Major Scales (Guitar Lesson)

What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
David MacKenzie

Major Scales

Major scales are an essential component of all styles of music. They can also be used as a great way to orient yourself with the fretboard.

Taught by David MacKenzie in Basic Electric Guitar seriesLength: 32:12Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:29) Lesson Introduction DMAC shreds some mean licks derived from the E major scale to demonstrate how this scale can be applied to improvised guitar solos.
Chapter 2: (02:21) Major Scales Why Are Scales So Important?

This lesson begins a series of lessons solely dedicated to scales. Dave explains the importance of scales and why you must learn and master not only the theory behind them, but also how they are applied to the fretboard.

1. Scales are the basic building blocks of music.
2. Knowledge of scales is necessary to understand how chords are built and how they function.
3. Scales are the basis for more many important music theory concepts.
4. Knowledge of scales will help you develop lead techniques.
5. Practicing scales is conducive to building speed and overall technical ability.
6. Learning scales will increase your overall understanding of the fretboard.

Practicing scales and technique is often compared to practicing specific drills for a sport. Repeating certain movements is necessary to ensure that the mind and muscles are working together.

Music Theory?!? Yikes!

Don't allow yourself to be intimidated by music theory. In his lessons pertaining to scales, Dave will introduce theory concepts very slowly. He starts from square one and gradually works his way into slightly more advanced concepts. If you have any questions regarding the music theory presented in these lessons, contact any of the JamPlay instructors.
Chapter 3: (06:42) E Major Scale Preliminary Information

Before you begin to practice these scales, you must memorize some preliminary information. At this point, you should have the note names across the entire sixth string memorized. This information is essential in order to determine the proper root note or starting point for each scale pattern. For example, if you wish to play a C major scale, you have to know where this root note is located on the fretboard. This note is located at the 8th fret of the sixth string. Consequently, the C major scale begins with the note C at this fretboard location.

Proper Technique

Similar to basic fingering exercises, scales provide an opportunity to address specific technical issues. Make sure that you adhere strictly to the following rules concerning technique whenever you practice scales. These rules will allow you to play with minimum effort and maximum accuracy.

1. It is perfectly acceptable to look down at your hands when practicing scales. As you become more fluent and comfortable with them, begin to focus less on your sense of sight. Allow your ears to guide you through the scale.

2. Keep all left-hand fingers as close to the fretboard as possible at all times. The pinkie finger has a strong tendency to float away from the fretboard when it is not being used. This bad habit can be eliminated in due time with proper attention and practice.

3. When playing through all of these scales, adhere strictly to the fingerings that Dave demonstrates. These fingerings will allow you to play through the scales with minimum effort.

4. Use the tips of the fingers to fret notes. Do not use the fleshy pads of the fingers!

5. Keep all finger relaxed and slightly bent at all times.

6. Keep the thumb perpendicular to the middle of the neck. Do not let the thumb creep up over the top of the neck. (Exceptions to this rule will be discussed in later lessons.)

7. Only the pointed tip of the pick should make contact with the strings. Do not dig the pick deep into the strings.

8. Keep your picking motions as small as possible. You only need to move the pick far enough to produce a clear tone.

9. When playing at slow tempos, use all downstrokes. As you increase the tempo, shift to alternate picking.

Scale Patterns

As Dave demonstrates each of the scales, notice how most of them share the same fretboard pattern. The E major and F major scales demonstrated in this lesson are the only exceptions. This is due to the open strings within these patterns. Similar to chords that contain open strings, these scale patterns or shapes cannot easily be transposed to other keys. Transposition of the E and F major scales requires a re-fingering of these fretboard patterns.

The major scale patterns taught in this lesson span one octave. These patterns are played on the sixth, fifth, and fourth strings. Later in the series, Dave will introduce major scale patterns that span two whole octaves across all six strings.

Always Play Musically!

