the d & a major scales

By now you should feel some familiarity with the construction of the Major Scale, as it has been covered extensively in Lessons Four and Nine. We’re going to continue down this road, and learn two new scales, D Major and A Major. It's probably a good time to point out a flaw in the way people think about learning new scales. People are wired to think that things get harder as they progress, and most of the time they are right. Scales don't work this way. The first two scales you learned, C & G, are as difficult to memorize and play as any of the ones you'll learn down the road. Don't defeat yourself by imagining things to be harder than they are. At the same time it's very dangerous to underestimate anything, no matter how easy it may seem. Take every task seriously or it won't work out well, no matter how simple it may seem on the surface.

The hard part with the scales is not confusing them with one another. This simply takes time and patience. As far as I'm concerned, you have no time limit. I want you to be thorough, and practice these until they're in your DNA (I’d like to thank my good friend Johnny Barber for that pun). The patience part is up to you.

Do you remember how to build a major scale? We begin with the chromatic scale, which is composed of only half-steps, giving you all of the notes that exist. Once again, it is as follows:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

First let’s assemble the two scales alphabetically. First we’ll construct D, by treating D as the Root, and following the formula Root-W-W-H-W-W-W-H. If you follow the steps correctly you’ll end up with D E F# G A B C# D. Next, do the same thing beginning from A and you’ll wind up with A B C# D E F# G# A.

Below are the fingerings for the D Major and A Major scales for you to learn and memorize. The fingering for the A gets interesting. In addition to the fact that it’s a two-octave fingering, you’re going to use a slightly different fingering on the way back than you did going up. Use your pinky for both 14 and 15 on the way up. On the way down hit 14 with your third finger and 13 with your first. When you get to 11 on the second string revert back to normal, using your third finger on the third fret and so on.

D & A Major Scales

Here’s a video demonstrating the A Major Scale. Pay attention to the fingering change on the first string.