F Major Scale Guitar For Beginners

The F major scale has a beautiful sound to it – let’s explore some F major scale guitar playing!

In this free lesson you will learn…

  • How the F major scale is constructed
  • How to play it
  • What it sounds like
  • Two awesome F major scale guitar licks
  • What the ‘relative minor’ is & how to use it

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The F Major Scale Is Bright-Sounding And Lively

This seven-note scale is funky, groovy and optimistic.

  • Widely favoured in Country music as well as Funk and Ballad music for it’s hopeful and uplifting character, this scale keeps things bright and refreshing.
  • In this F major scale guitar lesson, we’re going to break down the essentials of this scale in its root position, as well as its corresponding chords.

We’re also going to look at two classic tunes in the key of F major that will test our guitar chops.

Ready? Grab your guitar and let’s dive in.

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

F Major Scale Guitar Lesson: What Does It Sound Like?

The best way to describe this scale is ‘funky and hopeful.’ 

Songs like George Micheal’s ‘Careless Whisper’ and Rascall Flatts’ rendition of ‘Life Is A Highway’ both share in this description quite well – that’s why we’ll be learning excerpts from them in today’s lesson.

A great practice routine to adapt is to play with scales to see how they hit your ears.

Reading descriptions online about what scales sound like can help us learn them, but ultimately our ears will decide what they like the most.

The F major scale guitar sound is unique, so get familiar with it!

Make sure to play around with each scale you learn and explore the tonal possibilities it offers!

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

Pro Tip: When learning the sound of a new scale, it’s important to move the scale around into different keys to analyze the differences in their sound.

Once you’ve mastered the F major scale guitar shapes we’re teaching in this lesson, move them around the fretboard to hear what they sound like elsewhere.

  • If you keep a practice journal, you should dedicate a few pages to writing out how each scale makes you feel and what emotions it stirs up, if any.
  • This might seem weird at first, but developing an understanding of the character of each scale is extremely important.

Finally, compare the keys on paper and take notes for your own reference.

Now, let’s break down some theory to back up our F major scale guitar knowledge.

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

F Major Scale Guitar Lesson: Theory

Before we jump in, watch this clip from the Sound of Music where the main character sings the major scale to the children she takes care of.

  • Due to its seven-note structure, the F major scale is referred to as a ‘diatonic scale.’
  • In the video above, the main character Fraulein Maria assigns a name to each degree of the major scale.

These names can be applied to any key of music, and today we’re going to apply them to F major.

Our scale degrees for F major are written out below:

F     G A    Bb C D   E F

Do  Re Mi   Fa So La  Ti Do

I      II III    IV V VI VII  VIII/I

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

Pro Tip: Understanding how this scale is constructed, as well as the degree of each note is important.

Although music theory is not required knowledge, it is part of the internal language of music.

  • A fair understanding of this language doesn’t just help us communicate with other musicians – It also helps us comprehend the sudden musical ideas we experience at every level of playing.
  • This type of F major scale guitar knowledge will help us along in practice as well as songwriting, as it gives us a foundation to understand how chords are formed within the scale.

On that note, let’s talk about the chordal component of our F major scale guitar study.

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

F Major Scale Guitar Lesson: Chords

For each note (or scale degree) of a scale, there is a corresponding chord to match.

  • For the songwriters in the room, this is where you get all the good stuff.
  • Mastering the chords of a scale and the scale itself makes writing music a breeze.

Knowing what chords go where, and over which notes can help us create beautiful musical phrases with ease.

For every key of the major scale, the same chord structures apply.

This means that you can apply the order of these chords to any key of the major scale, not just F.

Check out the F major scale guitar chords below:

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

F Major / G Minor / A Minor / Bb Major / C Major / D Minor / E Diminished

Pro Tip: Write these chords down and rearrange them in different sequences, then play them.

This helps us get a feel for changing chords on the fly, and lets us hear all of the different tonal possibilities within the F major scale guitar foundation.

  • If you’re a songwriter, or you’re curious about writing lyrics, now is a great time to experiment with any of the melodies that might be floating around in your head.
  • In the next section, we’re going to break down the F major scale guitar positions.

Now would be a good time to warm up your vocal chords and sing along for some added ear training.

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

F Major Scale Guitar Lesson: The Root Position

Pro Tip: Take a second to tune your guitar before we move on! 

If you’ve been playing along, chances are you’ve already done a bit of strumming with the chords above.

Alright, got your strings in order? Good. Let’s play.

As discussed, the F major scale guitar positions contain seven notes.

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

As we play, let’s call each one of them by the names listed in the theory section above (Do, Re, Mi, etc.)

  • This is passive and effective practice for our ears to analyze the sound of each scale degree.
  • We begin in the first position of the guitar – at the first fret.

In any other position, we would tell you to begin with your middle finger, but because we’re using open strings we can start with our index at the first fret.

Let’s try the scale in one octave first:

F-Major-Scale-Guitar

Using our index at the first fret, our middle on the second and our ring at the third, we can conquer this scale with ease.

