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The Second Position C Scale


You may be thinking: "Why learn the second position C scale?"

Especially if you already know how to play the C-Major scale in first position, do you really need to learn the same scale all over again?

Yes, and here's why:

SIDEBAR: Second Position means that your index finger naturally plays second fret notes (two up from the nut). Fifth position would mean your hand has moved to where your index finger naturally falls onto the fifth fret, and so on for other position references...

A Quick Review

In the lesson on the first position C scale you learned the notes of the C Major scale, and how to play that scale on guitar. You also learned that the terms 'C scale' and 'C Major scale' are used interchangeably.

Here's the TAB for the first position C scale, showing frets to play, which finger to use, and the note you're playing:

3 open 2 3 open 2 open 1 <- Finger
C D E F G A B C <--Note

Here are the notes on the fretboard (notes shown to the left of the nut are played open):


First Position C-Scale Notes

First position C scale notes.


Playing The Second Position C Scale

Begin by moving your fretboard hand (the left hand for right-handed players) up to second position. Your index finger should naturally fall onto the strings at the second fret when you squeeze your hand.

Next, find the C note on the A string. The A string is the second thickest string. The C note is at the third fret. Press down on this fret with the tip of your middle finger. This is the first C note of the scale you're about to play.

SIDEBAR: If you learned the first position C scale, you may have noticed that this C note is the same one you played to begin that scale. That's because we're playing the same scale, just in a new position.

What's different is that you'll use different fingers in this new position. You'll also use different frets for the D, B, and G notes. In first position, these three notes were played open. Now, they'll be played on the fretboard.


Here's the TAB for the second position C scale:

2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4 <- Finger
C D E F G A B C <--Note


Here are the notes you'll play:

Second Position C Scale Notes

Second position C scale notes.


Here are the fingers you'll use:

Second Position C Scale Fingerings

Second position C scale fingerings.


Take a look at our video sample, then try it yourself!


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