Saxophone Major Scales: Full Range Note-by-note Fingering Charts

Saxophone Major Scales: Full Range Note-by-note Fingering Charts

I've touched on how to play saxophone scales ,here and there, in this blog. Today I want to run through all the major scales in a nice and easy step-by-step guide to show you how to play all of the notes.

Scales are such an important part of playing the saxophone.

This article will be a comprehensive introductory lesson to all of the major scales on the saxophone. We will cover all the major scales just off of one octave and run through how to play the notes by looking at the fingerings.

There are both major and minor scales. If you were looking for just major scales, here is the saxophone major scales guide.

If you were looking for the minor pentatonic scales, here is the saxophone minor pentatonic scales guide. And if you were looking for the major pentatonic scales instead, here is the saxophone major pentatonic scales guide.

Let's dive right in.

Saxophone Major Scales: Full Range Note-by-note Fingering Charts

All Major Scales on the Saxophone

What we're going to do to cover all the major scales on the saxophone is start off with D-major and then run each scale over one octave only up and down and then move up in semitones all the way up.

Okay?

Good.

Here is a list of all major scales:

Let's get started.

The D Major Scale

So the first scale on the saxophone—the D-major scale. This scale has two sharps—F-sharp and C-sharp.

Here are the notes of the D-major scale:

  1. Low D
  2. E
  3. F-sharp
  4. G
  5. A
  6. B
  7. C-sharp
  8. D
The D major scale music sheet

Here are the fingering charts of the D-major scale:

Note #1 — Low D

It's starts from Low D

The D-major scale, Low D fingering chart

Note #2 — E

The D-major scale, E fingering chart

Note #3 — F-sharp

There are two fingerings for F-sharp, the main (most common) fingering and the F-sharp side key alternate fingering.

The D-major scale, f-sharp fingering chart The D-major scale, Alternate F-sharp fingering chart

Note #4 — G

The D-major scale, G fingering chart

Note #5 — A

The D-major scale, A fingering chart

Note #6 — B

The D-major scale, B fingering chart

Note #7 — C-sharp

With C-sharp, you are not holding any keys down on the saxophone.

The D-major scale, C sharp fingering chart

Note #8 — D

The fingering for this note is similar with the Low D but with the octave key. It is an octave above Low D.

The D-major scale, D fingering chart

The E-flat Major Scale

The next scale is E-flat major scale. This scale has three flats—E-flat, A-flat and D-flat.

Here are the notes of the E-flat Major scale:

  1. E-flat
  2. F
  3. G
  4. A-flat
  5. B-flat
  6. C
  7. D
  8. E-flat
The E-flat major scale music notation

Here are the fingering charts of the E-flat Major scale:

Note #1 — E-flat

The E-flat major scale, E-flat fingering chart

Note #2 — F

The E-flat major scale, F fingering chart

Note #3 — G

The E-flat major scale, G fingering chart

Note #4 — A-flat

The enharmonic equivalent for A-flat is G-sharp, so the fingerings are similar.

The E-flat major scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart

The above fingering is the main one, but there are three alternate fingerings using different table keys as follows:

The E-flat major scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart The E-flat major scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart The E-flat major scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart

Note #5 — B-flat

B-flat has a lot of options. There are three main fingerings:

The E-flat major scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart The E-flat major scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart The E-flat major scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart

And then, there are two alternate fingerings:

The E-flat major scale, B-flat fingering chart The E-flat major scale, B-flat fingering chart

Note #6 — C

The E-flat major scale, C fingering chart

And there is one alternate fingering:

The E-flat major scale, C fingering chart

Note #7 — D

The E-flat major scale, D fingering chart

Note #7 — E-flat

This E-flat is an octave higher than the previous one above.

The E-flat major scale, E-flat fingering chart

The E Major Scale

The next scale we are going to look at is the E major scale. This scale has four sharp; F-sharp, G-sharp, C-sharp and D-sharp.

Here are the notes of the E major scale:

  1. E
  2. F-sharp
  3. G-sharp
  4. A
  5. B
  6. C-sharp
  7. D-sharp
  8. E
The E major scale music notation

And here are the fingering charts for the E major scale:

Note #1 — E

The E major scale, E with octave fingering chart

Note #2 — F-sharp

F-sharp has one main fingering:

The E major scale, F-sharp fingering chart

And one alternate fingering:

The E major scale, F-sharp fingering chart

Note #3 — G-sharp

G-sharp has one main fingering:

The E major scale, G-sharp fingering chart

And three alternate fingerings:

The E major scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart The E major scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart The E major scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart

So you have a lot of options with the table keys here.

Note #4 — A

The E major scale, A fingering chart

Note #5 — B

The E major scale, B fingering chart

Note #6 — C-sharp

The E major scale, C-sharp fingering chart

Note #7 — D-sharp

D-sharp is an enharmonic equivalent of E-flat so the fingerings are the same.

The E major scale, D-sharp or E-flat fingering chart

Note #8 — E

This E is an octave above the previous one.

The E major scale, E with octave key fingering chart

The F Major Scale

The next scale we are going to look at is the F major scale. This scale has one flat: B-flat.

As with all the other scales we have looked at, there are seven different notes in this scale with the first note repeated an octave higher at the end.

Here are the notes of the E major scale:

  1. F
  2. G
  3. A
  4. B-flat
  5. C
  6. D
  7. E
  8. F
The F major scale music notation

And here are the fingering charts for the F major scale:

Note #1 — F

The F major scale, F fingering chart

Note #2 — G

The F major scale, G fingering chart

Note #3 — A

The F major scale, A fingering chart

Note #4 — B-flat

The main fingerings:

The F major scale, B-flat fingering chart The F major scale, B-flat fingering chart The F major scale, B-flat fingering chart

And the fingerings:

The F major scale, B-flat alternate fingering chart The F major scale, B-flat alternate fingering chart

Note #5 — C

The main fingering:

The F major scale, C fingering chart

The alternate fingering:

The F major scale, C fingering chart

Note #6 — D

The F major scale, D fingering chart

Note #7 — E

The F major scale, E with octave key fingering chart

Note #8 — F

The F major scale, F with octave key fingering chart

The F-sharp Major Scale

The next scale we are going to look at is the F-sharp major scale. The F sharp major scale contains 6 sharps: F-sharp, G-sharp, A-sharp, C-sharp, D-sharp, and E-sharp.

Here are the notes of the F-sharp scale:

  1. F-sharp
  2. G-sharp
  3. A-sharp
  4. B
  5. C-sharp
  6. D-sharp
  7. E-sharp
  8. F-sharp
The F major scale music notation

And here are the fingering charts for the F-sharp major scale:

Note #1 — F-sharp

The F major scale, key fingering chart The F major scale, key fingering chart

Note #2 — G-sharp

The F major scale, key fingering chart The F major scale, key fingering chart The F major scale, key fingering chart The F major scale, key fingering chart

Note #3 — A-sharp

The F major scale, key fingering chart The F major scale, key fingering chart The F major scale, key fingering chart The F major scale, key fingering chart The F major scale, key fingering chart

Note #4 — B

The F major scale, key fingering chart

Note #5 — C-sharp

The F major scale, key fingering chart

Note #6 — D-sharp

The F major scale, key fingering chart

Note #7 — E-sharp

The F major scale, key fingering chart

Note #8 — F-sharp

The F major scale, with octave key fingering chart The F major scale, with octave key fingering chart

The G Major Scale

As with all the other scales we have looked at, there are seven different notes in this scale with the first note repeated an octave higher at the end.

Here are the notes of the G major scale:

  1. G
  2. A
  3. B
  4. C
  5. D
  6. E
  7. F-sharp
  8. G

And here are the fingering charts for the G major scale:

Note #1 — G

The G major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — A

The G major scale, fingering chart

Note #3 — B

The G major scale, fingering chart

Note #4 — C

The G major scale, fingering chart The G major scale, fingering chart

Note #5 — D

The G major scale, fingering chart

Note #6 — E

The G major scale, fingering chart

Note #7 — F-sharp

The G major scale, fingering chart The G major scale, fingering chart

Note #8 — G

The G major scale, fingering chart

The A-flat Major Scale

As with all the other scales we have looked at, there are seven different notes in this scale with the first note repeated an octave higher at the end.

Here are the notes of the A-flat major scale:

  1. A-flat
  2. B-flat
  3. C
  4. D-flat
  5. E-flat
  6. F
  7. G
  8. A-flat

And here are the fingering charts for the A-flat major scale:

Note #1 — A-flat

The G major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — B-flat

The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #3 — C

The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #4 — D-flat

The A-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #5 — E-flat

The A-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #6 — F

The A-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #7 — G

The A-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #8 — A-flat

The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart The A-flat major scale, fingering chart

The A Major Scale

The next scale we are going to look at is the A major scale. This scale has three sharps: C-sharp, F-sharp and G-sharp.

As with all the other scales we have looked at, there are seven different notes in this scale with the first note repeated an octave higher at the end.

Here are the notes of the A major scale:

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C-sharp
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F-sharp
  7. G-sharp
  8. A

And here are the fingering charts for the A major scale:

Note #1 — A

The A major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — B

The A major scale, fingering chart

Note #3 — C-sharp

The A major scale, fingering chart

Note #4 — D

The A major scale, fingering chart

Note #5 — E

The A major scale, fingering chart

Note #6 — F-sharp

The A major scale, fingering chart The A major scale, fingering chart

Note #7 — G-sharp

The A major scale, fingering chart The A major scale, fingering chart The A major scale, fingering chart The A major scale, fingering chart

Note #8 — A

The A major scale, fingering chart

The B-flat Major Scale

The next scale we are going to look at is the B-flat major scale. This scale has two flats: B-flat and E-flat.

As with all the other scales we have looked at, there are seven different notes in this scale with the first note repeated an octave higher at the end.

Here are the notes of the B-flat major scale:

  1. B-flat
  2. C
  3. D
  4. E-flat
  5. F
  6. G
  7. A
  8. B-flat

And here are the fingering charts for the B-flat major scale:

Note #1 — B-flat

The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — C

The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #3 — D

The B-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #4 — E-flat

The B-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #5 — F

The B-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #6 — G

The B-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #7 — A

The B-flat major scale, fingering chart

Note #8 — B-flat

The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart The B-flat major scale, fingering chart

The B Major Scale

The next scale we are going to look at is the B major scale. This scale has five sharps: C-sharp, D-sharp, F-sharp, G-sharp and A-sharp.

As with all the other scales we have looked at, there are seven different notes in this scale with the first note repeated an octave higher at the end.

Here are the notes of the B major scale:

  1. B
  2. C-sharp
  3. D-sharp
  4. E
  5. F-sharp
  6. G-sharp
  7. A-sharp
  8. B

And here are the fingering charts for the B major scale:

Note #1 — B

The B major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — C-sharp

The B major scale, fingering chart

Note #3 — D-sharp

The B major scale, fingering chart

Note #4 — E

The B major scale, fingering chart

Note #5 — F-sharp

The B major scale, fingering chart The B major scale, fingering chart

Note #6 — G-sharp

The B major scale, fingering chart The B major scale, fingering chart The B major scale, fingering chart The B major scale, fingering chart

Note #7 — A-sharp

The B major scale, fingering chart The B major scale, fingering chart The B major scale, fingering chart The B major scale, fingering chart The B major scale, fingering chart

Note #8 — B

The B major scale, fingering chart

The C Major Scale

The next scale we are going to look at is the C major scale. This scale has no sharp or flat.

As with all the other scales we have looked at, there are seven different notes in this scale with the first note repeated an octave higher at the end.

