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Practice Exercise for Playing Major Scale Pattern #3 on Guitar

You can play a lot of music on guitar simply by memorizing five major scale patterns, and the best way to memorize anything is to practice. The following practice exercises will help you to learn major scale pattern #3 on guitar.

Once you learn the major scale patterns, you can play them in many different ways — applying the best pattern for the situation or by changing keys while maintaining a pattern. With 12 major scales and 5 fingering options for each scale, you’re looking at 60 major scales in position. All these options are what make the guitar so incredibly cool.

Patterns #1 and #2 had a range of two octaves, going from bottom to top. Major scale pattern #3, on the other hand, spans a bit less than two octaves. Playing just a single octave may seem a bit short, so in these patterns, as well as other patterns that span less than two complete octaves, we go as high as the position will allow.

The following figure shows major scale pattern #3, which starts on the 5th string. The pattern here is in the key of D major and is shown in both a neck diagram and in music and tab format.

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Click here to download and print this scale pattern.

Notice that in addition to the starting finger indicator (a 2 to the left of the notehead) there is also a fingering indicator for the out-of-position note. In this stretch, you reach down (toward the nut) instead of up, which will help you get used to stretching in both directions. Practice this pattern as many times as you need to in order to feel as confident starting a scale on the 5th string as you do on the 6th string.

After you can confidently play this pattern starting on any 5th-string note, practice it in rhythm with the following figure, which shows major scale pattern #3 in the key of F major in 7th position in ascending and descending sixteenth notes. Because this exercise is in sixteenth notes (which are relatively fast compared to eighth notes or triplets), play it slowly at first to make sure the notes come at a steady rate. After that you can gradually speed up.

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