Only one infinite scale pattern on the guitar


Mostly Harmless
Nov 6, 2006
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I found the secret to guitar the universe and everything
It's "42" - Six strings x Seven notes per Octave

Although some factions will argue it's Hexatonic Scales on a Seven String Guitar.
{{We're not even going to discuss the Microtonal 3-String Cigar Box Guitar Heretics.}}


Forum MVP
Aug 17, 2004
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Somerville, MA
But that's the problem - you don't instantly compensate for the shift. You don't get anything "for free". It's just a neat illustration of modes as ordered permutations of the major scale. Another problem is that you see way more scale run patterns in the wild. That's why, like I've said in my reply above, it's a really good idea to learn other 3NPS patterns.
TBH, this is all very subjective, and I'm sure books could be written about how people think about this stuff, and how it differs person to person.

BUT.... I've always "seen" scale patterns as a series of interlocking 6-note, two string, three note per string "chunks," and especially for my legato heavy approach it's a convenient way to approach diatonic scales (HUGE caveat here, this "one infinite scale pattern" in the OP is only true for diatonic scales and modes, when you move away from that you create other intervallic patterns). Knowing how one fits into another as you shift up or down a position, or moving up or down a string, can help create runs that flow organically. I think, anyhow.

Still, this is only part o the equation - part of it is simply knowing where your chord tones are at any given point, and a lot of that means you just want to be sure you know the neck the old fashioned way too, not a bunch of scale patterns, but knowing where all your C#s are, so if you want to resolve to the 3rd over an A chord you know where you want to land.

Easy to forget how the very scale-heavy approach to improvising hasn't really been the norm for a lot of recorded history, and what we take for granted now is part of the reason something like "Kind of Blue" was considered so groundbreaking at the time.