Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stupid Guitar Tricks: Hexatonic Scales


    What the hexatonic is a hexatonic scale?  A hexatonic scale is a scale with 6 notes.  Because of the tuning of the guitar, playing the standard 7-note scales on the guitar provides a multitude of patterns to be digested.    How can we simplify a 7-note scale pattern so that it falls into a better looking and easier to digest pattern?  The answer is so simple it's stupid.

    Just take a note away!  To make any 7-note scale hexatonic, take away the 7th note in the scale.  Take a look at the C major scale with a 3 note per string pattern:

    To make a hexatonic scale out of the major scale, or any 7-note scale for that matter, just take away the 7th note.  So let's have a look at what this new scale looks like that we derived from the major scale:

    Now heres the cool part.  Because of the tuning of the strings, this fingering will repeat itself at every octave.

    As you can see, the fingering pattern for the first octave repeats itself diagonally across the neck, giving you the same fingering pattern on every 2-string set.  It's much easier to remember a repeating fingering pattern than one that changes every couple of strings.  Plus,  you'll look like you know what you're doing because you're actually playing across the neck rather than playing within a single box pattern on the neck.  Like I said, it's so simple it's stupid.

    And just to demonstrate that it works the same way with other scales, here are a couple more hexatonic versions of 7-note scales:

Here's Dorian


Since the only difference between Ionian (major) and Mixolydian is the 7th note (Mixolydian is a major scale with a flatted 7th), the Mixolydian hexatonic scale is the same as the major (Ionian) hexatonic scale.


    I'll trust that you can figure out the rest of the hexatonic scales on your own.  After all, how can one learn to truly be good at something if they can't figure things out for themselves?

    It should be noted that there are other types of scales that are also referred to as hexatonic scales.  For the purposes of this article when I refer to hexatonic scales I am referring to a specific pattern which consists of a 7-note scale minus the 7th degree.

1 comment:

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