CyberfretBass.com - Theory for Electric Bass: Major Scale Construction

Constructing Major Scales for Bass Guitar

All music theory really begins with an understanding of the major scale. The major scales is used as a constant to with which other elements are compared.

Below is an important tidbit of information before we get started.

All natural notes (A B C D E F G) are a whole step (2 frets) apart, except between E-F and B-C which are a half step (1 fret) apart.

 

A major scale is nothing more than a series of whole steps and half steps. Writing the natural notes from C-C will create a C major scale

C major scale

The easiest way to remember the formula for a major scale is this. There are 2 sets of
W W 1/2 separated by a W. The W stands for whole step, and the 1/2 stands for half step.

W  W  1/2  W  W  W  1/2

This same pattern can be applied to any set of 8 consecutive notes. For example if the natural notes between G-G were written, F would have to be raised a half step to F sharp in order to create the formula needed to make a major scale.

G major scale

In the next example the notes from F-F are written. In this case the B would have to be lowered a half step to a B flat in order to conform to the pattern.

F major scale

As I have mentioned before the major scale is used as a constant to with other elements are compared. For the purpose of comparison, the degrees of the major scale a assigned numbers from 1 to 7. These numbers are the function of the note within the scale.

scale functions

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