Regardless of whether you are practicing a technical exercise or a piece of music, you must always play musically. The way in which you practice scales will transfer to the way in which you play melody lines or solo guitar licks. When practicing scales, play them like you would a piece of music. Play slowly and in time with a metronome. Make sure that you are playing with a flowing, connected legato sound. Each note should ring into the next. Also, ensure that you are producing no buzzing notes. Finally, all notes must be played at the same volume regardless of whether they are plucked using an upstroke or a downstroke.

Basic Major Scale Theory

Note: For music theory principles pertaining to the major scale, please visit the JamPlay Scale Library. This area can be accessed from the "Teaching Tools" button on the left side of the homepage.

E Major Scale

A. 1st Position Pattern

The first note in this major scale pattern is the open low E string. Similar to chords, scales have root notes. The root note of a chord or scale is often referred to as tonic. The tonic or root note of a scale names the scale. When playing any scale, always begin and end on the root or tonic note.

Due to the fact that it contains notes played with open strings, this E major scale pattern is played in first position. Position simply refers to the area of the fretboard that you are playing in. First position indicates that you will play all of the 1st fret notes with the first finger. The middle finger frets the notes at the 2nd fret and so on.

From a visual standpoint, the notes on the 5th and 6th string fall in the same fret locations for both strings. This feature will help you memorize this scale pattern. The fourth fret features a change in this pattern. The notes on the fourth string are located at the first and second fret.

B. Spelling of the E Major Scale

Whenever you learn a new scale, you must learn all of the notes contained within the scale. This can be accomplished by studying a diagram of the Circle of Fifths.

Note: A diagram of the Circle of Fifths can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab. For a full lesson pertaining to the Circle of Fifths, refer to Matt Brown's Phase 2 Jazz series.

The circle indicates how many sharps or flats are in any given key. For example, the key of E major contains four sharps. Once you have determined how many sharps or flats are in the key, look up at the order of sharps and the order of flats. This will tell you which notes are sharp or flat in a particular key. Since the key of E has four sharps, look at the first four sharps listed in the order of sharps. These sharps are F#, C#, G#, and D#. So, all of these notes are sharp in the key of E major. The remaining notes in the scale are natural notes. As a result, the E major scale is spelled as follows: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E.

Practice the process of spelling scales with the remaining keys presented in this lesson.
Chapter 4: (03:09) F Major Scale Like the E major scale, the pattern for F major that Dave teaches is also played in first position. Remember to use the proper fingering for first position scales when practicing this pattern. Watch closely as Dave plays through this scale pattern. Adhere strictly to the fingering that he demonstrates. Tablature to this scale pattern with appropriate fingerings can also be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.


Be careful when fretting notes close to the nut. Due to the amount of tension placed on the strings at this area of the fretboard, these notes require a little more left-hand pressure to produce a clear tone.
Chapter 5: (19:12) Major Scale Pattern Movable Scale Pattern

The pattern for G major that Dave demonstrates is played in second position. This particular fretboard pattern is movable. This means that it can be transposed to any key on the neck that does not feature any open strings.

Watch carefully as Dave walks you through the notes and their corresponding fretboard locations. Play along with Dave or follow the tablature listed in the "Supplemental Content" section as you first begin to practice each pattern. Then, after you have practiced through the pattern a few times, begin to memorize it. Complete this process in a string-by-string fashion. Also, say each of the note names out loud as you play them. This will help you learn the scale much more efficiently. In addition, this type of practice will give you a clear understanding of what you are playing instead of simply where you are playing. You don't want to be a guitarist that simply connects the dots. You must always have an understanding of what you are playing and why you are playing it.


Dave demonstrates how the pattern demonstrated for G major can easily be transposed to other positions on the fretboard. For example, by sliding this entire pattern up two frets, the A major scale is formed. This pattern is used to play the remaining scales presented in this lesson. As long as you know the note names across the entire sixth string, you can slide this pattern anywhere along the fretboard. Simply start on the proper root note, then play through the pattern.

One of the goals of this lesson is to get you acquainted with the locations of various notes on the fretboard. As you develop as a guitarist, it will become more and more important that you possess the ability to play chords and scales in various areas of the fretboard. As you advance, you will realize how this knowledge opens up a multitude of new, exciting opportunities.

