Simple Scale System Part 2

In Part 1 we covered adjusting the guitar's tuning to an equal tuning, and learned how to play a major triad all over the neck with only two small patterns. In this part, you will learn how to apply the same procedure to a major scale. Again you will want to tune your guitar to "E A D G C F" before continuing.


Play Tuning Notes Play

Build Scales From Triad

The triad we learned in the first part will serve as the basis for our scale. Since a triad (with the octave added) contains almost half the notes of a major scale it serves as a good skeleton.

The scale pattern, like the major triad pattern, can be moved anywhere on the guitar fretboard. No matter where it is placed it creates a major scale. The root is the first note in the pattern. Practice the pattern all over the neck naming the keys as you go.

Stack at Octave

Just as with the major triad, scale patterns can be stacked upon one another at the octave. The following chart shows several octaves of the pattern stacked on top of each other. Play making sure to note the beginning of the pattern as you go.

Stacked Scales

Play A Major Stack Play

Second Form of the Major Scale

Like the major triad, two forms of the major scale are needed to cover the entire fretboard. Unlike other scale systems which require 5 or more, the Simple Scale System only requires you to learn two small forms!

Version II

Play Second Form Play

Play the second scale form all around the neck, naming the key you are playing as you go.

Stack Alternating Forms

Scale Patterns I and II

Play Alternating Forms Play

Form 1 and 2 can always be stacked to create larger forms. They always alternate, one stacks on two and vice versa. This is one of the best parts of the system, you always know which form comes next. If you just finished playing form 1, form 2 will be on top of it.

Cover the Whole Fretboard

The following 5 larger patterns cover the entire fretboard for "D" major. But all 5 patterns are simply made up of the two forms shown above. Play through all 5 and identify the small forms contained within each. This is the heart of the Simple Scale System, using the same two forms all over the guitar to create larger forms.

Play these forms over and over, make sure you see the two smaller forms that make up all the patterns.

Other Scales

This same approach can be applied to any scale or arpeggio. For any scale or arpeggio you only need to learn two small forms, which stack neatly on top of one another. The two charts below show the two basic forms for a minor triad (with the octave added). Can you use them to create 5 larger forms as we did in the past two examples?

Next up: Simple Scale System Part III (Tuning Down).

Part I     |     Part II     |     Part III