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Scales

Both understanding and playing scales are critically important to all musicians, including those  playing a musical instrument such as the guitar. In Guitar School, we shall focus on the major, minor, pentatonic major, pentatonic minor, and the various modal scales. Scales are used 1) as the basis for forming various chords, such as C Major, C Minor, C7, Cminor7, 2} constructing the melody line  3)  the reference for improvising,. Additionally, we shall focus on the blues scale, which is especially useful for comping.  Learning scales is unavoidable. But, in time, you will discover that playing scales is actually fun. So, let’s begin.

MAJOR SCALES

Understanding scales requires understanding distance on the fretboard.  For a major scale, the distance between notes is either  a whole step or half step. For a whole step, the distance is two frets. For a half step, the distance is one fret. All major scales consist of seven notes. The distance between two notes is also called an interval. These ideas are illustrated by the C Major scale shown below:

 













All major scales, including the C Major scale, take the form shown below which indicates the distance from a given note to the next note.


   Whole step(1)  + whole step(2)+ half step(3) + whole step(4) + whole step(5)  + whole step(6) +  Half step(7)

In Fretboard #1 in the diagram below, the C Major scale is along one string,i.e., the fifth string. Playing a song on a single string requires a large movement of the left hand and is less used than the box formations.  Nevertheless, it should be learned for several reasons. First, it is ocassionaly used to play the melody of a song.  Secondly,  playing the scale helps develop a feeling for the occurrence of whole steps and half steps. Thirdly, playing melodies consisting of two or three notes simultaneously can greatly enrich the melody compared to playing single note melodies.  The single note provides the melody  and  a second note provides harmony.

.  The bottom fretboard shows the C scale in box form for which  movement of the left hand is minimizsed.  It is important to learn both types  The note C is given by the open note. The other notes are given as solid black notes


If the given note is Note 1, then the distance to the next note, Note 2,  is a whole step or two frets up the fretboard. If the given note is Note 3, the distance to the next note which is Note 4  is a half step and one fret up the fretboard. The distance from Note 7 to the octave  Note 8 is also a half step.

 









 












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