Practice Routine

Add the new scales that you have learned in this lesson to your daily warm-up routine. As you learn more scales, you will need to develop a practice routine. It will become impossible to practice all of the scales that you know in a single practice session. Consequently, scales must be organized and spread out over a week's time. For more information about developing a practice schedule, refer to Matt Brown's first lesson in the Phase 2 Rock series as well as lessons 6 and 7 in the Phase 2 Jazz series.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

chudzinkachudzinka replied on June 5th, 2014

G'day Dave, fantastic lessons so far. Quick question. Should I be able to spell out the scale in each key before moving on to the next lesson? Cheers.

maurihsmaurihs replied on April 11th, 2014

Hey guys, I recommend this video if you need further explanation, this is awesome. I just saw the light!

hjkellshjkells replied on March 3rd, 2013

Thank you so much david that was a brilliant lesson actually starting too see things coming together FINALLY :-) knew you was the right teacher for me love your style love your lessons you the man xxxxx

tommyrontommyron replied on March 31st, 2013

Hi David! There is no video for this lesson. It say video not found.

amolanoamolano replied on October 12th, 2012

Great Lesson! Thanks a lot...!

amolanoamolano replied on October 12th, 2012

Great Lesson! Thanks a lot...!

nickhallnickhall replied on December 29th, 2011

Hi Dave, I was just curious into why you teach' the 6th, 5th and 4 the strings of the scale. Would we also need to learn the major scale on the higher strings also? Awesome lesson by the way! Thank you.

rkirbyrkirby replied on August 25th, 2011

Hey there DMac, Anyone ever tell you that you are a wonderful instructor? Thanks.

byronmatherbyronmather replied on August 16th, 2011

hi david when playing the scale for some reason when i get to the first note descending it just sounds right in my head to play the last note from the ascending. so for example doing the e scale i would play the 2nd note on the fourth string twice. is this wrong or does it matter? cheers

oli_indianaoli_indiana replied on March 14th, 2011

Am i allowed to use my ring finger instead of pinky? lol

evilmpevilmp replied on February 17th, 2011

Ok I must be weird I can't look at the fret board otherwise I screw it up. If I just read the music I can play it fine, I guess I am the type of player that goes by the feeling of the frets. Your lessons are awesome I have already progressed considerably

chrissie hollandchrissie holland replied on December 8th, 2010

Hi David. Enjoying your lessons very much. I've been thrashing about with a few major barre chords for years, on and off. I use the word 'thrashing' because I've always had a problem with my strumming hand. I'm really heavy handed and can't seem to play more gently. When I try I miss half the strings. I would appreciate any exercise advice on how to soften the blows! Thank you.

chrissie hollandchrissie holland replied on November 27th, 2010

Hi Dave. I'm really enjoying your lessons and find your method of teaching very comfortable. I'm a beginner and am practicing the major scales. I can now play them slowly but fluently as I can hear where the next note is. What I don't get is that after the first note of all the scales, I have no idea what the rest of the notes are that I'm playing. Does that knowledge come later or should I look for some kind of fret chart?

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on November 27th, 2010

hi chrissie, yes it does not hurt to view a fret chart and get the gist of the notes fret wise.

0427owen0427owen replied on September 16th, 2010

great lesson cheers

kysertrialkysertrial replied on May 6th, 2010

Thank you david....loving the free trial i got with kyser capo

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied on April 17th, 2010

Wow Dave. This lesson really opens up a whole new world of possibilites for me. Had no idea that you could use that same pattern all the way up the neck! Another tool in my toolbox.

kali4kali4 replied on January 23rd, 2010

Great lesson Dave. I have just one question, I noticed in the supplemental tab a diagram of the "circle of fifths". Is this something I should be concerned about right now or will that be covered in a later lesson? Will understanding that chart help me memorize the notes on the other strings?

bigjoeluckybigjoelucky replied on December 6th, 2009

I love Django.....It was great to hear a ROCKER reference him :-)

tikinhokuntikinhokun replied on December 2nd, 2009

damn it, I'm playing guitar for 1 year, I took so much time to learn the major scales (without a teacher) , and watching this lesson, I can see how this methood is easy to learn, allthough it was kinda boring, but the next lesson should make it up :D thanks david for 1 more great lesson!

