This week we’re going to look at a popular scale practice routine in which we run a two octave Major Scale fingering through every key. We’ll be looking at the one octave major scale, adding the second octave and then descending through an alternative major scale fingering.
Major Scale Practice Routine And Technical Workout
The Major Scale
For the sake of this exercise, I have written it in the Key of C Major, that means there are no accidentals (sharps or flats). For the first octave, we start from the 8th fret on the E string and play the Major scale in that typical shape as shown in Bar one below. The notes played here are: C, D, E, F, G, A, B and C. There are also known as: Root, 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, 6th, 7th and Octave.
For the second octave, we need to make a transition at B on the 9th fret on the D string. You need to shift position by sliding across from the B to the C just as you are coming to the end of the first scale. You will find yourself back in the starting position juts up the octave, from here you work up the scale to G on the 12th fret of the G string. At this point you need to shift up to the A on the 14th fret and all the way up to C.
Learn the fingering for both octaves ascending first, pay special attention to the position shifts and get everything under your fingers before moving on to the descending scale. You can just play the same fingering coming back down the scale and that would be fine, but for the sake of this exercise I have an alternative fingering to help develop your technical dexterity.
To descend, come back down the scale staying in the upper register and then shift position at the D on the 12th fret on the D string. The continue down the A on the 12th fret of the A string, then at that point we have a large position shift back to our starting point. This exercise helps break you out of that safe ‘box’ position and gets you out across the fretboard more.
Cycle Of Fourths
Now that you have all this safely stored away into your muscle memory, it’s time to work through all the keys. To do this, we are going to use the cycle of fourths. The cycle of fourths is simply a sequence of notes working in perfect fourth intervals, so for example if you play C you would follow that with F, from F you would play Bb and so on.. The whole sequence is as follows: C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E, A, D, G and back to C.
Running The Scales
So lets run that scale using the cycle of fourths. Start on C and run the C Major scale as shown on the stave and TAB above. Next play this scale in F Major, you will begin to see changes to the fingering with some open strings introduced. You will also see how your stretching and fingering will change slightly depending on the key you’re working through. Take your time with this exercise and really allow it to sink in to your muscle memory.
I was inspired to make this video after seeing Anthony Muthurajah’s recent Practice Routine Challenge video. Anthony is an incredible session bassist from Sri Lanka who studied at Berklee and played with some of the biggest names in Jazz. You can find out everything you need to know about this incredible bass player here. I had the pleasure of talking to the man himself, here’s the Anthony Muthurajah Talkingbass Interview.
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It would be good if this (or similar ideas) were incorporated into the Talking Bass – Scale Player app.
Is there a reason why you do the first shift with the finger swap on the octave rather than shifting the first finger on the 7 which eliminates the need for the finger swap?