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Tip: Scale Practice Overhaul – Part 2

This is much more accurately entitled, “the seven-note pattern.” We showed such a pattern in the last issue, toward making scale-playing more interesting.

Let’s go over some comments about this 7-note pattern. First, describing it without notation, it goes like this:

Play 4 notes of an ascending major scale(*). Descend two notes, then ascend again for one note.

Here’s an excerpt of the tab from the last issue:

|---- --------------|
||o-----------------|
||------------------|
||------------------|
||o-------4-------4-|
||--5-6-8---8-6-8---|

(*) (This is actually a major scale with an extra note played a half-step above the 5: It’s called a Bebop Major scale. So, in F major, the notes include …C, C#, D…This scale is used in a variety of musical genres, not just jazz.)

We could have used a regular major scale on this. But the Bebop scale has a nice way of making the right notes – chord tones – sound in the right places. We may go into that another time.

Without over analyzing the 7-note pattern too much, we’ll just say it’s worth learning at least a few bars of. Doing so will perk your ear up to the possibilities hidden in scale playing.

A tip in learning the pattern: Learning the first seven notes is not too tough. It’s the second set of second seven that gets tricky. But it doesn’t have to be. Try this: Play the pattern starting on any degree in the scale, and start it so the first note is on an up beat. Do that for several runs to get the second set of seven familiar to your fingers and ears.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2008 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – March 1, 2007 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.

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