The Major Scale: Pattern 4

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We're starting here with Pattern 4 of The Five pattern (CAGED System), based around the A Shape barre chord it can be a little tricky to visualise but it's not hard to play!

Major Scale P4

Alternate Fingerings

The most common alternative is to move the last note on the second string (played with 4th finger) to the first string (then played with 1st finger). I prefer this position because it is very common to add that note (it is the 4th degree of the scale) to make a suspended sound and this is the place where you would add it.

Another alternative is to add a note a tone above the top of the scale as shown, but then it becomes a 3NPS (Notes Per String) scale which is another system that we are not doing here...

Memorisation Tips

• There is only 1 pair of string with the same fingering, Strings 4/5 - so this one takes a little more thinking.

• Can you see the way it climbs?

• The shift of position happens with the same fingering.

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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