Watch the Scales & Modes online guitar lesson by David Santos from Focus On: Latin Bass

A scale is a group of notes ordered by half steps and whole steps. A scale ordered by increasing pitch is an ascending scale. A scale ordered by decreasing pitch is a descending scale. Scales are often considered to span a single octave for the sake of discussion and analyzation, but they can be played, or sung, in multiple octaves. A specific scale is defined by its specific pattern of intervals. The tonic of a given scale is generally the note selected as the beginning and ending of the octave, and therefore it is the beginning and ending of the interval pattern. Typically, the name of the scale specifies both its tonic and its interval pattern. For example, C major indicates a major scale in which C is the tonic. The interval pattern goes like this: whole step, whole step, half step—whole step, whole step, whole step, half step.

From C to D is a whole step, from D to E is a whole step, from E to F is a half step, from F to G is a whole step, from G to A is a whole step, from A to B is a whole step and from B to C is a half step.