Construction of the Major Scale on a Single String

Erich Andreas
A free video tutorial from Erich Andreas
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Lecture description

Understanding how to construct a major scales across a single guitar string is extremely beneficial for all future theory lessons that you will be studying throughout the course.  Make sure you master this technique before moving on.  The attached blank fretboard paper should be used to practice this technique.

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English [Auto] OK today we're going to be looking at the major scale and specifically we're going to be looking at constructing this major scale on one string. Now why is that. Who plays the major scale on one string. Well we do today because understanding this in a linear fashion linear being across one string as opposed to going across all the strings or several of the strings for instance we could play the scale like this or we can play it across like this you know make sense. So we could play the scale across the strings or we could play it across one string or on one string. So that's what I'm calling linear. Now the reason that number one we're doing the major scale and number two we're doing it in this way are here the reasons why. Number one the major scale we understand the construction of the major scale. We basically understand ninety nine point nine percent of how all other music theory falls into place. OK. If you don't have the construction of the major scale down you're really going to have difficulty with understanding and chord embellishments with understanding how modes work the minor scale the blues scale like you're not going to quite understand the musical theory behind it. You know in the music theory is important because when we're speaking with other musicians who are trying to come up with a specific sound if you don't understand the the whys about it then it can be very difficult to come up with what it is that you're trying to. What you're hearing in your head type of thing. OK. So number one meet the major scale is literally the basis of ninety nine point nine percent of all the music out there classical rock thrash jazz blues country you name the genre. Chances are the major scale is going to have much to do with it. And that has to do with us a little bit of science a little bit of balance of what that scale does like naturally how it resonates and we could have a whole series of videos on that so I can't even go down that that alley right now. But basically to let you know the major scale is king of the world of the musical world. OK. Even songs that are in minor keys and all the jazz modes they are all going to be based off of the major scale. And when we compare any scale we're always going to compare it to the major scale. OK. So that shows you that that's the benchmark. OK. So now we know why it is that we're learning the major scale and you know how important it is right now. Let's talk about it on this one string so no that this is really important. OK. Now the reason that we're learning it across one string is I really want you to understand the construction of it because we know the sound right and that sounds right and and we can say that we can sing it and it sounds right. This might not sound right. I mean doesn't sound terrible but it doesn't sound like sounds like we're going up the stairs and coming down the stairs. Everything sounds great all right. OK. So this is why that is is this construction is so important. OK now the distance between one fret and the next is a half step right in the distance between one fret and two frets is a whole stack. So we're going to be using w as a whole step and H is a half step in this example. So the construction of the major scale and I want you to use the attachments that are related to this video to help out with this that the construction of the major scale is whole step whole step half step whole step whole step whole step half step literally that's it. W w h w w w h could be your first your first musical tattoo right. Just remember that indelibly. Get that into your brain or get a tattoo other or something. It's important that you always know this construction forwards at least forwards backwards is nice too. Now we're going to take that and we're going to start at any note in whatever note you start at. That's the name of that major scale. So for instance we're gonna be starting on G. We know this is a G because we know that the lowest or thickest string is a low e right. And we know using our trick for know in the notes on the fretboard we've got e e didn't have a sharps we get F F has a Sharps we're gonna have sharp and then G. Boom. So there's our G. So now we play this form host that pulse the pass the whole whole whole half from this we will play B playing the G major scale and this is true for any note that we start on. So what's cool about this is walking away from this video you will know all 12 keys of the major scale pretty cool. All right here we go. So we play our first notes so what I want you to do is I want to play the third fret of the low E string right now. You can do this with your first finger any finger the fingering doesn't matter right now. OK. Just we're going to focus just on the theory part of this. OK. So use whatever finger you want. So here we are third fret of the low E string. We hit our first note. Now this is a really important aspect that you need to remember when you're doing this. Don't say hole step or half step until you're moving. Don't say it when you're on the note Don't say it when you land say it when you're moving because if you don't do that you'll see later on or you'll probably run into this if you don't if you don't really take what I'm saying to heart you're going to run into some problems and your scales sound weird cause you're cause you're saying holes that those that pass that. Well that wouldn't be right because you'd say hole step holes that pass them now you're messed up already because there's two hole steps in the beginning. So if we play the note and then we move while we say it holes them then we're good. This is our first note we don't want to say hole step there. That's just the note. So boom. Now we say hole step because we're moving because we're moving an interval of a hole that makes sense. Cool. I think he got it. Let's move. So here's our