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on December 3rd, 2009

your most welcome!!! sorry for the boring part. still working on that. lol!

whitebuffalowhitebuffalo replied on October 30th, 2009

This lesson really, propelled my skill level several notches. I have been playing for years, yet this lesson taught me the discipline I lacked. I received Jamplay as an anniversary gift, from my Classical Flute playing Wife. She said I lacked discipline,,, she was right as always,,,, Thanks Dave,,

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on October 30th, 2009

Nice!!! i am glad that helped you. you know i practise these scales much more often now than i use to because sitting down and gettin it ready for filming, my playing improved also!!

mike4370mike4370 replied on August 26th, 2009

Hey Dave, I cant belive I just now noticed your shirt. that patch just looks so familiar to me... lol

snowjaysnowjay replied on June 22nd, 2009

What is a good bpm to shoot for on the metronome before moving on to the minor scales lesson? Right now I can do most of the scales comfortably at 120bpm while the E & F are a bit harder for me because of the stretch so those I'm doing a little slower at 100bpm right now.

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on June 25th, 2009

thats pretty good actually! only way you might get it quicker is more of a legato style. not picking every note and rolling your fingers more and quicker. not sure just how quick you could go?

snowjaysnowjay replied on July 12th, 2009

Thanks Dave. I just wasn't sure what was a good speed to get to before I moved on to the minor scale lesson. I'm comfortable at 120bpm with all the scales now and can push myself up to around 140bpm. I've also been working on keeping my fingers close to the fretboard which helps a lot.

ethanmethanm replied on June 27th, 2009

Great lesson!

psketchleypsketchley replied on January 29th, 2009

Dave, I can play the scales pretty well & working hard at trying to remember the name of each note but what i can't get to grips with is where you play a chord such as C or E Major near the nut end of the neck & then play the chord higher up. I know the root note of C is the 6th string 8th fret but what is the fingering for a C or E at this part of the fret board.

shiroshiro replied on March 4th, 2009

the fingering for a c at the 8th fret is an E shaped barre chord. just make an F barre and move it up to the 8th fret

tangohuntertangohunter replied on February 28th, 2009

Dave, hooah.

omran2omran2 replied on February 5th, 2009

Hey Dave, I didn’t know you were in the Army! I have a lot of Army friends and let me tell you those guys work hard and play hard! I have a question about skipping lessons; which I’ve learned from day one is normally taboo on Jamplay! Currently I’m using beginner lessons from both you and Steve Eulberg. I’m definitely learning a lot but mostly in the Chord playing area. I’m practicing diligently but switching chords smoothly is taking me quite some time, which is ok but I’m getting a bit bored with playing chords and strumming in general. I do finger exercises and it’s a change from Chords but this too is getting monotonous (I do the exercises on every string going up and down the neck). So my question is, even though I’m only on the earlier chord lessons would there be any great harm in skipping ahead to your major scales lesson so I have something else to practice besides Chords or is that a recipe for disaster LOL.

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on February 5th, 2009

no problem adding scale exercises at all. go for it. if you are learning chords, scales go right along with all of that. even if you are just beginning i am a big believer in getting any and all techniques down as soon as possible. scales help with finger coordination and basic knowledge of the fretboard. also take a look at some of the cool lick lessons i did and see if any of those will work for you as well. so that is totally fine. just be patient, and have dicipline, and you'll gain a lot in a shorter time. you wont be Slash instantly, but you will be a better guitarist.

