Three note per string scale patterns
These are the seven patterns for playing diatonic scales using three notes per string. (A diatonic scale is the kind of scale you're most familiar with — one of them can be made from the white keys on the piano.)
If the first note on the low E string is considered the root then this would be the "major scale".
This is the corresponding "natural minor" scale, sometimes called its "relative minor".
Using the patterns
There are seven patterns because there a seven different notes a scale when the octave is not included. The names of the patterns below match the name of the mode if the first note on the low E string is considered the root of the scale.
Think of these as patterns to memorize. They can all be used in any key; the only thing that changes is their position on the fretboard. For example, to play a C major scale using these patterns, you could play any or all of these:
- Ionian pattern starting on fret 8
- Dorian pattern starting on fret 10
- Phrygian pattern starting on fret 12 (or 0)
- Lydian pattern starting on fret 1
- Mixolydian pattern starting on fret 3
- Locrain pattern starting on fret 5
- Aeolian pattern starting on fret 7
There is an enormous amount of information about diatonic scales and modes, so there is no point in repeating it here.
The same patterns are shown in both a vertical and a horizontal display because some people have trouble with one form or the other.