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Linking The 5 Major Scale Patterns


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#1 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:39 AM

Contents
Introduction
  * Scale Patterns
Linkage Part 1
Linkage Part 2
Linkage Part 3
Linkage Part 4
Linkage Part 5
Conclusion & Chart

Introduction

I’m sure there a billions of ways of doing this and this one's probably a bit cheesy, but I figured I'd stick it up in case it might help someone. :D So here is a lesson I wrote a while back on how to link all five of the main major scale patterns without getting lost on the fretboard when changing positions. However, all this lesson does is show you how to remember the patterns, actually making music with it is a completely different thing. ;) This way uses the good ol’ minor pentatonic scale pattern that probably most guitarists learn as their first scale.

This lesson will also give those minor pentatonic-ers (lol) some new notes to add into their playing. Therefore when I talk about "extra notes" I am referring to the notes from the full 7 note scale pattern that are NOT included in the pentatonic scale.

For those that don’t already know their five major scale patterns and/or the minor pentatonic scale, I’ll start with those so that everyone’s on the same page.

The “Root Notes” in each of the positions are bolded so you can see where they are in each pattern. NOTE: I am ONLY dealing with the major scale in this example, in order to play in a minor key you could use all of this information below by finding the Relative Minor and then using those notes as the root notes to line up these patterns. This is why I refer to the root note as the “Root Note Of The Major Key”, because the root note of the minor key would not work with these patterns. (Click here for an explanation of relative keys.)

Also go here for info on Root Positions. When I mention a “Position” number, I am be referring to the Root Positions mentioned in that post.

Scale Patterns

There are two basic patterns for each of the 5 positions, the “Condensed” and the “Extended”. The Condensed tries to keep one finger per fret (4 fingers = 4 frets), but some of them have to shift 1 fret to hit the notes (spanning 5 frets). The extended is a stretched out version that covers more frets (typically 5 or 6 frets). I have one extended scale written below, the rest are condensed versions. BTW, Marc teaches the condensed version of the scales, and that’s mainly what I’m using in this lesson also.

Major Scale – Root Position 1

E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
B|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
G|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
D|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
A|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|

Major Scale – Root Position 1 (Extended)
NOTE: This is the same scale as above, but spread out across more frets (hence why it’s called “Extended”). This pattern will come in handy during this lesson, so learn this one also.

E|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
B|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
G|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|

Major Scale – Root Position 2

E|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
B|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
G|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|

Major Scale – Root Position 3

E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
B|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
G|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|
D|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
A|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|

Major Scale – Root Position 4

E|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
B|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
G|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
D|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|

Major Scale – Root Position 5

E|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
B|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|
G|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
E|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|

Harmonic Minor Scale – Root Position 1

E|-O-|---|---|-O-|---|
B|-O-|---|---|-O-|---|
G|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|
D|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|
A|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|
E|-O-|---|---|-O-|---|


So take some time to get familiar with the patterns posted above. Try to learn them so you can play them without having to look at the charts. The rest of this lesson assumes that you will already be pretty familiar with these patterns.

Ok, now lest get to it! We’ll start with the Major Scale Position 1 (“Root Position 1”):


'Cause I don't wanna read the book, I'll watch the movie.

Tekker's Lessons on GfB&B: Music Theory, Recording, and General Guitar

#2 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:42 AM

Linkage Part I

Ok, here is the condensed verion of pattern 1.

E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
B|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
G|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
D|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
A|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|


If you have also learned the “Extended” version of this scale written above, then that’s great! We will use that to link this scale to the next position. So now let’s link patterns 1 and 2 together.... There are a couple different ways for linking these two.

This is a modified version of the Extended Position 1 pattern to show how it can be easily morphed into Position 2. The colors represent notes that are either added or removed from the Extended Position 1 pattern.

* The red notes that were removed from the Extended Position 1
* The Blue notes are notes that were added to complete Position 2.

E|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
B|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
G|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|

So if you know the extended version to Pattern 1, then you already know the first two patterns just by changing 3 notes.

Now for the second way of linking the two patterns: This is where the Minor Pentatonic comes into play. Since most guitarists know this scale inside and out (and tend to gravitate to it more often than not! lol), I figured this would be a great way to start out playing after moving to a new position. So basically, instead of having to think about which pattern you are moving to next, you just need to know what fret to start playing the pentatonic scale. Then from there, you can start adding in the notes from the position you are currently in.

