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Basic Scale Locator

The Basic Scale Locator locates scale positions on any tuning for most of the common scales and modes. Let me know if you think I've omitted an important scale.

Select Tuning
Select Scale

Enter a scale root (C, F#, Bb...), select a scale type and press the Find Positions button.

Filtering Options

Maximum Fret Width of Results:

Display Options

Note Labeling:

Sorting Options:

Show Results as:


The Basic Scale Locator is a tool that allows you to locate the common scales and modes on any steel guitar. To run a basic scale search, do the following:

  1. Select a tuning from the Select Tuning dropdown menu.
  2. Enter a scale root using normal notation (C, F#, Bb, ...).
  3. Select a scale type from the Select Scale Type dropdown menu.
  4. Click the Find Positions button.

Display and Filter Options

The Search Summary

The top line of results summarizes the tuning, chord root, chord type, and some of the other settings used for the search. The line below summarizes the outcome of the search: whether or not the search succeeded, if there was a results overflow, and the number of results displayed.

The 'Prefer Bar Zigzag' Option

In general it's easier to play scales if you move the bar moving back and forth on your way up the scale. If you want to play the scale in a crisp, legato manner, moving the bar twice in the same direction can put a strain on your arm and can slow you down. If you check this option, the results will contain no such "double movement" toward the nut or bridge. Setting this option greatly reduces the number of scales found so you may want to uncheck this option if very few scales are located in your search. This option is checked by default.

The 'Avoid String Skips' Option

It's much easier to play scales if you can stay on the same string or play an adjacent string. String skips can make scale playing difficult. Check this option to confine results to scales where string skips are not required. This option is checked by default.

The 'Fret Width of Results' Option

It's easier to play a scale if you don't have to "chase" notes up and down the fretboard. With this option you can limit your search to scales where all the notes are within a fairly small fret range. You can choose a width of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 frets. The default value is set to a width of 3 frets.

Warning: If Prefer Bar Zigzag is unchecked and a larger Fret Width is used, your search may result in overflow. In this event, only some of the results will be shown.

Hide Upper Octave Positions

A new feature in the current version is the Hide Positions Above Fret 12 checkbox. This is useful because, more often than not, positions above fret 12 simply mirror results shown an octave below, cluttering up the results. By default, this option is unchecked.

Note Labeling

You can choose to label your results with note names or chord degrees, or you can choose to omit labels (chord degrees is the default option).

Sorting Options

Display Options

You can show your search results as either Tablature (the default option) or Fretboards. Note that fretboards are much improved over previous versions and take up way less space. Note also that if you select Fretboards, open string positions will be colored tan, a nice visual aid.

If you think I've omitted an important scale, please let me know. In general, I want to avoid an exhaustive listing of seldom used scales.