Harmonising The Major Scale For 5 String Sweep Picking

author: no lolage date: 04/20/2009 category: guitar techniques

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Intro In this lesson I hope to outline how we can use the principles of the major scale and how each degree of the scale has a particular tonality which we can use to create sweep picking exercises. Firstly we must understand some terminology Degree - a particular note of a scale. Interval - the musical gap between two notes. For scales they are usually measured in tones (full steps) and semi-tones (half steps). If there is a difference of a tone between notes they are two frets apart, for a semi-tone it is one fret. The Major Scale The first things to understand are the degrees of the major scale, which are as follows (from the first to 8th): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and the Octave (8th). This NEVER changes. Every major scale has the same degrees, whether it starts on C, D, F sharp, any note. Next we must recognise the interval between each note: 1st -(tone)-> 2nd -(tone)-> 3rd -(semitone)-> 4th -(tone)-> 5th -(tone)-> 6th -(tone)-> 7th -(semitone)-> Octave (8th). Again, this is the same for whichever note you start on. Here's where it gets complicated! Each interval of the scale has it's own feel' to the tonality of the piece as a whole (this is often called the key' of the piece) and this dictates which type of sweep you have to play over it. Here are the relative feels of each (and so which sweep you play): 1st Major 2nd Minor 3rd Minor 4th Major 5th Major 6th Minor 7th Diminished 8th (octave) Same as first. As you may know a major feels happier', whilst a minor feel sadder'. The Sweeps I will now tab out the entire sequence for a D major scale starting on fret 5, string 5, going up the scale using 5 string sweeps, corresponding to the tonality of each degree of the scale. From this you should be able to pull out the patterns for major, minor and diminished sweeps.
1st - D (fret 5,string 5)


2nd - E (fret 7)


3rd - F sharp (fret 9)


4th - G (fret 10)


5th - A (fret 12)


6th  B (fret 14)


7th  C sharp (fret 16)


8th (octave)  D (fret17)

Same as the first.
The Application You will notice that all the major sounding degrees use the same pattern for their sweeps, likewise for the minor degrees, and the same is true for diminished. The sweeps I have tabbed will apply for any major, minor or diminished sounds. Therefore they also apply to any scale. Once you have learnt these 3 patterns you can go up and down any major scale, starting on any degree of the scale and play the harmonised sweep behind it. If you know how to harmonise a minor scale then you can apply it to that too etc. Not only that but it is also a great way to practice different sweeping patterns whilst applying them to a scale. Remember to start slowly and I'd practice in semiquavers (4 notes per beat) and take off the repeated starting root note of each sweep
ie I play - 

(notice how i dont repeat the fret 5, 5th string). Etc etc. Have fun !
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