Major Scale Melodic Patterns for Guitar - Lesson 1

In this guitar lesson we'll take a look at a nice sounding melodic pattern. It makes extensive use of third intervals, and also makes for a great exercise for your alternate picking technique!

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In this guitar lesson we're going to look at how to play the major scale using a great sounding melodic pattern. The pattern we'll look at shortly is one of my favorites, and it will definitely help you to improve your technique a lot if you work hard at it. OK. Enough talk, let's get started...

The Scale Fingering

For this lesson we're going to take a very common fingering for the C Major scale. If you've learned the CAGED system, then you might recognize it as the E-Shape fingering. I must admit I'm not a huge fan of the CAGED method of naming things, so I just refer to the scale fingering as Fingering 1. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what you call it. You're free to call it whatever you want. C Major Scale: Notes and Scale Degrees

C Major Scale: Fingering 1

I highly recommend memorizing this scale fingering if you don't already know it. Be sure to memorize the names of the notes as you learn the fingering. Once you've got the notes memorized, then you're ready to check out the melodic pattern... Major Scale Melodic Pattern Exercise 1:

Please take some time now to play through the exercise. Try to work out what melodic pattern is being used. We'll be talking about it in just a minute, but you'll learn more by trying to work it out for yourself. :-) All done? Good stuff! Let's now analyze the melodic pattern...

Analyzing The Melodic Pattern

It's very important that you understand every melodic pattern that you learn. One of the best ways of doing this is by writing down the note names above each note in the TAB. This makes it much easier to see the logic behind the melodic pattern. Analysis Of Major Scale Melodic Pattern Exercise 1

As I mentioned at the beginning of the lesson, this is one of my favorite melodic patterns. It makes extensive use of third intervals. In case you don't know, an interval is the term used to describe the distance in pitch between two notes. An interval of a third is one that encompasses three letters from the musical alphabet. For Example: The distance between C and E would be an interval of a third... Explanation Of A Third Interval

The other third intervals that are found within the C Major scale are...
  • D to F
  • E to G
  • F to A
  • G to B
  • A to C
  • B to D Now that I've touched on what third intervals are, it's probably a good idea for you to look at the melodic pattern again. How would you describe the melodic pattern? How would you explain it to a friend? Although there's no correct way of describing it, I think of the melodic pattern as a three note pattern that ascends up a third, and then returns to the same note. For Example: In the first measure of the exercise we're doing this... Playing the first note of the pattern. In this example that is the note B. Ascending up a third interval to play the second note of the pattern. In this example it's the note D. Descending down a third and playing the first note again. In this example that means playing the note B. As I mentioned above, this is the way that I think about the melodic pattern. If it doesn't make sense to you, then come up with your own way of explaining the melodic pattern.

    Practicing The Melodic Pattern

    Now that we've analyzed the pattern, it's now time for you to learn it. Here's the TAB showing you how I play the melodic pattern. As you'll notice, my preference is to play it using alternate picking starting with a downstroke. Of course, if you prefer to play it using another approach, then that's absolutely fine. :-) Full TAB Of Major Scale Melodic Pattern Exercise 1

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    A Few Last Words

    Hope you enjoyed this lesson. Do as much practice on the melodic pattern as you can. It would also be a great idea to experiment with playing other scales that you know using the same melodic pattern. Have fun with this stuff! About the Author: Craig Bassett is a professional guitar teacher currently living in Melbourne, Australia. If you enjoyed this lesson, then be sure to check out the other useful resources at his website.
  • 4 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Well done. I like what you said at the end about using the pattern in other scales, I think you should have stressed that more. Doing this in all the different positions would make for some really good practice. Thanks
      Thanks Bro, good lesson. I liked that you had me play and learn by ear first. The intervals were easier to understand for me that way. Thumbs up.