This week we have the second lesson in the short series on playing the major scale through the cycle of 4ths. This exercise is a little tougher and works from the lowest note to the highest note in one position.

The Cycle Of Fourths Continued

This is the second part of a short series of lessons devoted to practising scales around the cycle of fourths. Check out part one here

The previous lesson focussed on playing the major scale through the cycle of fourths. Staying in the lowest position on the neck, we played each scale from its root up to the highest available chord tone, then down to the lowest available tone and back up to the root. We did this for every major scale in the order of the cycle of fourths.

This time, we are going to do a similar exercise through the cycle of fourths, but this time we will start on the lowest available scale tone and end on the highest. So the C major scale would start on the open E and end on the C on the G string. The scale should go like this:


…and then back down to the E again.


  • Stay in the first position (the highest fret you should be using is fret 6)
  • Keep a steady rhythm and don’t start too fast
  • Utilise every note in the scale that is available to you in the first position
  • Start on the lowest available chord tone, go up to the highest and then descend back to the starting note

Instead of working through all the scales in one go, try learning one (C major for example), then add the next one (F major), and then practice them both together before adding another.

Another way to learn these scales is by note namespelling drills will really help you here. Learning by pattern is fine, but you won’t completely understand the scales unless you know what tones they contain.

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