Here is the Minor Pentatonic scale (notes in Black) on top of the Position 2 pattern (notes in Red).

E|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
B|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
G|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|

So now when you are improvising you can jump to Position 2 and start playing the minor pentatonic scale, but instead of just staying within those 5 notes... You can see that you have two notes on the same fret for both the E and B strings that you can play with your ring finger (if you are playing the two high notes with your pinky). Then you have another two notes on the same fret for the G and D strings that you can slide down and play with your index finger. These notes are easy to remember, because they are in doubles right next to each other on the same fret. The low E string is the same as the high E string, so you also have that note that you can play with your ring finger.

The start for this pattern (and the minor pentatonic) starts two frets above the root note for the Position 1. For example, if you are playing in the key of G major. The G note is on the 3rd fret then you could start playing the minor pentatonic at the 5th fret (and add in the notes from Pattern 2).


So there are two possibilities for using Position 2, either think of it as an extension to Position 1 OR you can start off with the minor pentatonic (two frets above the root note) and start working in the other notes from the pattern.


'Cause I don't wanna read the book, I'll watch the movie.

Tekker's Lessons on GfB&B: Music Theory, Recording, and General Guitar

#3 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:44 AM

Linkage Part II

Next we’ll link patterns 2 and 3 together using the..... Yep you guessed it, the same minor pentatonic pattern! :D

Once again, the black notes are the minor pentatonic scale and the red notes are notes from the major scale position 3.

E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
B|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
G|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|
D|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
A|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|

Once again, you can see that the “extra notes” that aren’t in the minor pentatonic pattern come in pairs. You have two notes on the same fret of the E and B strings that you can play with your middle finger, two notes on the same fret of the D and A strings that you can play with your pinky, and the low E string is the same as the high E string.


Also, for the visual learners (like myself) I’ll also share this handy visual for these two patterns. If you look at the extra notes not in the minor pentatonic scale for Positions 2 and 3, you can see that the extra notes are on frets that are exact opposites of each other...

In this diagram the Red notes are the extra notes for Position 2 and the Green notes are the extra notes for Position 3.

Posted Image

For both patterns 2 and 3, the extra two notes on E and B strings are both on the two frets “inside” of the minor pentatonic patters (inside the notes that the index and pinky fingers play), but they swap places. This same thing goes for the low E string note as well.

For pattern 2 the extra notes on the G and D strings are on frets “outside” (above) the minor pentatonic pattern, and then for pattern 3, they move down to the next string and also jump down below the pentatonic pattern, so they are still on the frets on the “outside”.

Anyways, hopefully that little diagram/visual aid will help remember these two patterns, they are similar, but opposites of each other. So if you can remember one of them, then you can figure out the other by remembering that each of the “extra” notes move to opposite frets.


Now that you have the fingering patterns down, you will start the scale two frets up from where position 2 started (or four frets up from the root note of the key). Using the key of G major again, you would start this pattern on 4 frets up from the G note on the 3rd fret of the low E string, which would be the 7th fret.


So to summarize, for the first 3 patterns start out by by first finding the root note for the Major Key (relative major if you are playing in a minor key) on the low E string (6th string) and you can play Major Scale Pattern 1. Then for Major Scale Pattern 2, you can slide up 2 frets and start playing the Minor Pentatonic Pattern and then include the “extra notes” for Pattern 2 in order to play the Major Scale Pattern 2. Then for Major Scale Pattern 3, just slide up two more frets and play the Minor Pentatonic Pattern and the include the “extra notes” for Pattern 3 in order to play the Major Scale Pattern 3.

This allows you to use the minor pentatonic scale to immediately jump to position 2 or 3 from anywhere on the fretboard without having to worry about hitting “wrong” notes, then once you are there you can start adding in the extra notes from each pattern to make use of the full major scale pattern... Of course you could also just use the minor pentatonic the entire time pattern! lol


'Cause I don't wanna read the book, I'll watch the movie.

Tekker's Lessons on GfB&B: Music Theory, Recording, and General Guitar

#4 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:46 AM

Linkage Part III

Unfortunately Major Scale Position 4 doesn’t have a minor pentatonic scale that can be placed over the top of it. However, it is exactly the same scale as the Major Scale Position 1, but the root note is on the A string instead of the E string. This makes it a little bit different, because you have to account for the “Evil B string” at a different part in the scale. The fingering pattern on the B string is the same as the pattern on G string, but you have to slide the position up one fret.