first note. So we're in say holes that hole step hasta holds that that homestead house. Now that listen to that you probably say hey that sounds great. That sounds right. OK. Now that's because it just works out that that is the major scale. OK now we're going to do this again. I want you to do it with me. OK now I'm going to say it ahead of time. But we're to play the note where to move up one whole steps to do it with me move up whole step move up another hole step move up a half step move up the hole step move up a hole step move up a hole step move up a half step. Now I did a little bit ahead of time there so you knew where we were going. But ultimately what you want to do here is you want to read through the diatonic harmony f there specifically for understanding the major scale. And then what I want you to do is I want you to use the blank fretboard template that have also included for this and that want you to write these in because it's as important for you to be able to just see this on paper. Be able to figure it out as it is for you to be able to figure this out on the guitar. OK. This is a trick that musicians have used for years as looking at things from different angles and what it does is it indelibly writes this into your brain. So really a cool trick to understand things is to look at it from these different angles and truly understand it. I had a buddy who went to Classical School so did I as a as a classical major but he he did the whole four years I did three years and then changed my major to music business because I wanted to come to Nashville and learn more about that sort of thing but this buddy of mine was deep into classical studies and one of the things that he learned from his instructor is he said that one of the exercises was to literally at night when you're laying in bed as you're falling asleep is to see those musical notes in your head of whatever piece you are working on and to Hammett or to be able to you know imagine your fingers on the fretboard doing the specific movements and that alone was a whole nother way to practice. And it truly truly works. OK OK. So with that being said that's what you're going to do is you're going to go through the motions here. Let's try this again. Now when you're doing this don't mind what the note is. OK what I mean by that is we don't know for the for this purpose here we don't care that this is a G or this is an A and this is a b and c OK. Don't worry about that right now there's reasons later on where you may want to think about that too but for right now it's more important that you're thinking about the interval only focus and you know breaking things down slowing things down these are all tricks to learning specific things and if you don't do it it's the breath is too wide for you to understand and you'll get frustrated most often. So it's good to be focused and understand what we're trying to do here and here we're just trying to understand the construction and let our ear get attenuated to the sound if you do this I promise you you're gonna go a lot quicker than trying to leapfrog it and go around it. All right so let's try this with the Open a. So we want to know what the first note is so we that we know hey this is an a scale. So the song is in the key of A. We play this form over the top of it. It's going to sound like it matches. If your guitars in tune. OK. So here we go. We're hitting the open a but again we're just using the interval names whole steps and half steps as opposed to naming the note. Don't get distracted and do that. OK. So here we go here's our opening so we're gonna go a whole step up from that. That's two threats a one two whole step half step whole step holes that whole step by step. Now notice that the first note in the last note are like bookends. If you're playing the scale from octave to Octave and this is a way that most musicians will play their scales or practice it from one octave to the back down even if you don't you just practice of eight notes. That's act right Oct in German and many other languages Oct 1 2 THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT. That's why it's called an octave. OK. Or an octopus has eight arms. One two three four five six seven eight farms or seven. I'm sorry eight arms are eight notes. That's why they call it off and that's why it's called an octave. Hey the light just went on right. Okay so we get or so we got a whole stab holes that house that holes that holes that those that have them and that's why that sounds great. And we did this in the key of they now again and you know you start on we want to start on the E here and do the same bit. We can read this and that's any. Now the homework and the takeaway from this is use the blank key fretboard templates and to write these out. Know what you do this with at least six of them. OK and you the note that you start on should be the know the end on. OK. Check your work. Go back. Write it down and then write it in between holes have holes that house that that sort of thing just to check your work. You really only have to do this a few times for your ear and your brain to truly get this. But if you don't go through this routine you're not going to get it and it's not going to be indelibly built into your brain. That's what you want to do because you want to play music. You don't have to be thinking about all this stuff. See what you do. You get it out of the way so that you can play. And this is what all the pros do they get that stuff out of the way to where they're not continually fighting not knowing something. OK. So you want to write those down and then I want you to practice six of them that could be six separate ones that matter. Some of them can be starting on the open string some of them could be starting up the fretboard doesn't matter. But I do want you to practice this. And for those folks that want to go the extra distance try to do it backwards as well. And this is a little bit more of a challenge but let your ear guide you. And you can do it with a small portion and then you know something like this if you were doing G you can go that's a great exercise as well. This way it's getting your ear attenuated to go up and down the scale and it gets that visual interval like relationship that's just set into your brain. All right my friends you know what to do. Go do it. Before moving on to the next video and then let's keep going.