Finding Major Roots

Related Materials & Downloads

What You'll Need For This Exercise...

Before starting this exercise, you’ll want to download (if you haven’t already) the PDFs available in the “Materials” for this exercise on this page.  Once you’ve downloaded them either load them onto a tablet or print them out to use during the exercise.

How to Complete This Exercise...

This exercise is designed to help you learn to locate the major root (root note of the respective major key you’re playing in) as you are improvising a lead line or solo anywhere on the neck.  We do this by memorizing and learning to identify the octave patterns within each of the 5 scale shapes.

Why do this?  Because when you conclude your melodic ideas/phrases on the root of the major key… your phrases will sound more musical and thoughtful!

  1. You should already know the 5 shapes.  But, if you don’t then review them in this exercise about the 5 Major Scale Patterns.  So, to continue… use the downloaded PDF (depending on whether you’re choosing to play pentatonic or 7-tone scales – your choice!) to find the octave pattern within each scale pattern.
  2. For starters, play through each scale pattern and when you arrive at one of he notes in the octave pattern (for that scale pattern), play it twice. This practice helps you to hear and see them.
  3. Next, when step 2 is getting too easy, improvise simple phrases within each (and every) scale pattern where your phrase concludes on one of the octave note locations.  This is a way of practicing playing better improvise phrases.

Continuing to Improve...

The important thing here is to take it slow and really get familiar with where these major roots are.  If you can only afford the time to do this exercise a couple times a week, then focus on only one scale patterns/octave pattern pair for a month… or maybe even 2.  Don’t rush it.  If you can afford the time to practice this every day for an hour, then focus on only one scale/octave pair for a couple of weeks.  Don’t move on from your current chosen scale pattern until you are starting to play phrases you like.

Make sure to actually try your phrases out in the real world.  Ideally, you should play with others – trading chords and jamming.  But, if that isn’t a possibility, the simply play along with one of Music Protest’s jam tracks, YouTube jam tracks or even your looper pedal (if you have one).