adris8adris8 replied on January 26th, 2009

Hey Dave! Thanks alot so far, since your one of the only few electric guitar teacher your were the best opt. This lesson is really good, took me awhile but it was well worth it to learn new patterns. I already knew Pentatonic Scale before this and it great that i could learn this one. TY Adris8

mattmc12001mattmc12001 replied on January 21st, 2009

Theres no video at least thats what my computer is saying "video stream not found" im pretty sure this is an important one please get it fixed i need to learn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ink2pushink2push replied on December 30th, 2008

what happen video to the e scales it show the o e then cut out and go right to the f. some one should check the video thatks JIMI

jboothjbooth replied on December 30th, 2008

I don't quite get what you are saying, could you give me some more info on what you believe is wrong? I just watched Scene 3 and he covers the E major scale, and then moves on to the F in scene 4.

wildcatlkwildcatlk replied on December 27th, 2008

I'm a rookie and not musically talented. I had no idea of what a scale was until now. Excellent instruction!

metalchurch504metalchurch504 replied on December 5th, 2008

sweet V dude.

bardseedbardseed replied on November 22nd, 2008

The 4th and 5th(F shape and other shapes) won't play. I worked the F out myself already knew the basic shape but I'm just letting you know.

felipefelipe replied on October 5th, 2008

David, I understand that circle of fifths indicates the key note to start and end a scale, in the exercises, #### indicates that that key note is E, and # indicates key note is G, or ##### indicates key note is B, but there are two exercises that start with different note to circle of fifths (2nd and 6th exercises), 2nd exercise starts with A flat and scale starts with F note, and 6th exercise starts with D flat/ C sharp and scale starts with C note, why? thank you for your help.

jeep15603jeep15603 replied on August 29th, 2008

Good lesson, but I would suggest Scene 5 be re-filmed if possible. Too many verbal slips with strings and frets confuse a new player...e.g. at one point you say the F note in "at the nut." No, it is on the first fret.

packetpacket replied on July 17th, 2008

Great Lesson. You made it very simple to understand without throwing too much theory around. Well done.

abadcoverbandabadcoverband replied on July 3rd, 2008

Hey Dave, Similar to what I did to the tab sheet for the Minor Scales, I've modified your sheet to include the names of each Major Scale as you reach them on each corresponding bar. You can check it out here: As before, if you want to take these and host them on the site rather than imageshack, that would be great. Cheers

gdomingosgdomingos replied on June 9th, 2008

Great lesson dave thanks!

flyrerflyrer replied on April 18th, 2008

Nice lesson DMAC very helpful

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on April 17th, 2008

just remember what i am trying to show you is a horizontal way up the neck first, and show patterns. other intsructors will show you other things as well. these will help tremendously when yo are playing lead guitar in the future. you can literally watch any one of your guitar heros and see just how much they use them. get these down and then we will progress from there. just with major and minor scales you can construct memorable solo's!!! this is only the beginning my metal/rock children! we will rule the world with our awesomeness!!! lol!!!!

hcsohcso replied on April 16th, 2008

Dave this may be a dumb question but are the scales used on electric guitar different from acoustic guitar? I did an acoustic lesson with a c scale and it's different. I assume different because of the building of power chords.

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on April 17th, 2008

yes, what jeff said! there all kinds of ways to play one particular scale(key of c for example). we will get into showing different variations on the neck so you can navigate anywhere. it'll be up to you to practise and remeber them! lol!!!

jboothjbooth replied on April 16th, 2008

Nope, they are not different :) The notes (assuming standard tuning) are identical on both guitars. Power chords are only primarily used on electric because they sound great with distortion. You can play them on an acoustic too but won't get the same feel.

cheesebombcheesebomb replied on April 15th, 2008

Great lesson Dave. Really helped me, thanks a lot :)

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on April 17th, 2008

your most welcome!!!

rhoadsfreakrhoadsfreak replied on April 15th, 2008

Hey Dave. Great lesson. Although I knew most of those patterns, I never sat and tried to learn the notes that went with them. Thanks for the kick in the pants. Keep up the good work.

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on April 15th, 2008

your most welcome. these will definitely boost the fluidity of your lead work and help tie a lot of things together down the road.

Basic Electric Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In his Phase 1 series, David MacKenzie will walk you through the basics of rock guitar.

