How To Play The D Major Scale on Guitar

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In this article, we will learn how to play the D major scale, which is also known as the “Master D major scale.” That terminology is rarely used in the community, but that is another way of saying the same. The reason why it is called the Master D major scale is that the D major scale is used as a reference point for all other types of D major scales.

This scale is crucial for beginners to learn and one of the first scales that are taught to newbies because of its relevance. It is used in many, many songs, old and new, and is also fairly easy to learn, making it a great beginner pick. Let us begin:

Notes that are used in the D major scale

The notes that are mainly used in D major scale is 

D – E – F# – G – A – B – C#

These are the notes that the D major scale contains. The B minor scale is the relative minor of the D major scale. That is because both of them are made up of the same notes. The order is different, though.

The reason why this scale is called the “D major scale” is because the root of this scale is the note “D.” The root can also be called the starting note of the scale. It is this starting note or root note after which the scale is named. In this case, we are talking about the D major scale, so the root or starting note is D, thus the name.

There are several ways of playing the D major scale. However, since I am targeting this article towards beginners, we will look at the two most common and easy ways of playing it. Also, instead of guitar scale diagrams, I will be writing down tabs. The argument of which one is better will forever rage on, but in my experience, students tend to find tabs way easier than diagrams, so I am going to go with that.

The D major scale in Open Positions:

Make sure your guitar is in the standard tuning.

- Descending:

  • Step 1: Starting from the 4th string, you go 0-2-4
  • Step 2: On the 3rd string, you play 0-2-4
  • Step 3: Play the 2-3 on the 2nd string
  • Step 4: Play 0-2-3 on the 1 string



D    0 2 4

G              0 2 4

B                        2 3

E                               0 2 3

- Ascending:

  • Step 1: From the 1st string, you must go up now. Play 3-2-0
  • Step 2: On the 2nd string, play 3-2
  • Step 3: On the 3rd string, play 4-2-0
  • Step 4: Play 4-2-0 on the 4th string



D                           4 2 0

G                   4 2 0

B             3 2

E   3 2 0

The above were Open Position tabs for the D major scale. This was the easiest way of playing the D major scale. If you wish to crank it up a notch, try the 6th position tabs. They are as follows:


The above article was for beginners wanting to learn the D major scale. I tried being as straightforward and clear as possible, so I hope this article was helpful!

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