Here are both patterns 1 and 4 side by side, so you can see the similarities.

Major Scale – Root Position 1

E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
B|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
G|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
D|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
A|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|

Major Scale – Root Position 4

E|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
B|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
G|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|
D|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
E|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|


This pattern starts three frets above the Major Scale Pattern 3. Where before, each pattern was separated by two frets, this one is separated by three. So in other words, when you play the pentatonic scale in Major Scale Pattern 3, your pinky will play the starting note for this pattern.


'Cause I don't wanna read the book, I'll watch the movie.

Tekker's Lessons on GfB&B: Music Theory, Recording, and General Guitar

#5 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:47 AM

Linkage Part IV

Next we will link Major Scale Pattern 4 to Major Scale Pattern 5. Once again, the Major Scale Pattern 5 does have the minor pentatonic pattern that we can use to link it to the previous pattern. This is probably the most used place for the minor pentatonic scale because it starts on the relative minor of the major key... Using G major as an example again, this position starts on E (which is the relative minor to G major).

And once again, the minor pentatonic scale is in black and the red notes are the “extra notes” from the

E|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
B|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|
G|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
E|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|

This one is a lot more interesting than Patterns 2 and 3, because the “extra notes” don’t really seem to come in any patterns at a first glance. However, when you look at the overall pattern you can see that there is indeed a pattern to it.

On the E and A strings, the extra notes make it so that both strings have the exact same fingering pattern – using the index finger, ring finger, and pinky. The High E string also has this exact same pattern.

The G and B strings both have the same fingering patterns, but do to the evil B string you have to shift this pattern up one fret on the B string.


The position of this scale starts two frets above the start of the Major Scale Pattern 4 and it also starts 3 frets BELOW the Root Note of the major key. So if the G note is on the 3rd and 15th fret, then Position 5 starts on the open E string and on the 12th fret respectively. At this point it is much easier to work backwards than it is to think of it starting 9 frets “above” the root note of the major key. ;)


'Cause I don't wanna read the book, I'll watch the movie.

Tekker's Lessons on GfB&B: Music Theory, Recording, and General Guitar

#6 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:48 AM

Linkage Part V

Lastly we have come full circle and it’s time to link Position 1 to Position 5. The only thing that really needs to be said here is that Position 1 starts 3 frets above position 5. So when you play the minor pentatonic scale, the note on the low E string that your pinky plays is the start of Position 1.

BTW, have you noticed a pattern yet involving the frets in between each pattern? For each of the patterns where we can use a minor pentatonic scale, that pattern is always two frets above the previous pattern (patterns 2, 3 and 5, are all two frets above the previous patterns)... Likewise the major patters are 3 frets above the previous pattern (patterns 1 and 4 are three frets above the previous patterns).


'Cause I don't wanna read the book, I'll watch the movie.

Tekker's Lessons on GfB&B: Music Theory, Recording, and General Guitar

#7 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:49 AM

Conclusion

Even if you only learn the 3 positions that can be used with the minor pentatonic scales for now, that will still cover vast the majority of the fretboard. Then you can pick up on the other two whenever you feel more comfortable with the other three.

To get familiar with moving from position to position, by moving randomly around the fretboard and try to hit notes that are in key. Don’t worry too much about “musicality” at this point just try to get your fingers to learn the notes.


In closing I thought it would be helpful to include a full fretboard view of all 5 positions, with the Root Note Positions, the starting positions of each Major Scale Pattern, and the placement of the Minor Pentatonic Scales for the three positions on the fretboard.

I will be using G major again for this diagram.

Bold = Root Notes
Blue = Minor Pentatonic Pattern in Position 2
Red = Minor Pentatonic Pattern in Position 3
Purple = Notes that are common to the Minor Pentatonic Patterns in both Positions 2 and 3.
Orange = Minor Pentatonic Pattern in Position 5

Frets:     3       5       7       9           12          15
E|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
B|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|
G|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|
D|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
A|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
E|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|
           ^       ^       ^           ^       ^           ^
Positions: 1       2       3           4       5           1 (repeat...)



'Cause I don't wanna read the book, I'll watch the movie.

Tekker's Lessons on GfB&B: Music Theory, Recording, and General Guitar





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