Lesson 1

About the Guitar

David discusses the parts of the guitar. He also gives you some basic techniques to get you started.

Length: 31:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Power Chords

In this lesson, David introduces basic power chords. Great fun for beginners!

Length: 10:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Basic Chord Progressions

David introduces some basic chords and chord progressions.

Length: 14:15 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Notes, Chords and Arpeggios

David provides a brief explanation of what notes, chords, power chords, and arpeggios are.

Length: 8:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Speed and Coordination

This lesson is all about increasing your speed and coordination. David demonstrates basic picking exercises.

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Chord Exercises

David MacKenzie presents a mysterious sounding chord exercise. This exerices is designed to improve right hand technique.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Practice and Discipline

In this short lesson David talks about practice, discipline, and how you should apply yourself when learning and mastering the guitar.

Length: 6:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Double Stops

Double stops can bring new life to your rhythm and lead playing. David provides a short tutorial on what double stops are and how they can be used.

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

The Major Chords

David covers the basic major chord shapes. Every guitarist must learn these basic chords.

Length: 18:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

The Minor Chords

David MacKenzie walks you through the basic minor chords. Expand your knowledge of chords with this fun-filled lesson.

Length: 8:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Major Scales

Major scales are an essential component of all styles of music. They can also be used as a great way to orient yourself with the fretboard.

Length: 32:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Major Scale Jam

David MacKenzie explains how to practice the major scales along with a fun backing track.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

The Minor Scales

David MacKenzie proceeds to an in-depth discussion of the minor scales.

Length: 15:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Minor Scale Jam

David MacKenzie shows you how to play the natural minor scale over a rockin' JamTrack.

Length: 6:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

One String Exercise

David demonstrates an excellent one-string exercise in this lesson. This exercise will improve your dexterity and knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 16:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are techniques that enable you to play with a smooth, legato feel.

Length: 8:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Basic Bends

David MacKenzie gives a crash course on bending in this lesson. Bends can add a lot of soul to your playing.

Length: 16:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

Cool Rock Licks

David MacKenzie teaches two rock licks inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen and Kirk Hammett of Metallica.

Length: 12:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Hammer-On Exercise

David returns to the world of hammer-ons with a fun new exercise. This lesson includes a JamTrack.

Length: 13:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Return to Pull-Offs

David returns to the world of pull-offs with a new exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 12:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Practicing Bends

David MacKenzie returns to bending technique in this lesson. This lesson features a backing track that is designed for bending practice.

Length: 12:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Basic Vibrato

Integrating vibrato into your guitar playing is a great way to add emotion and soul. David MacKenzie explains the basics of vibrato in this lesson.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie introduces the pentatonic scale.

Length: 5:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Minor Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie introduces the minor pentatonic scale in this lesson.

Length: 4:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Full Major Scale

David MacKenzie explains a two octave pattern of the major scale.

Length: 11:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Full Minor Scale

David MacKenzie introduces a two octave natural minor scale pattern.

Length: 12:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

Full Major Pentatonic Scale

David teaches a two octave pattern of the major pentatonic scale.

Length: 6:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Full Minor Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie teaches a two octave version of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 9:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Cool Lick

David MacKenzie teaches several licks based on common arpeggio patterns. This lesson also includes a backing track to jam with.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Rhythm Basics

David MacKenzie introduces some important rhythm basics in this lesson. This lesson also includes a backing track exercise.

Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Power Chord Variations

David MacKenzie explains various power chord voicings. By simply moving a finger or two, new power chords can be formed.

Length: 18:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Cool Lick Exercise

David MacKenzie introduces some new amazing licks.

Length: 29:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Tapping Exercise

David MacKenzie introduces the tapping technique and teaches a fun exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 22:44 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 34

Tapping Exercise #2

David MacKenzie teaches another amazing tapping exercise.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Tapping #3: Adding Open Strings

The third tapping lesson elaborates on the previous lesson by adding open strings.

