The Major Scale: Part 4: The 2nd Degree Position

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Music Theory: F Major Scale: 2nd Degree Position

Now that we have aquainted ourselves with the Tonic position, lets move on to the next position starting on the 2nd degree. Again, a little review and a playing example. Don’t forget to tryout the review questions below. The answers will be provided next week.

Video 1: The Major Scale: Part 4: The 2nd Degree Position


Review Questions

Fill in the blanks.

1. The major scale has a formula/pattern of h_____ steps and w_____ steps.

2. Each note has a number name called a d_____.

3. We can arrange these notes to play the major scale across all six strings. These arrangements of notes are called f_______ positions.

4. The t_____ will always tell you the name of the major scale/key that you are using.

5. F______ p______ make playing ove longer distances easier. 

6. The first degree of a scale is also referred to as the t____.

7. The second degree of the F major scale is the ___ note.

8. In the key of F, the c_____ associated with the second degree is calle the ___ m7.

9. Chords have a f_______ too. The formula for the m7 (minor seventh chord) is R b3 5 b7.

10. How many degrees are in the major scale?


More Learning Strategies

To get the positions to the point where you can have fun is a challenge. The first step is just to get used to them. What are we getting use to specifically? The fingering of course. How can we do this?

Well, in the videos I play the positions in an ascending and descending fashion. I recommend that you do this for each position 10 times really slow on a regular basis. Do not push yourself to learn them too quickly. Just let your body become accustomed to them over time.

So the current fingering this week is the 2nd degree fingering of the major scale.

2nd Degree Fingering Major Scale

Figure 1: 2nd Degree Position for the Major Scale

Take a look at each string from the sixth to the first. Remember: the circles will adjust for each string so that the position follows the formula of the major scale. This is how we got the previous Tonic/1st degree position and now the 2nd degree position shown here. To get these fingerings in your head simply spend time on each string going very slow. Do the following:

Say It Play It Method

  1. Say the number out loud before you play it.
  2. Find it on the fretboard.
  3. Play it.


Repeat this as needed for each string. Do each string 10 times slow then try it on all the strings. Here’s an example of a pattern you can try on each string.

Video 2: Left Hand Fingering Exercise Example


Its very important to go slow and be as accurate as possible. Don’t skip doing this. Its important. Your fingers won’t be accustomed to these movements at first and you can’t force it to happen right away. This can be frustrating but you have to remain focused and relentless in practicing. Take many breaks if you have too. If the video example is too fast for you then go even slower. Go as slow and as perfect as you can. 

This particular exercise should be done on each string. Do it everyday for a month. This will take you about one minute for each string so thats 6 minutes a day. Also, just so you don’t get totally bored, try different variations on this idea as in the following video example.

Video 3: Left Hand Fingering Exercise Variations

The Chromatic Method

Once you are familiar with the fingering pattern you can reinforce it another way. Take the position and play it starting at the first fret ascending and descending. Once you do that, move up one fret and repeat. Keep doing this until you go all the way up and find you self in the same key again. We can refer to this as the chromatic method of learning the positions and as always go slow at first.

Video 4: The Chromatic Method

Further Suggestions

Now, these are only a few examples that you can try. Don’t hesitate to make your own exercises to help you learn these positions. 

Remember, by using a visual aid like the ones provided (see Figure 1), the underlining structure is reinforced as you practice. This provides a framework of understanding that allows you an easier practice session. The easier it is the less obstacles you have to overcome and as a result you will become more motivated to practice.

© John Culjak 2016-2017