F major scale

Looking to master the F major scale? We talk about F major scale, scale degrees, related modes, and more – so feel free to stick around to the end!

If you’ve got a couple of scales under your belt and would like to improve dexterity around the frets, check out the 3nps major scale patterns – we’ve made you a free printable pattern as well!

F Major Scale

Dreaded by many but loved by even more, the F major chord is one of the hurdles for many beginner guitarists who are trying to learn the basic chords. Once you’ve learned the major chord, you’re well on the path to learning more on the instrument.

The F major scale is a diatonic scale consisting of the following notes:

F, G, A, Bb, C, D, and E.

f major scale in two octaves

If you’re familiar with major scales, you already know that the I, IV, and V degrees are major, ii, iii, & vi degrees are minor, and the vii degree is diminished.

Whether you play the F major scale on a guitar or the vibraphone, the notes don’t change – so once you learn them, you’re good to go.

Chords in F major scale

The chords that naturally occur in the F major scale are:

  • F major (F A C)
  • G minor (G Bb D)
  • A minor (A C E)
  • Bb major (Bb D F)
  • C major (C E G)
  • D minor (D F A) &
  • E diminished (E G Bb)

Modes in F major scale

You can easily derive different modes from the F major scale by starting on a different degree of the parent scale. The reason it’s necessary to focus on modes and variations in the scale is because, each mode evokes a specific feeling, and learning all the modes will allow you to express yourself more thoughtfully. It’s also one of the ways you can hone your sound.

Ionian (F major):

Notes: F G A Bb C D E

Formula: W-W-H-W-W-W-H

Intervals: Root, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th, Major 7th, Octave

Quality: Bright and cheerful; standard major scale with major third and major seventh intervals.

Bright, optimistic, and uplifting. You can find this mode in cheesy commercials, happy songs, and children’s lullabies, and it’s the de-facto scale in Western music.

Dorian (G minor):

Notes: G A Bb C D E F

Formula: W-H-W-W-W-H-W

Intervals: Root, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th, Major 7th, Octave

Quality: Minor tonality with a major 6th, giving it a slightly brighter and more uplifting sound than natural minor.

Jazzy and bluesy, the Dorian mode is found predominantly in the blues but you can add it to any style of music if you want to add a touch of expressiveness.

Phrygian (A minor):

Notes: A Bb C D E F G

Formula: H-W-W-W-H-W-W

Intervals: Root, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th, Major 7th, Octave

Quality: Dark and exotic; features a flat second interval, creating tension and drama.

I associate Phrygian mode with a sense of unease and it can sound very mysterious and exotic. It’s commonly found in Mexican and Spanish genres like Flamenco – this is one mode you will definitely enjoy learning!

Lydian (Bb major):

Notes: Bb C D E F G A

Formula: W-W-W-H-W-W-H

Intervals: Root, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th, Major 7th, Octave

Quality: Major scale with a raised fourth; Dreamy and ethereal

I find Lydian to be brighter than the Ionian mode. If you’re trying to compose something fantastical and want a touch of magic in your music, Lydian is your guy! The mode oozes wonder and fantasy, and you can find the mode anywhere from Legend of Zelda’s soundtracks to Satriani’s solos.

Mixolydian (C major):

Notes: C D E F G A Bb

Formula: W-W-H-W-W-H-W

Intervals: Root, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th, Major 7th, Octave

Quality: Major scale with a flat seventh interval; Nostalgic; groovy;

Another essential scale in a blues guitarist’s arsenal! The myxolydian has been popularly used in songs like Scarborough Fair and INXS Afterglow. It’s hard to describe what it feels like – it can sound bluesy in a rock context, and beautiful in a chill composition.

Aeolian (D minor):

Notes: D E F G A Bb C

Formula: W-H-W-W-H-W-W

Intervals: Root, Major 2nd, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Minor 6th, Minor 7th, Octave

Quality: Natural minor with minor third and minor sixth intervals; Sad and melancholic

Looking to make your music sad and intense? The aeolian offers a deep sorrowful sound that’s been heavily used in modern metal and rock.

Locrian (E diminished):

Notes: E F G A Bb C D E

Formula: H-W-W-H-W-W-W

Intervals: Root, Minor 2nd, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Diminished 5th, Minor 6th, Minor 7th, Octave

Quality: Diminished fifth interval; Dissonant and unresolved;

Locrian is a mode that I find unsettling and unresolved. I think the sound is like that of a lover yearning for her partner to come back but the events don’t play out in her favor, and she has no way to know if he’s coming back. If you’re picky about which modes to learn, you can skip locrian – it’s dissonant and doesn’t have that many uses in mainstream music.


Keep in mind that I’ve mentioned the common uses of the modes. Most modes are also being used in many other genres like bebop and classical. It just takes a trained ear to discern the tonality, and you can easily recognize which mode is being used in a particular song.

I highly recommend learning the 3 notes per string major scale patterns so you can easily navigate across the fretboard. Feel free to combine these shapes and practice till you are very comfortable improvising with the shapes.

You may have noticed that the major/ minor third is what can change if a particular scale sounds happy/sad. The fifth is responsible for stability. Knowing that you can easily play around with scale degrees and intervals until you are satisfied!

You may also want to check our easy guide on learning the A minor pentatonic scale if you want to get started playing rock solos!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *