Scale Smarts (Part 1)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Learning a new scale confidently across the neck doesn't need to take hours if you learn this efficient visualization technique. Let's take the Lydian Dominant scale (1 2 3 #4 5 b7) for example, which works over a G7#11 (Measure 1).

First, construct the scale in one octave spanning the 6th and 5th string (Measure 2). Memorizing the scale this way should be easy as it covers only 2 strings. Next, simply visualize the exact same pattern starting at the root note one octave higher (Measure 3). Then repeat this pattern again in the next octave (Measure 4). As you can see, you can cover a large part of the neck from the 3rd fret all the way to the 13th by just memorizing one 2 string pattern! This visualization approach is a great way to organize the fretboard in a simple way – as repeating octaves, like a keyboard player. Try it with other scales, including ones you already know. As an added benefit, this method forces you to improvise horizontally, so you’ll never complain about being stuck in boxes again! Do you want a song or solo transcribed / tabbed out for you? Contact me at for info - rates are competitive and delivery is quick!