Looking to expand your guitar skills and add a unique flavor to your music? Learn how to play the whole tone scale on guitar!
This sequence of notes organized by pitch will give your playing an exotic touch.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of the whole tone scale, from its definition to practical techniques for playing it on the guitar.
Discover the versatility and applications of this scale in various genres and enhance your musicality.
Let’s dive in!
- The whole tone scale is a hexatonic (6-note) scale that is organized by pitch.
- The whole tone scale can be visualized and played on the guitar fretboard using a moveable pattern with the 6th string as the root note.
- The whole tone scale is versatile and can be used in various guitar genres, including classical, jazz, blues, funk, and rock.
- When using the whole tone scale on guitar, it is important to experiment with different patterns, modify chord progressions, and incorporate techniques such as triads, arpeggios, and improvisation to develop your own style.
Understanding the Whole Tone Scale
Understanding the Whole Tone Scale involves familiarizing yourself with its unique structure and intervals. The whole tone scale is formed by stacking whole steps, resulting in a series of six consecutive whole tones. This creates a symmetrical pattern that lacks a tonal center, giving it a distinct and ambiguous sound.
When played on the guitar, the whole tone scale can be visualized using moveable and open position patterns. In the moveable pattern, the root note is played on the 6th string, allowing you to slide the pattern up and down the neck to access different whole tone series.
In the open position pattern, the scale is played using open strings and fretted notes, providing a different range and tonality. These visual representations of the whole tone scale patterns on the guitar help in understanding and applying this unique scale in different musical contexts.
More about guitar scales read here: https://riff-mag.com/what-are-guitar-scales/
Formation of the C Whole Tone Series and Its Intervals
Once you grasp the concept of the whole tone scale, you can easily understand the formation of the C whole tone series and its intervals.
The C whole tone series consists of the notes C, D, E, F#, G#, and A#. These notes are named based on their major scale degrees, with C being the root or tonic.
When playing the C whole tone series on the guitar, you can explore alternative fingerings to find the most comfortable and efficient way to navigate the scale.
Analyzing the harmonic implications of the whole tone scale, you’ll notice that it creates a sense of ambiguity and tension due to its symmetrical nature and lack of a tonal center.
This makes the whole tone scale a popular choice for creating dissonance and adding a sense of mystery in various musical contexts.
Visualizing and Playing Scales on the Guitar Fretboard
To effectively navigate the guitar fretboard, you can start by familiarizing yourself with the patterns and positions of scales. When it comes to playing scales on the guitar, it’s crucial to visualize the fingerings and practice techniques.
The guitar fingerings for scales are specific patterns that can be moved up and down the fretboard to play scales in different keys. These patterns help you to navigate the guitar and play scales in a fluid and efficient manner.
Practicing techniques such as scale drills, using a metronome, and gradually increasing the tempo will help you develop speed and accuracy when playing scales on the guitar.
Moveable Whole Tone Scale Pattern for Guitar Using the 6th String as the Root Note
Start by placing your index finger on the 6th string at the designated fret, and follow the moveable whole tone scale pattern to play the scale in different keys.
The moveable whole tone scale pattern on the guitar using the 6th string as the root note allows you to easily slide the pattern up and down the neck to access different keys.
This pattern consists of playing the root note on the 6th string, then moving up two whole steps to play the next note, and repeating this pattern until you reach the octave.
The whole tone scale is known for its unique and dreamy sound, making it a great choice for exploring variations and patterns in different genres such as jazz, fusion, and contemporary music.
Playing Whole Tone Scales in Open Position on the Guitar
To play whole tone scales in open position on the guitar, position your fingers on the fretboard to form the required compound intervals. Start by placing your first finger on the first fret of the sixth string, which will serve as the root note.
Next, place your second finger on the second fret of the fifth string, your third finger on the third fret of the fourth string, and your fourth finger on the fourth fret of the third string. This finger positioning allows you to play the whole tone scale in the open position, starting from the root note on the sixth string.
Applications of the Whole Tone Scale
You can explore numerous applications for the whole tone scale in various guitar genres, so let’s dive in and discover its versatility.
In jazz and blues, the whole tone scale is a popular choice for creating a dreamy and mystical sound. Its distinctive intervals, consisting of whole steps, provide a unique flavor to solos and melodies.
The whole tone scale is also relevant in rock and funk music, where it adds a sense of tension and excitement. Guitarists often use this scale to create interesting riffs and licks that stand out in the mix.
Whether you’re playing in a jazz trio or a funk band, incorporating the whole tone scale into your playing can elevate your music to new heights.
Related Scales and Concepts
The diminished scale, also known as the octatonic scale, is a symmetrical scale that alternates whole and half steps. It’s often used to create tension and dissonance in jazz and classical music.
The augmented scale, on the other hand, is a hexatonic scale that consists of alternating whole and augmented seconds. It’s commonly used in jazz and fusion music to create a sense of tension and suspense.
When compared to the pentatonic scale, the whole tone scale provides a more exotic and mysterious sound due to its lack of half steps. This makes it a great choice for adding color and tension to your solos.
In terms of relationship with dominant chords, the whole tone scale can be used to create tension and resolve to the tonic in dominant chord progressions. This is because the whole tone scale contains the major 3rd and augmented 5th, which are the defining intervals of a dominant chord. By emphasizing these intervals in your improvisations, you can create a sense of tension and release that’s characteristic of dominant chords.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can the Whole Tone Scale Be Used to Create Tension and a Jazzy Feel in Guitar Solos?
To create tension and a jazzy feel in guitar solos, explore the melodic possibilities of the whole tone scale. Use whole tone scale fragments to add color and tension in guitar improvisation.
Are There Any Specific Techniques or Fingerings to Make Playing the Whole Tone Scale on Guitar Easier?
To make playing the whole tone scale on guitar easier, try using specific fingerings and techniques. Experiment with different patterns, visualize the scale on the fretboard, and utilize slides and open positions.
Can the Whole Tone Scale Be Used in Conjunction With Other Scales or Modes to Create More Complex Guitar Solos?
Yes, the whole tone scale can be used in conjunction with other scales or modes to create more complex guitar solos. It can be combined with the pentatonic scale or blues scale to add unique and interesting flavors to your playing.
Are There Any Common Mistakes or Pitfalls to Avoid When Using the Whole Tone Scale on Guitar?
When using the whole tone scale on guitar, common mistakes include excessive use of major 2nds, neglecting to vary intervals, and overusing the same root note. Master the scale by incorporating different techniques, intervals, and exploring your own style.
How Can the Whole Tone Scale Be Incorporated Into Chord Progressions to Create Unique and Interesting Sounds?
To incorporate the whole tone scale into chord progressions, experiment with different genres like rock, blues, and metal. Explore the unique sounds it creates compared to the pentatonic scale. Get creative and make your playing more interesting.
In conclusion, learning how to play the whole tone scale on guitar opens up a world of unique and exotic sounds for your music. By understanding its formation, intervals, and visualizing scales on the fretboard, you can easily incorporate this scale into your playing.
With its versatility and applications in various genres, the whole tone scale adds a distinct flavor to your guitar solos and chord progressions. So, start experimenting with this scale and unlock a new dimension of musicality on your guitar.
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