Playing G Major Scale over Alternating Bass Exercises - Guitar Pro
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Your first step along this journey is to learn how to play an open major scale while alternating the base, this is what it's going to sound like is the alternating base. Then here's the scale.
And the reason why I want to started with this lesson is twofold. One is that the most common key to Travis pickin' is the key of G. And so the melodies that you'll be learning when you're learning chord-melody Travis picking will tend to be derived from the G major scale. So if you've learned how to play the scale, if you've memorized it and internalized it, if your fingers just go to those notes naturally, when you move on to learning melodies, they'll be familiar to you. You'll be like, oh, I know these notes. I've played these a million times, so it makes learning melodies a lot faster. And then the other reason is, I want to start teaching you to have thumb and finger independence.
And so we'll start down that road by just playing a scale while alternating the bass. We'll be playing just over a G chord today. In fact, you'll just be grabbing a G bass note with your third finger. All right, let's get started. Let's fret that G note with our third finger here. You don't have to worry about your pinky, you're going to be using your pinky to play melody notes.
And then we're not actually going to pick bass notes right now. We're just going to pick the scale tones. It's going to sound like this. So let me take you through that. You can just plant your picking hand thumb on the sixth string to stabilize your hand. And then let's pick with our first finger first and let's go up the major scale. You start on the open third string and then second fret third string, and you're going to use your middle finger, your second finger to fret that note. And then the next note is the open second string, again, we're going to pick it with our first finger. And then second string, first fret. We're going to affect that with our first finger, of course. And then second string, third fret, use your pinky for this one. And then open first string. First string, second fret with our second finger. That one, I find a little challenging, it's kind of hard to clear with my hand, and so if you need to drop your thumb down a little bit behind the neck in order to make that possible, go for it. And then finally, your pinky on the first string, which is where you would have it if you're fretting a G chord.
Let's do that again, and let's use our second finger, our middle finger of our picking hands to pick the notes this time. Again, stabilize your thumb on the sixth string and play the open third string. Third string, second fret. Open second string. Second string, first fret. Second string, third fret. Open first string. First string, second fret. And first string, third fret.
OK, now let's try going down with picking with our first finger. So start with that first string, third fret. Go down to the second fret. Open second string, third fret. Second string, first fret. Open second string. Third string, second fret and open third string.
And let's descend one more time with our second finger. First string, third fret. First string, second fret. Open first string. Second string, third fret. Second string, first frack. Open's second string. Third string, second fret. And open third string.
And let's work on memorizing these notes for a moment. I like to memorize this pattern just by identifying the fret numbers on each of the strings, so it starts with 0 2. And then 0, 1, 3. And ), 0, 2, 3. See if you can memorize that pattern: 0 2-013-023. 0 2-013-023. 0 2-013-023. Pause the video for a moment and see if you can play each of those notes without making any mistakes just from memory. Challenge yourself to remember them. If you make a mistake, review what mistake you made. See if you can review that pattern. 0 2-013-023. A little bit more so that you avoid that mistake in your next attempt and keep working on that until you've memorized the pattern.
OK, now I'm going to take you through a series of exercises that increase in difficulty where you're playing this major scale over our alternating base, and I'm going to have you pick each of these exercises with your first finger and then your second finger. So we train both fingers.
So grab that G bass note again with your third finger and you're going to be alternating between the six string and the fourth string, as if we're just like picking a Travis pattern over G chord. And then what I'm going to have you do is pinch each scale tone over a bass note, and we're going to start by playing whole notes, which means we're going to play basically one pinch every four notes like this 1-234-123-4123 4 and so forth. And I find that when I'm playing this slowly. And when I'm playing melody notes so infrequently, it's kind of easy for my hand to get lost. You know, we talk about planting before we play. We do that to orient our hand, to kind of tell our hand, OK, that this is where you are in space. It helps your proprioception. Well, playing this slowly-- it really challenges your proprioception. Or at least it challenges mine. So I give myself a little extra support. And I encourage you to do the same thing here. Put your pinkie down on the soundboard. No one's going to know. I won't tell anybody, especially, you know, your classical guitar teacher next door. They don't need to know. Classical guitarists do not put their pinky on their soundboard. But there are a lot of great Travis pickers who do. I don't do it that way, but I do do it in this exercise, so go ahead and plant your pinky if that makes things easier. And then start alternating with the thumb. We're going to start with a pinch. We're using our pointer finger here, our first finger of our picking hand to do this pinch. So pinch with the thumb and the first finger at the same time. We're going to pinch that open third string,
OK, I'm going to count to 4 and then we're going to start, we're going to climb up this scale with our first finger. One, two, three, four. Now, the second fret. Now open second string. First, second string. Third, second string. Open first string. Second, fret. And third, fret.
So that may have been a big learning curve. And so if you need to pause here and repeat this at 10, I imagine you do. You should pause and repeat this a ton. And then once this starts feeling more comfortable, come back and we'll do it with our second finger.
Now, let's try that same exercise with your second finger. Start by alternating the bass, and I'll count you in one, two, three. That's great. Now let's do the same exercise, but we're going to pick our melody notes every other beat. So these are going to be half notes instead of whole notes. And so it's going to sound like this. So let's start with our bass notes, and I'm going to count us in one, two, three. It's OK. Pinch, pause the video and work on that exercise until it feels manageable, and then I'd like you to do the same exercise with your second finger. We don't need to play it together. You know what to do at this point? And then once you've gone through both those exercises, I recommend doing this five or 10 times.
The last exercise I'm going to take you through in this lesson is to play quarter notes, which is one melody note every bass note, so it's going to be like this. All right, so I'm going to start with some bass notes and then I'll count us in. One two, three four. So I imagine that exercise is going to be a handful. Take it really slow at first and repeat it a bunch for both your first finger and second finger. All right. Have fun.
How's it going?
Are you loving the lesson? Confused? Have a suggestion? I'd love to hear from you.