Help fine-tune your scale knowledge with Chuck Anderson’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Lesson Series
In the previous lesson, I talked about the importance of being able to spell chords for improvisation. It is equally important to be able to spell scales.
In approaching scales, we don’t want to think of them as do, re, mi exercises. Each scale represents a stream of notes that can be used in your solos. These notes can be used in any order and with any rhythm. Embellishments are also freely used.
Chords and chord progressions lead us to scales.
Here are the 16 most used scales in the jazz guitar style. Use the step patterns to calculate the scales in any key.
The following sample scales all start on C.
Major = 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1, 1/2 — C major = C D E F G A B C ( aka C Ionian)
Natural Minor = 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1 — C Natural Minor = C D Eb F G Ab Bb C (aka Aeolian)
Harmonic Minor = 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1/2, 1+1/2, 1/2 — C Harmonic Minor = C D Eb F G Ab B C
Jazz Melodic Minor = 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1/2 — C Jazz Melodic Minor = C D Eb F G A B C
Minor Pentatonic = 1+1/2, 1, 1, 1+1/2, 1 — C Minor Pentatonic = C Eb F G Bb C (aka a type of Blues scale)
Major Pentatonic = 1, 1, 1+1/2, 1, 1+1/2 — C Major Pentatonic = C D E G A C
Dorian = 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1, 1/2, 1 — C Dorian = C D Eb F G A Bb C
Lydian = 1, 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1/2 — C Lydian = C D E F# G A B C
Locrian = 1/2, 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1 — C Locrian = C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
Super Locrian = 1/2, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1, 1 — C Super Locrian = C Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb C (aka altered dominant)
Mixolydian = 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1/2, 1 — C Mixolydian = C D E F G A Bb C (aka Dominant)
Mixolydian +4 = 1, 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1/2, 1 — C Mixolydian +4 = C D E F# G A Bb C (aka Lydian Dominant)
Mixolydian -2, -6 = 1/2, 1+1/2, 1/2, 1, 1/2, 1, 1 — C Mixolydian -2, -6 = C Db E F G Ab Bb C (aka Phrygian Major)
Diminished = Alternate whole and half steps — C Diminished = C D Eb F Gb Ab A B C
Inverted Diminished = Alternate half and whole steps — C Inverted Diminished = C Db Eb E F# G A Bb C (aka altered dominant)
Whole Tone = All whole steps — C Whole Tone = C D E F# G# A# C
Develop fingerings for these scales. Most importantly, learn their sounds and their effects. Next time, we’ll look into applications for these scales.
Fender Begins Celebration of 70 Years of the Iconic Stratocaster with All-New Models
Shakti’s “This Moment” Nominated For The Best Global Music Album Grammy Award
A Passion For Fine Wine and Quality Guitars
Video Podcast: Eleonora Strino Explains Why She Learned An Oscar Peterson Solo
Is Jazz Guitar Dead? (Hint…NO!)
New JGT Lesson: Davy Mooney Explores Playing “Guitar Trio”
New Vince Lewis Arrangement, “As Time Goes By”
Thorell Fine Guitars
What Should I Be Working On?
Wolf Marshall Talks To JGT About His New Jazz Guitar Course
Thorell Fine Guitars
Ryan Thorell is known for world-class original guitars collected and coveted by some of the best musicians around the planet...
For over 20 years, Philadelphia, PA-based luthier Bill Comins has been dedicated to refining a line of instruments with the...
Theo Scharpach builds Fine Archtops and Classical concert guitars from his shop in the Netherlands. Theo Scharpach is recognized as...