progressions much easier and understand it in a better perspective. In my music career/hobby, it has given me nothing but success to play in a band as a front man/rhythm guitarist, compose my own type of music, and as well as songs that I really wanted to learn how to play on the guitar. Learning through Karl Aranjo was a great experience and has helped me understand the guitar a lot easier, I would not have wanted this learning experience any other way.”

-Julius Isaac

“I had the pleasure of being a guitar student of Karl’s for several years. Karl advanced my playing ability a great deal very quickly by giving me a perfect combination of guitar technique, theory and assigning songs that motivated me to continue learning. I highly recommend Karl for all level of guitar players no matter if you are a beginner or advanced.”

-Tom Hunt

”Karl Aranjo is a great and experienced teacher with an extensive knowledge of guitar playing and theory. His thorough online course, covers the whole spectrum from the first time beginner to advanced.”

Blake Aaron- Internationally Known Recording Artist

”Karl helped me dive into the blues when I was first starting out, and learning how to improvise opened up many doors for me on guitar. He has a vast knowledge ranging many musical styles, and i would recommend him to anyone trying to learn the instrument!”

Eric Cannata Young The Giant