Lessons > Scale Theory > The Chromatic Scale

The Chromatic Scale

There are only 12 different notes that you can play on the guitar. They are labelled as:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

Or...

A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab

These 12 notes are referred to as the chromatic scale. Notice how there are two ways of labelling the 12 notes. The '#' is a sharp symbol and means 'raised by a semitone'. The 'b' is a flat symbol and means 'lowered by a semitone'. For example, if we were descending in pitch we may say 'Bb' instead of 'A#'.

Your guitar has a chromatic layout. Each open string on a guitar is tuned to a certain note, as shown below:

E --------------------------------1ST
B --------------------------------2ND
G --------------------------------3RD
D --------------------------------4TH
A --------------------------------5TH
E --------------------------------6TH

Each string is then divided by frets. Each fret produces the next note in the chromatic scale. For example the notes on the E string are shown below: