Basic Scale Locator

I've temporarily disabled the Basic Scale Locator due to a sudden increase in server activity beyond what my hosting plan allows. Click here for details...

The Basic Scale Locator locates scale positions on any tuning for most of the common scales and modes. Email me if you encounter bugs!


The Basic Scale Locator is a tool that allows you to locate the common scales and modes on any steel guitar. 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. There's not much to do for this script. Just select a tuning, a scale, and a root note. The locator finds all the complete scales within the range of your guitar. They are sorted easiest first—easy being the positions that require a minimum of bar movement. This is measured by counting the number of frets the bar must move through to complete the scale.

The 'Prefer Bar Zigzag' Option

In general it's easier to play scales if you keep the bar moving back and forth on your way up the scale. Moving twice in the same direction puts a strain on your arm and can slow you down. If you check this option, the results will contain no "double movement" toward the nut or toward the 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 fret width of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Or, you can turn off this option by selecting 'No Limit'. 'No Limit' is the default setting for this option. If you are getting way too many hits, selecting a fret width will limit your results.