Become great at Improvisation – Pt. 9 – Major/Minor scales on 1 string

30 Dec

Hi there,

In the next part of this Improv series we’ll look at learning to play your major/minor scales on just 1 string. This is another excellent way to fully absorb your shapes and move about the neck freely. Also to helps to fully absorb the notes on the neck.

To start with let’s get the notes of a major scale. Let’s say D major:

Using our TTSTTTS rule (tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone)  Tone is 2 notes (e.g. A to B) Semitone is 1 note (e.g. A# to B) :

D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#

Although D is your key centre, it’s best to practice on all your strings from your first available note. So for example on the 6th E string you’d start from the open E then F#, G and so on.

Here’s how it would look for the 6th string.

d major scale on 1 string

So practice this for all 6 strings (the A string would go A, B, C#, D and so on) and all 12 major keys.

Do this for your minor keys as well. Your Natural Minor scale is made up of a Root note (1), Major 2nd (2), Minor 3rd (b3), Perfect 4th (4), Perfect 5th (5), Minor 6th (b6) and Minor 7th (b7).

Major 2nd = 1 tone, Minor 3rd = 1 1/2 tones, Perfect 4th = 2 1/2 tones, Perfect 5th = 3 1/2 tones, Minor 6th = 4 tones, Minor 7th = 5 tones

G minor would be G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb, F for example and your first available note would be an F on the 6th E string.

By doing all this you are essentially learning 3 things at once:

  • Further integrating your scales to provide you with runs on each string and move around the neck effectively in a particular key
  • Reinforcing your knowledge of keys
  • Reinforcing your knowledge of the notes of the guitar fretboard

So get cracking 🙂

Thanks for reading these blogs, hope you find them useful.

You can find other excellent free info via the Js Musicschool twitter feeds @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic

Many thanks



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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Improvisation


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