# Major Tetrachords

This lesson teaches how to use common fingerings to make scales. By using only half-scales (tetrachords) you can build up your own way of playing each major scale.

8
First I must explain to beginners how to read my diagrams: read them left to right, bottom to top. Every horizontal line is a string (bottom being E and the top G) and every Vertical lihne is a fretbar. As many already know a major scale follows the pattern:
```W-W-H-W-W-W-H

W - whole steps (two frets)
H - half steps (one fret)```
Looking closly you see there are two parts bridged by a whole step (W-W-H)W(W-W-H). These parts are called tetrachords. Now using common sense you can see that any two tetrachords can make up a one-octave scale (if bridged by a whole step). There are three easy ways to play tetrachords using patterns and certain fingers. You don't have to use the fingers I suggest but they are what I found easiest. Here are the patterns (2412), (1334) and (4134). NOTE: these are not tablature! The numbers indicate the finger to use, 1 being the index, 2 the middle, 3 the ring, and 4 being the pinky!
```(2412)
|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|
|-1-|-2-|---|---|
|---|-2-|---|-4-|

(1334)
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|-1-|---|-3-|---|-3-|-4-|

(4134)
|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|
|-1-|---|-3-|-4-|
|---|---|---|-4-|```
Now those are just the tetrachords you must put the together to get a scale! Do this by skipping a whole step after the last note, then starting over again:
```(1334)
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|-1-|---|-3-|---|-3-|-4-|
|-1-|---|-3-|---|-3-|-4-|---|---|

(2412)
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|-1-|-2-|---|---|
|-1-|-2-|---|-2-|---|-4-|
|---|-2-|---|-4-|---|---|

(4134)
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|-1-|---|-3-|-4-|
|-1-|---|-3-|-4-|---|-4-|
|---|---|---|-4-|---|---|```
Notice that the second added part is just moved up one string and over two frets!
```See:
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|-1*|---|-3*|-4*|
|(1)|---|(3)|(4)|---|-4*|
|---|---|---|(4)|---|---|```
Now you can have one-octave scales you can use on any fret. For example starting any of thes on the 8-fret of the E string allows you to play the C-major scale. Now it's harder to make multi-octave scales because you must make some small adjustments an requires understanding of root notes but I'll get to in another lesson. Also look in case I make something like this for minor scales. I hope you understand major scales more now. I know this might be a bit confusing but to understand use a little common sense.

### 27 comments sorted by best / new / date

Man, I wish I could update this article with some actual information on what a tetrachord is, not just what it looks like on a tab. 1. A tetrachord is 4 notes within a perfect fourth interval, which is 5 frets (i.e. 0-5, 3-8, etc.). Tetrachords aren't usually used as chords, since the notes are so close together. They're a way of simplifying scales. How can you use tetrachords to create a scale? 2. If you know the first 4 notes of a scale (the first tetrachord), then you can play the last 4 notes of a scale (including the octave) by going up 7 frets (or 1 string and 2 frets) and playing the same intervals (i.e. 0-2-4-5 turns into 7-9-11-12, or 2-4-6-7 on the next string). Then, to continue playing the scale, go up 5 frets (or 1 string and 0 frets) 3. Tetrachords can be used to help mobility up and down the fretboard when you're practicing, if you're stuck soloing in a particular spot (frets 0-4, 5-8, or etc.) Examples: 0-2-4-5 on the E, 2-4-6-7 on the A, 2-4-6-7 on the D, 4-6-8-9 on the G 0-2-4-5 on the E, 2-4-6-7 on the A, 7-9-11-12 on the A, 9-11-13-14 on the D
Eye opening, honestly I never knew anything about tetrachords before this, I'm just wondering what this is best used for, I would assume for soloing. Also, does anyone know where the name tetrachord came from? because it's not a chord it's just a way of looking at scales... Just curious.
I think this is a pretty good lesson, great job.
krumpinjugger wrote: ok. not to sound like a dipshit or anything but i don't understand the diagrams... i did read the thing at the top but i just don't get it
It would help if you told what it was that was confusing you about it.
ok. not to sound like a dipshit or anything but i don't understand the diagrams... i did read the thing at the top but i just don't get it
hey am making a website about bass i have only made 1 page but i wanna no what ppl think be4 i make more pages plz leave a message on my message board telling mw what u think www.freewebs.com/howtoplaybass
thnx for the lesson helped me out for some stuff thnx
um dumb question, me and my buddy couldnt figure out wat these chords are used for...
Thanks for the lesson! I'll definetly use this .
Thanks for posting! I'll definetly use this.
I like how you show a form for any fret
any note examples would help tremendously
Nice Lesson I'm slow, is this for 4-strig basses?
never mind that doid work well well those are each the strings play that left to right top to bottom
Here is the 4134 in tabs on the 5thE or B major: ----- -----4-6-7- ---2-4-6-7----- -5-----
good article..it's easy to learn and understand
hmm tetrachords are justs your fourths or perfect 4th for a major scale i learned more in depth with lessons im in but this could help those who dont take them
This Is great. Props to you sir
finally! I submitted this lesson in june and now in september they post it! Talk about slow!
Tetra = Four Chord = notes four notes, for obvious reasons...
Not that obvious, buddy. Your definition also includes 7th chords. Tetrachords are 4 notes ~within a perfect 4th interval~, i.e. within 5 frets (0-5, 3-8, etc.) as stated below.