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Unlock the Fretboard - Learn The Scale

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Unlock the Fretboard - Introduction Unlock the Fretboard - Getting Comfortable

The following examples are given in the key of E minor/G major, but I will explain how to transpose to other keys afterward, so be patient. I want to begin by demonstrating the key of E minor in groupings of 6, starting from open E through to it's octave on the 12th fret. What we're doing is simply playing each note of the E minor scale and the 5 notes that proceed them using the basic minor scale intervals. You're probably thinking to yourself right now, "But there are 7 notes in the minor/major scale!", and you'd be correct. The reason we'll be spreading out the key in groupings of 6 is simply for ease and symmetry reasons associated with the fret board.

So, examine the tablature given below and follow the pattern. Modes are commonly written in the same "scale formula" format, but again, let's avoid the theory jargon until we completely understand how the 7 notes of the key occupy the complete fretboard.

Bar 1
E  F# G  A  B  C
Bar 2
F# G  A  B  C  D
Bar 3
G  A  B  C  D  E
Bar 4
A  B  C  D  E  F#
Bar 5
B  C  D  E  F# G
Bar 6
C  D  E  F# G  A
Bar 7
D  E  F# G  A  B

The same 7 notes are being repeated, shifted up one at a time while excluding one note from each given scale pattern (again, for the execution of simpler fingering.)

Now check out the video for the scale demonstrations, and examine how each pattern "locks in" and can be easily shifted from one octave to another.