Classic Chord Scales

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INFO & EXPLANATION

CHORD SCALES DEFINEDMost often you'll hear scales played one note at a time. For example, if you were to play the C major scale, you would typically start on the C note and move up the notes of the scale one note at a time like so: C, D, E, F, A, B and then C. (There are several lessons in the Guitar Theory section that address what scales are, so if you're a little foggy on scales, be sure to check out those lessons.) But what about playing a "scale" more than one note at a time? If you were to start on three different notes of any scale and then move each of those notes up to the next note in that scale you would actually be playing the next chord in the scale. If you continue up the neck using the same strings, you would effectively be playing a "chord scale" in that key. Let me illustrate using a graphic example. Look at the guitar neck below. The 5th, 4th and 2nd strings show notes of the C major scale. Click the next button once. Now you should see a chord derived from those notes. (This is actually a Cmaj7 chord but that's not important at this point.) If you move each note of that chord up to the next note in the C major scale, you'll get a new chord (this one is Dm7.) Continuing up the neck in this manner gives you a unique chord-scale. Left hand finger numbers are provided to indicate each successive chord in the scale.CHORD SCALE EXAMPLE ADDING INTERESTNotice the finger numbers for the notes on the 3rd string are represented with a blue background. We're going to play an additional note on the 3rd string to add interest to your chord scale. First you'll play the initial chord and then you'll play the note (on the 3rd string) just below the initial note of the chord. Now we'll move to the next chord and do the same thing. You can expand this concept as far as you'd like!

Try this...
Chart out the notes on the entire neck of the guitar and pick three notes (on 3 separate strings of course) to start with. Now try playing them followed by 2 or 3 additional notes before moving to the next chord. You can even move to a separate set of strings, alternating between them. That's what we do in this lesson. We start with the 5th, 3rd and 2nd strings and then move to the 4th, 2nd and 1st strings. Then we move up one chord from where we were on the 1st set of strings and continue the pattern moving up the neck. This is how many great guitarists learn their guitar neck in all the keys! You can start with any grouping of notes in any key and build you own chord scales!

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