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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Symetrical scales are made up of a pattern of the same interval or series of intervals, over and over again. The most well know ones are the wholetone scale, octatonic h-w and octatonic w-h (the two diminished scales). The beauty in these scales is that you can start in a different place and get the same thing; its symmetrical. The wholetone scale consists of nothing but whole steps, forming 6 notes. The octatonic h-w scale consists of a halfstep and a wholestep repeated symmetrically 4 times, forming 8 notes. The octatonic w-h scale consists of a wholestep and a halfstep repeated symetrically 4 times, forming 8 notes. (Oct(a) + Tonic = 8 Notes, Pent(a) + Tonic = 5 Notes. Thats the direct meaning :p) H-W and W-H are inversions of eachother. These type of scales are rather visually obvious on the neck.

There are three different ways of looking at how to play a whole tone scale, I'll give examples for C wholetone.
Example 1 (2 notes per string):
E 4 7
B 5 7
G 5 7
D 6 8
A 7 9
E 8 10
Example 2 (3 notes per string):
E 14 16 18
B 13 15 17
G 11 13 15
D 10 12 14
A 9 11 13
E 8 10 12
Example 3 (Box Shape, 9th position)
E 8 10 12
B 9 11
G 9 11
D 8 10 12
A 9 11
E 8 10 12

There are two different ways of looking at how to play octatonic h-w. I'll give examples for C octatonic h-w.
Example 1 (4 notes per string):
E 14 15 17 18
B 13 14 16 17
G 11 12 14 15
D 10 11 13 14
A 9 10 12 13
E 8 9 11 12
Example 2 (Box Shape, 6th position on low E and A strings, 5th on the rest):
E 5 6 8
B 5 7 8
G 5 6 8
D 5 7 8
A 6 7 9
E 8 9

While its cool to know scales like this, it's also good to be know how to use them in a context that makes sense. Where do you use a wholetone or diminished scale? Well, take a look at what kind of chords they form. A wholetone scale creates augmented triads, dominant7#5, and dominant7b5 on every scale degree. In any case where any of those chords pops up, a wholetone scale can be used there. It can create interesting tension in music. An octatonic scale creates diminished triads and fully diminished 7th chords on every scale degree. Diminished chords are commonly associated with minor keys. One could use an octatonic scale over any such diminished chord. Yet since the octatonic scale has so many notes and a range of intervalic content, theres quite a bit more chords that it forms. It can form a dominant7, dominant7b9, dominant7#9, dominant7b5, dominant7#11, dominant13, major triad, minor triad, minor7, and minor7b5. The depth of chords that comes from this scale is truly astronomical.
Have fun. :icon_thum

156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Yaa but you don't need visual examples or a sound file to learn a scale. All ya need to do is read the words and I even gave patterns to play them. Since i tabbed out shapes, why is a soundfile necisary? Grab the guitar and play it. LOL. Its not that hard. P.S. I guess tabbing out scales isn't visual enough? Take alook at the "Pentatonic Minor" thread and explain to me how he was any more visual then me.

they are nice exercises actually.
nothing musical involved or anything but its a very rigid way of getting comfortable with geometrical pattern on your fretboard.

Crazy Admin
4,004 Posts
LOL they're not sposed to be musical . like you amazingly found out they are EXERCISES ... it's what you do with them that matters .. do you need someone to hold your hand and tell you what exactly to do with them ?
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