Major Scale Pattern 1

Stave Image OriginalThis is the first in a series of posts detailing each of the 7 scale patterns/shapes of the Major Scale. Each post will focus on one shape at a time and I will dove tail each of these with an accompanying music theory post examining potential sounds and avenues for improvisation and song-writing. This series will then culminate in another series of corresponding posts covering the entire fret-board in a number of different keys and I also anticipate that a number of technique posts will result as a natural by-product of this chosen subject.

The examples in this post assume some technique so be patient as I post in the relevant Technique categories to cover any challenging parts

Major Scale Pattern 1

I have chosen the key of G major to look at this pattern. Its fret-board positioning is one that is quite comfortable for guitarists and one that I have covered many, many times in my career. For ease I will not be attempting any ambitious modal sounds as I describe each shape and will in fact use the modal names in order as each post progresses, for example – Shape 1 – Ionian, Shape 2 – Dorian etc (if these names confuse you, don’t worry all will be explained in the ‘Nuts & Bolts’ Theory section)

As described in this post, to make sense of the jumble of chromatic notes found in western music a formula is applied to them –

Tone, Tone, Semi-Tone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semi-Tone

Starting this with a G note throws up the notes G, A, B, C, D, E & F#. As we are using G as the root note for the purpose of this post the intervals which result are –

Root Note, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th & Major 7th

This pool of intervals, when heard is known by the modal name of Ionian.

The Ionian Scale Shape On the Fret-Board

I’ve recorded & transcribed (in tab & standard notation form) the shape and a few brief improvised passages. Improvisation is essential to correctly learning and internalizing this shape, it also helps to keep practice interesting as repetition alone becomes dull. We are pursuing musical/creative goals, however, focused repetition of each individual shape is needed in keeping with this post to achieve the aforementioned internalization.

The repetitions compliment the improvisation and vice versa

No player wants to be limited to one shape when improvising or song-writing but intimate knowledge of single shapes is essential to eventually mapping out the fret-board with the rest of them.

Here’s the audio of me playing, first of all, a few repetitions of the shape and secondly some improvised licks & passages to try –

Here’s an extended backing track to practice the shape, my ideas and some improvisations/licks of your own –

The chord progression is –

Gsus2          |Cadd9/Dsus2

This establishes the desired root note of G.

Here’s the transcription of my performance –

Download (PDF, 52KB)

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