Scales: The A Major Scale Harmonized 3rd and 5th degrees

These are highly recognizable sounds often heard in rock and country playing but used also in all forms of music.

The block below consists of chords moving up the fretboard. The first chord has a red line through it to highlight its pattern. The second is in blue, the third in red and so on. These are the chords that are the result of harmonizing the A Major scale 3rd and 5th notes. The theory behind scale harmonization is covered in theory lesson 7.

If you thought of each set of 2 notes as chords, their names (in keeping with the harmonized scale)  would be as follows.

AMaj7 Bm7 C#m7 DMaj7 E7 F#m7 G#min7b5 AMaj7

( Please not that the G#min7b5 chord is also known as the G# half diminished chord )

In the MP3 example below, I have played the progression twice. The first time, I have plucked the 2 notes in each chord together. The second time each note is played individually.

Click on the diagram for an MP3 audio example.

Click here if you’re not sure how to read the scale blocks.

Here are some practice ideas. They are aimed at getting you more familiar with these shapes as well as getting your ear to hear some things you may have heard many other players doing in their playing. It is also a great technique exercise.

1) Pluck the chords in the following order. Think in groups of three.

(1 2 3)  (2 3 4)  (3 4 5)  (4 5 6)  (5 6 7)  (6 7 8)

2) Pluck the chords in the exact opposite of example 1. Think in groups of three.

(8 7 6)  (7 6 5)  (6 5 4)  (5 4 3)  (4 3 2)  (3 2 1)

3) Play the exact same order as the 1st example but this time play the notes individually.

4) Play the exact same order as the 2nd example but this time play the notes individually.

Remember that this pattern can be played anywhere on the neck. In the case of this one, if you were to start the same shape (pattern) one fret higher (3rd fret) you would be harmonizing the Bb Major scale. One fret lower and you are harmonizing the Ab Major scale.

Like all lessons on this site,  the more you work the patterns and the more you allow yourself to be creative with them, the more you will get from each one.

© Synaptic Systems Inc., 2001

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