Okay, now let's look at the F major scale. The key signature for
F major is one flat (Bb). What that means is that the F major scale
has all the same notes in it as the C major scale, except it has a Bb instead
of a B. So, here are the notes of the two scales:
The patterns are very similar, but there are a couple of important differences:
• The F scale has a Bb (the A string first fret) in it instead of a B (the A string second fret)
• The F scale, as played using this pattern, doesn't start on an F
Don't freak out about that second difference! Of course, there is an F major scale that starts on an F: if you take the C scale pattern, and move it up to the fifth fret, you'll be playing a more conventional F scale. We'll take a closer look at that in a minute, but for now let's stick with this new pattern. It might be hard to feel good about a scale that starts in the middle of the familiar "Do Re Me...", but it's useful to be able to play scales like this too. What we accomplish with this pattern is to give you another way to play all of the notes of the scale in sequence, even though that sequence doesn't start on the tonic note, "Do". (At this point, a purist might start talking about mixolydian mode, but we'll ignore those informed but confusing comments for now.)
For now, let's look at moving the F scale pattern up the fretboard to
play scales in different keys. Just as we did with the C scale pattern,
we can do the same thing with the F pattern. For example, if you
move this pattern up two frets, you'll be playing a G major scale:
Notice that, just as when we moved the C pattern up the fretboard, the fingering must be done differently. So, like the C scale, the fingering for the F scale is a special case. All of the other scales are fingered as you see in the example of the G scale.
Also notice that the G scale still isn't a scale that starts on the
tonic note, or "Do" (in this case, G). Don't worry about that, though
– it can be a useful feature when you're playing improvisation.
You'll see that when you start applying these scales to a song.