  • Remember to focus on alternate picking to keep the sound smooth.
  • We also want to allow space for each note to ring clearly, so take your time and don’t rush.
  • Now that we’ve nailed one octave, we can play this F major scale guitar position in two octaves to hear its full range.

Your second octave begins at the third fret on the D string, so we can restart ‘Do, Re, Mi’ from there.

guitar-scale-in-F

F Major Scale Guitar Lesson: Three Ways To Play

Now that we’ve heard this scale in two octaves, we can learn how to navigate other parts of the fretboard with it.

  • We’ve included the root position starting on the A string as well as the D string to give you a few different landmarks for the F major scale guitar shapes along the neck.
  • It might seem easy to just learn one position for each scale, but the real magic of musical scales happens when we can play them all across the neck.

It’s important to practice these shapes as well as the E string shape above to develop your map of the fretboard in your head.

This is an important tool that we can build over time through effective practice, so don’t sell yourself short by not taking the time.

guitar-scales

For the A and D string positions of this F major scale guitar shape, we want to begin with our middle finger.

  • On the A string, start out at the 8th fret and use your pinky to reach the 10th.
  • This leaves our index finger open to take care of the 7th fret for us.

Pro Tip: Watch out for the climb up on the B and high E strings.

You can use your index finger to step up to the 8th fret on the B string, and then slide from the 8th to the 10th fret on the high E string.

Use your ring and pinky finger at the 12th and 13th fret to end on a high F.

learn-guitar-scales

On the D string, we follow the same hand formation as above, and use our index finger to step up to the 3rd fret on the B string.

This scale shape is super straightforward, and helps us master that shift of the index finger.

In the two octave version of this shape, we see quite a bit more movement. Be conscious of the movement up the fretboard, and take your time with this scale shape to perfect it.

Practice makes perfect, and we’ve purposefully loaded this article with examples so that you’ll take the time with each.

Your fingers and ears will thank you when you give them enough time to properly learn.

F-guitar-scale

Major-guitar-scales

F Major Scale Guitar Lesson: The Relative Minor

For every major scale, there exists a ‘counterpart scale’ called the Relative Minor.

  • This is a scale that contains all of the same notes as the scale in question, just in a different order.
  • The relative minor of this scale is D minor, and this F major scale guitar counterpart has a darker tone to it than F major does.

If you want to learn the differences between F major and D minor, check out our lesson here.

Learn-guitar

F Major Scale Guitar Licks: Rascall Flatts – Life Is A Highway

For a band that is labelled as ‘Country music,’ Rascall Flatts does a great job of providing a funky and rock-fueled rendition of Tom Cochrane’s famous Rock anthem.

They also have a history of creating Billboard-charting performances.

We’ve included the upbeat intro riff as well as the power chords for this song to help you groove your way through the end of this F major scale guitar lesson.

Pay attention to the way the intro riff is played, as the guitarist is including a muted string slap in the middle of every bar.

National-guitar-academy

The chorus section is great practice for getting power chords under our hands, and understanding how the F major scale guitar chords can blend together.

Pro Tip: These chords change quickly, so take your time and practice each of them individually before you play along to the track.

This is a common technique used by session musicians who are just stepping into a musical scenario with chords and music they have not yet seen.

  • Play through each chord and practice your grip of the chord itself.
  • Focus on developing a comfort level with each chord before you move to the next one.

Not only will this help your hands get used to new chords, it will also give your ears time to process the sound of each F major scale guitar chord.

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

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F Major Scale Guitar Licks: George Micheal – Careless Whisper

There are many reasons why you may have heard of this song. 

  • It could be because of George Michael – it could be because of that guy who got famous for running through shopping malls playing it on saxophone.
  • Regardless, George Michael’s this saxophone sensation is timeless, and the intro riff is a great addition to our F major scale guitar lick library.

This riff takes time to perfect. If you’re a beginner, we’re glad you made it this far because your hands are going to get a workout.

If we take a step back from the tab, we can notice that we’re primarily outlining three 3-string chord shapes in this riff, followed by a climb back to the top of the riff.

Use your index finger as a partial barre for your three highest strings and you’ll find yourself conquering this riff in no time. Your ring finger can take the first note of each bar.

Careful to move backward slowly in the last bar, and then slide from the 5th fret back to the 12th to start over.

F major is a beautiful key with plenty of colour to offer our guitar playing.

Sing the notes, learn the chords, and you’ll be busting out your own riffs in no time!

Where Do I Go From Here?

Want to keep pushing the limits of your F major scale guitar knowledge?

We recommend:

  • Write a song using the chords of the F major scale
  • Try writing your own riffs using the F major scale
  • Sing the notes of the scale as you play them to help with memorization
  • Move this scale shape into a different key, and learn the chords in that key
  • Listen to ‘Silvertooth’ by Isko. This is a beautiful piece of lo-fi hip hop in F major. Try soloing over it using the scales you’ve learned today!

Recommended Resources

If you loved this article on F major scale guitar positions and chords, you’re going to love some of the other FREE content we’ve got here at National Guitar Academy!

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