The Major Scale: Pattern 1

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We're starting here with Pattern 1 of The Five Pattern system. It's the most common Major Scale pattern to learn first. The other system for Pattern study is the 3 Notes Per String System, which has some advantages but I think it's far better to study the CAGED System shapes (Five Pattern System) first.

Alternate Fingerings

None really, it's pretty standard.

Memorisation Tips

• I usually break this into 3 pairs of strings. Leave off the lowest note for now and then notice that the pattern on strings 6 & 5 is the same as strings 2 & 1, fingering 2-4/1-2-4 and the middle pair of strings are both 1-3-4 fingering.

• Notice the edges of the pattern are all the notes across with Fingers 1 and 4, except for the 'hole' on String 2 which Finger 1 fell off ;)

• The 'middle' of the pattern uses fingers: 2/2 / 3/3 / 2/2

I find using visual tricks like these might help you remember it. You'll also find working on visualization might help - practice your scales away from the instrument!

17 Note Patterns

All my Scale Patterns (where possible) have 17 notes (3 notes on each string, except for one string which will have only 2 notes). This gives you the perfect number for practising scales with a metronome because if practised with 4 notes between each metronome click (16th notes, semiquavers) you will always arrive back on the root note on the beat :)

Tips For Learning Scales

  • ALWAYS START AND END ON THE LOWEST ROOT NOTE
    This will help train your ears into hearing the sound of the scale, very important. So start on the lowest (in pitch) root note, play up as far as you can, then go back down as low as you can, and then back up to the root note.
     
  • LEARN IT SLOWLY AND GET IT RIGHT
    Don't make any mistakes when learning a scale. Play it 10 times perfectly (right notes, right fingering) at a very slow speed and you will find you can speed it up without making mistakes and developing bad habits you will have to correct later.
     
  • USE YOUR FINGER TIPS
    Do not let your fingers "fold", use the tips the whole time, and definitely NO barres at any point.

    However, you do want to allow Finger 1 to rest lightly on all the strings to mute all the strings under it and the tip of Finger 1 should touch the string above (the thicker string) as taught in the String Muting Lesson, part of the Intermediate Course.
     
  • LEARN THE PATTERNS (SHAPES) ONE AT A TIME
    It is very important that you learn all five of these patterns... eventually! But please learn to make music with them. Much much better to be able to use one scale shape and play a solo than play five up and down and not be able to do make music with them :)
Major Scale

- LESSON STEPS -

Grades

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