Guitar Scales




Interval

A musical interval is the distance between two notes. An interval can be a half step (or half tone). Examples of 1/2 tone intervals are: the distance from C - C sharp, from E - F and from G - G sharp. An interval can also be a full step (or full tone). Examples of a full tone interval are: the distance from C - D, from E - F sharp and from G - A. An interval can also be 1 1/2 steps (or one and a half tones) apart. Examples of this are: the distance from C - D sharp, from E - G and from G - A sharp.

Intervals are the building blocks on which scales are built.

Major Scales

Consists of 8 consecutive notes ascending and 8 consecutive notes descending. A major scale follows the pattern T – T – ½T – T – T – T – ½T.

C major scale



Click here for the score and guitar tab of major scales with recommended guitar fingering.


Minor scales

Consists of 8 consecutive notes ascending and 8 consecutive notes descending. There are 3 different types of minor scales, each of which serves slightly different functions and has a slightly different pattern.


Natural Minor Scales

A natural minor scale pattern is T – ½T – T – T – ½T – T – T

A natural minor scale

Click here for score and guitar tab of minor scales with recommended guitar fingering .

Melodic Minor Scales

Melodic minor scales have different patterns when they ascend as to when they descend. The reason for this can be found in the way the human voice works when it sings a melody (thus the term melodic minor).

Ascending: T – ½T – T – T – T – T – ½T
Descending: T – T – ½T – T – T – ½T – T

Another way of looking at this scale is to see it as exactly the same as the natural minor scale with the 6th and 7th note of the scale raised by ½ tone when ascending. The descending is exactly the same as the natural minor scale.

A melodic minor scale

Click here for score and guitar tab of melodic minor scales with recommended guitar fingering .

Harmonic Minor Scales

The harmonic minor uses the same scale pattern for ascending and descending.

The pattern is T – ½T – T – T – ½T – 1½T – ½T. Another way of looking at the harmonic minor scale is that it is exactly the same as the natural minor, except that the 7th note is raised by a ½ tone.

A harmonic minor scale

Click here for the score and guitar tab of harmonic minor scales with recommended guitar fingering .

Conclusion

Armed with this knowledge you can now work out any scale that you are required to play.

In terms of guitar fingering, the principle for the classical guitar is to ensure minimum movement and minimum slide noise. This latter principle is quite different to other guitar forms such as blues guitar where players accent for effect slide noise during improvisation.



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