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The G Major Scale

The G Major Scale:

Metal has never been widely known for using major scales. I tended not to teach this scale to many students in the past specifically just because it reminded me of Christmas music. However, today I use it on a daily basis primarily because the guitar is a G based instrument and every scale has a certain relationship with the major scale with slight changes in interval structure to give you other more exciting scales like the Aeolian, Phrygian Dominant, Dorian and Byzantine. Also, the G major and E minor scale have a pretty cool relationship to each other known as the relative minor. This just means that the E is the 6th tone in the G major scale (Think: G A B C D E as 1 2 3 4 5 6). And the great thing about METAL…. tons of E minor! \m/

The first sequence that I use is a 3-note-per-string pattern that uses 3 finger configurations that need to become natural for both the sake of speed and dexterity. The first pattern is whole step (W) whole step (W) starting on the 3rd fret of the E and A string moving you through G A B C D and E. The second pattern is half step (H) whole step (W) starting on the 4th fret of the D and G strings giving you the notes F# G A B C and D. The last pattern is whole step (W) half step (H) starting on the 5th fret of the b and e strings giving you E F# G A B and C.

Now that you have the pattern (W W) (H W) and (W H) you should be able to run it back and forth over any progression in G major or E minor and make it sound cool. However, like most guitar players you might want something to practice. The first exercise I learned doing this was ascending in 3rds. This refers to the relationship from the note you are playing up to the minor 3rd (a step and a half) or the major 3rd (two whole steps). For example G to B is a major 3rd, A to C is a minor 3rd, B to D is a minor 3rd, C to E is a major 3rd, D to F# is a major 3rd, E to G is a minor third and F# to A is a minor 3rd. Follow this pattern up the 3-note-per-string sequence and you’ll be ready for the next exercise.

Ascending in 3 using Triplets. This pattern is pretty easy once you have it figured out and you can use it to lock down most any other scale as you progress. I also like to play this one backwards as well. The idea is to keep the notes steady using a triplet feel. If you haven’t tried using triplets before you can use the count “1 tri-plet, 2 tri-plet, 3 tri-plet, 4 tri-plet” alternate picking through each using a “down up” pattern. Ideally, using a metronome is the best idea, but if you can’t grab the notes between clicks it’s fine to try it without as long as you’re thinking rhythmically. The sequence starts off using the same 3-note-per-string pattern we used for the last example but moves up only 3 notes then moves back one to start the next 3 notes. The notes move like this: GAB, ABC, BCD, CDE, DEF#, EF#G, repeat until you’ve made it through the pattern down through the high e.

Ascending in 4. The concept for this pattern is the same as the last, but instead of moving up 3 notes, we’ll be moving up 4 notes. Another change is that instead of using triplets we’ll be thinking in 16th notes. A 16th note count equals (1 ee and uh 2 ee and uh 3 ee and uh 4 ee and uh). This exercise also sounds great moving backwards (Think Pantera or Children of Bodom) Starting on the low E 3rd fret the sequence is: GABC ABCD BCDE CDEF# DEF#G EF#GA F#GAB, repeat until you have made it through the pattern ending on the 8th fret of the high e.

There you have it, my first 3 exercises for you to master on your way to Metal Madness. I hope you enjoyed these and until next time! See ya.