The Basics of a Symmetrical Scale!

Last week we worked with the MAJOR SCALE on a single string, this week we will play across all six strings using a neat little pattern called a TWO STRING SYMMETRICAL SCALE. Remember to use one fret per string, fingerings are the numbers under the TAB:

(The slash means to slide your finger from the first fret # to the next # using the same finger for both)

TWO STRING SYMMETRICAL MAJOR SCALE IN ‘E’

e|——————-|——————-|———5-7-9/11–|

b|——————-|——————-|–5-7-9————-|

g|——————-|———2-4-6/8–|———————-|

d|——————-|-2-4-6————|———————-|

a|——–0-2-4/6-|———————|———————-|

E|–0-2-4———-|——————–|———————-|

0 2 4 0 2 4/4 | 1 2 4 1 2 4/4 | 1 2 4 1 2 4/4

Notice this seven note pattern repeats itself every 2 strings. This is a CLOSED SCALE meaning it can be TRANSPOSED to any key by moving the whole thing up the same # of frets. The first note of the pattern is the ROOT. To play this in ‘F’ major, simply begin the pattern on the 1st fret, G = 3rd fret, A= 5th…

Here is the the same scale transposed to ‘G’

e|———————-|————————|————-8-10-12/14–|

b|———————-|————————|–8-10-12—————–|

g|———————-|———–5-7-9/11—|—————————–|

d|———————-|-5–7-9—————-|——————————|

a|———–3-5-7/9–|————————-|——————————|

E|–3-5-7————-|————————-|——————————|

1 2 4 1 2 4 /4 1 2 4 1 2 4/4 1 2 4 1 2 4 /4

This scale pattern recycles nicely thanks to that pinky slide to the last note of the scale (the 7), setting up your first finger to grab or ROOT (the 1). I especially like how this scale pattern makes excellent use of ECONOMY OF MOTION, aka the path of least resistance.

Some other techniques to improve our ECONOMY OF MOTION

  1. Try to keep your fretting fingers floating above the strings – this makes for a shorter distance between your ‘resting phase’, and fretting a note.
  2. Make SURE your fretting hand thumb is in the middle of the back of the neck, NOT hanging over the top, your fingers WILL NOT be able to reach from this grip
  3. When executing the pinky slide use a lighter touch, ease up some during the slide. Remember: Path of least resistance.

Now lets move about this scale in a similar fashion to last weeks (3 up, 2 down). Its looks like this:

Remember to use one finger per fret. The jump to the ‘b’ string is a little jarring; see which finger seems to make the easiest moves (either 2nd or 3rd finger).

e|————|———–|————|———————|

b|————|———–|————-|——————–|

d|————|————|————|——————–|

g|————|————|————|——————–|

a|——–3–|——-3-5-|—-3-5-7-|–3–5—7 /9——-|

E|–3-5-7—|-5–7——|–7——–|———————|

|————|————-|————–|————-|

|————|————-|————–|————-|

|————|————-|————–|———5—|

|———5-|——–5-7–|——5-7-9–|-5-7-9——|

|–5-7-9—|–7-9——–|–9———–|————-|

|————|————-|————–|————-|

|————|—————|————–|

|————|—————|————–|

|——-5-7-|——5-7-9–|-5-7-9/11—-|

|–7-9——|–9———–|————–|

|————|—————|————–|

|————|—————|————–|

|—————|————-|—————–|————-8-|———-8-10|——-8-10-12-|

|———–8–|——-8-10-|—–8-10-12—|–8-10-12—–|–10-12——-|–12————|

|–7-9-11—–|–9-11——|–11————|—————-|—————|—————–|

|————–|————–|—————–|—————-|—————|—————–|

|————–|————–|—————–|—————-|—————|—————–|

|————–|————–|—————–|—————-|—————|—————–|

|–8-10-12/14-|–10-12-14-15—–||

|—————–|——————–||

|—————–|——————–||

|—————–|——————–||

|—————–|——————–||

|—————–|——————–||

And if this doesn’t keep you busy, play it backwards. Then play front to back/up and down.

I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it!

Andy Bukstein is a staff writer for SMG. A consistent exception to all the rules, Andy is living proof that not every great guitarist gets paid and laid. Alongside a passion for music, Andy moved to LA in April 2010 to pursue a career in writing sketch comedy, allowing his failures to become grist for the comedy mill. Email andybukstein@sharemyguitar.com

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