Here are the notes of the C major scale:

  1. C
  2. D
  3. E
  4. F
  5. G
  6. A
  7. B
  8. C

And here are the fingering charts for the C major scale:

Note #1 — C

The C major scale, fingering chart The C major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — D

The C major scale, fingering chart

Note #3 — E

The C major scale, fingering chart

Note #4 — F

The C major scale, fingering chart

Note #5 — G

The C major scale, fingering chart

Note #6 — A

The C major scale, fingering chart

Note #7 — B

The C major scale, fingering chart

Note #8 — C

The C major scale, fingering chart The C major scale, fingering chart

The C-sharp Major Scale

The next scale we are going to look at is the C-sharp major scale. This scale has 7 sharps. All sharps.

As with all the other scales we have looked at, there are seven different notes in this scale with the first note repeated an octave higher at the end.

Here are the notes of the C-sharp major scale:

  1. C-sharp
  2. D-sharp
  3. E-sharp
  4. F-sharp
  5. G-sharp
  6. A-sharp
  7. B-sharp
  8. C-sharp

And here are the fingering charts for the C-sharp major scale:

Note #1 — C-sharp

The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — D-sharp

The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — E-sharp

The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — F-sharp

The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — G-sharp

The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — A-sharp

The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — B-sharp

The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart

Note #2 — C-sharp

The C-sharp major scale, fingering chart

The 3 Essential Tips for Learning Saxophone Scales

From major scales to minor scales, there are so many scales to learn on saxophone and it can seem really overwhelming. Here are a couple of tips that will help you with the process of learning.

These tips won't necessarily make learning any easier but they will deinitely make it a bit more fun.

Tip #1 — Play Saxophone Scales by Ear

I know that it's really important to know the notes of your scales.

We've probably all got scale sheets with all the notes written out but, perhaps, the best way to learn the scales is to loose the music.

Put your scale sheet away and play saxophone scales by ear.

I wrote an article on how to play saxophone by ear in the How to Play Saxophone Notes series. That's a good place to start if you don't know what ear training or playing by ear means.

The best way to test this, perhaps, to try and work out other major scales just using your ears.

If, for instance, you are really comfortable with the d-major scale, try and work out the E-flat major scale. There's lots of different methods you can use for this.

You could just take every note from the D-major scale up a half step, you could think about the structure or key of that scale, whatever your system is.

Or you might want to just try and work it out using just your ear.

If you do that exercise with three different major scales, starting with one that you really know then a half step up, and then another half step up, you'll end up a set of three major scales.

In fact, I recommend sticking with just three scales at a time to ease yourself into learning saxophone scales.

This way we are going up and down and we are really cementing those scales in our minds and we are using our ears to guide us.

Tip #2 — Always Use a Metronome

It's always a good idea to use a metronome. Using the metronome helps to keep you honest and it also means that each time you practice you can speed it up a little bit.

Start off with something nice and easy like 90bpm.

If you keep speeding it up, by then end of a week of practising just three scales, I bet you'll have them twice as fast.

What I would suggest you do is take a group of three major scales, and then do a set every week.

You could for example take D, E-flat and E this week then F, F-sharp and G next week and the following week G-sharp, A and B-flat, and so on.

After a few weeks, you would have done all of your major scales.

After that you can set yourself a challenge of doing all your major scales up chromatically with your metronome over one octave.

It's a really good exercise.

If you just start trying to learn all the scales together, it's going to be quite difficult. But if you're going up in sets of three every week, before you know it you'll have your fingers around all of those scales.

Tip #3 — Practice Chromatically, Learn Scales in Families

A third tip to finish this off, practising chromatically is a really great way to learn saxophone scales, and so is learning your scales in families.

By families here, I am referring to key families—a major scale and it's relative minor.

This is a really great way to practice.

If you are learning the A-major scale, for instance, spend some time looking at the F-sharp minor scale. There are patterns that you'll see in related pieces of music and everything ties in together.

It a great way to systematically work through scales.

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DuckingBeast

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I've played the alto and then the tenor saxophone for close to a decade now. I gig with several bands around the world for most months in a year. I created SqueakingSax to share with you some interesting tips and techniques I've picked up along the way.

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