How to Play the E Scale on Guitar

e scale on guitar

When first starting to learn these enclosures, using a diagram may be helpful until the shape has become part of your memory. Doing this will allow you to play scales without needing TAB sheets or scale boxes!

This diagram can assist in finding the notes of an E scale on your fretboard. Pay special attention to fingerings, and try to understand each note’s color against its key center.

Scale Positions

E Major may be one of the easier scales to learn on guitar, yet some notes at specific fretboard positions can prove challenging for beginners. To make things simpler for beginning students, E Major can be broken up into enclosures that are easier to memorize and understand as each shares similar patterns with its predecesor and successor positions; the goal being forming relationships between patterns so you can move them easily across your fingerboard while playing songs in different keys.

The E scale begins on the fifth fret of the low E string. This section, commonly referred to as “E”, contains its tonic note – also the root note of whatever key you are playing in. Beginners often start off playing this scale using barre chords because this gives access to all strings on your fretboard.

Another good reason for starting in this position is that it helps you practice notes from the minor scale, which are commonly featured in popular songs. Furthermore, this gives an introduction to C major key and its key signature; something which will come in handy later when studying other scales.

As you practice enclosures, pay special attention to every note to make sure it sounds clean and clear. After this has been accomplished, move around the fretboard in search of these scale patterns in other spots; doing this will increase both speed and dexterity while expanding knowledge about which chords can be formed from each scale shape.

Once you feel ready, try this same pattern on the third fret of the sixth string. This provides an opportunity to practice playing C minor scale notes at fret two on second string; giving a feeling for the entire fretboard and giving an in-depth knowledge of CAGED system.


There have been many songs composed in E Major. Therefore, guitar players should know which chords correspond with this scale as understanding them will enable them to compose and improvise more effectively.

E Major is one of the easiest scales to learn compared to others that require greater fretboard knowledge. One way of remembering it quickly and efficiently is through CAGED system; which consists of series of fretboard shapes used to position fingers. This method can help newcomers visualize fretboard layout and learn quickly through visual aids like this method.

Once you’ve mastered the E Major scale in open position, try playing it in different positions on the fretboard. This will familiarize yourself with more areas of the fretboard and help you move around more efficiently while building finger strength and muscle memory. Practice by playing this scale repeatedly while paying special attention to clean fretting and correct finger placement; using a metronome or tapping your foot along with its beat can keep your rhythm while encouraging faster finger movement.

To practice scales effectively, it can be helpful to play them repeatedly with a drone in the key of E as this will allow you to identify each scale degree’s different colors while making it easier for you to remember what each scale sounds like in specific key centers.

Once you have mastered these chords, the next step should be working on more challenging ones. For instance, the E minor scale contains several chords which can be played. While more challenging to play than their simpler counterparts, these more intricate ones will add new sounds and help create more engaging music.


The E major scale is one of the keystones of guitar, offering ease, ergonomic comfort and expressive potential in equal measures. It can be found everywhere from classic rock ballads to fingerstyle compositions – and its relative minor C# Minor expands a guitarist’s abilities to improvise or compose in more emotionally varied musical landscapes.

Like all major scales, each major scale follows its own formula for construction. Each degree contains seven notes before repeating at an octave higher and can be played horizontally or vertically on the fretboard. Many guitarists develop multiple enclosure patterns so they can play it at various parts of their neck.

One of the most commonly employed approaches to playing the E major scale on guitar is fifth position. To do this, start off fretting the root note (E) on a low E string using your index finger, before moving up to fret two of a high E string where an F# chord can now be heard – something not all guitarists may know how to do!

Another method for performing the E major scale is in fourth position. To do this, begin on the low E string which corresponds with its root note, E, then move your index finger up the string three frets until your index finger lands on the third fret on high E string; now you can play an A chord which is one of the more frequently found chords in Em.

When playing scales on guitar, it is essential that you take time and care when performing them. While it can be tempting to simply rush through them without fully paying attention, this could lead to lack of crisp rhythm that could potentially compromise their effectiveness.

For proper E major scale playback, it’s necessary to possess both a sense of rhythm and firm knowledge of all finger positions. To cultivate these talents, practice scales using a metronome until you can perform them at an acceptable tempo without missing any notes.


Practising E major scale and other enclosure patterns is an excellent way to develop finger strength, fretboard knowledge and picking hand technique. Utilizing a metronome will also assist with keeping a consistent beat while playing these patterns, helping your fingers build strength and muscle memory faster as you become stronger players.

Keep this in mind as you practice, remembering that each note in a scale has an associated “natural” chord – C, D and G from E major scale are natural chords; no sharps or flats exist within these natural chords and they will sound exactly the same whether played on strings one octave higher or lower than them. Between each natural chord lies one or more sharps or flats – musically termed as steps between sharps or flats.

Your first enclosure pattern to learn will be found between the fourth and seventh frets on your guitar. It is based on an open C Major chord shape we learned earlier, moving up the fretboard until tracing out an E major scale outline. When practicing this enclosure pattern be sure to focus on cleanly fretting each note while perfecting picking hand positioning for maximum effect.

Another enclosure you should practice is the third, which resides between the sixth and tenth frets on your guitar. While this pattern covers two full octaves, it still offers great benefits if learned properly. Beginning here can give you an understanding of quickly traversing up the fretboard while maintaining proper finger positions on its frets.

The fifth enclosure we will cover lies between the eighth and twelfth frets on your guitar, and can be difficult to grasp initially due to its non-traditional structure. Once understood though, playing it becomes much simpler as it acts like a minor scale with sharps and flats replacing natural notes.