Length: 12:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Tapping #4: Diminished Lick

The fourth lesson in Dave's tapping series deals with a monster diminished lick.

Length: 11:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

Tapping #5

In lesson five of his tapping mini-series, DMac provides backing tracks that you can tap over.

Length: 8:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Tremolo Technique

In lesson 38, DMac demonstrates some tremolo techniques to add to your repertoire.

Length: 13:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Tapping #6

DMac returns to his tapping instruction with more advanced techniques.

Length: 19:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Chord Structures

In lesson 40, DMac teaches you how to play various D chords all the way up the neck.

Length: 9:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 41


In lesson 41, David discusses the octave and its uses while playing.

Length: 17:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only

About David MacKenzie View Full Biography Dave MacKenzie has been playing guitar for 30 of his 45 years on this earth. Starting back when he was 14 years old, Dave picked up the guitar and started to learn from his oldest brother, who had played some guitar as well. Dave was hooked, and couldn't learn fast enough! Everything from the Beatles, Chicago, Ted Nugent, The Eagles, you name it, Dave was trying to play it.

Then as with a lot of players out there, Eddie Van Halen came along and changed the way guitar was played! Dave has been influenced by anyone he has heard play guitar, literally! Always keeping an open mind and a humbleness about him has helped him to keep learning new things on, and about the guitar.

Dave has mostly played in top 40 rock, country, and pop bands. He is most recently playing guitar and keyboards in a 80's metal band called Open Fire. They have opened for Warrant, Firehouse, Winger, and LA Guns within the 3 and a half years they have been together, and are now jumping into original music.

Dave believes you should have internal motivation, and passion to play guitar, and most definitely, it should be fun!

As with his playing, Dave will find new ways to show you how to get the most out of your time learning guitar!

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.

David Isaacs David Isaacs

JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

Free LessonSeries Details
Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Kaki King Kaki King

In lesson 6, Kaki discusses how the left and right hands can work together or independently of each other to create different...

Free LessonSeries Details
Erik Mongrain Erik Mongrain

Erik expounds on the many possibilities of open tunings and the new harmonics that you can use in them. He explains what...

Free LessonSeries Details
Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

Miche introduces several new chord concepts that add color and excitement to any progression.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mary Flower Mary Flower

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

Free LessonSeries Details
Peter Einhorn Peter Einhorn

JamPlay is proud to introduce jazz guitarist Peter Einhorn. In this lesson series, Peter will discuss and demonstrate a way...

Free LessonSeries Details
Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

Free LessonSeries Details
Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

Hawkeye teaches several Robert Johnson licks in this lesson. These licks are played with a slide in open G tuning.

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.

Brent-Anthony Johnson Brent-Anthony Johnson

Just like with the plucking hand, Brent-Anthony shows us the basics of proper fretting hand technique. In addition, he shows...

Free LessonSeries Details
Danny Morris Danny Morris

Hone in on your right hand and focus on getting in the groove. You'll only play one note during this lesson, but it'll be...

Free LessonSeries Details
James Malone James Malone

James explains how to tap arpeggios for extended musical reach.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mark Brennan Mark Brennan

Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock song by Jethro Tull. Released on the album of the same name in 1971, this song features...

Free LessonSeries Details
Daniel Gilbert Daniel Gilbert

Known around the world for his inspirational approach to guitar instruction, Musician's Institute veteran Daniel Gilbert...

Free LessonSeries Details
Larry Cook Larry Cook

In this lesson, Larry discusses and demonstrates how to tune your bass. He explains why tuning is critical and discusses...

Free LessonSeries Details
Jane Miller Jane Miller

Jane Miller talks about chord solos in part one of this fascinating mini-series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Will Ripley Will Ripley

Join Will Ripley as he gives us all the details of his series, "Rock Guitar for Beginners". You'll be playing cool rock riffs...

Free LessonSeries Details
Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

Free LessonSeries Details
Tosin Abasi Tosin Abasi

Tosin explains some of the intricacies of the 8 string guitar such as his personal setup and approach to playing.

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 480641 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 86 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!