How to Play a Major Scale in Thirds

Most of the time, beginners – and even more advanced players – play their scales in a linear fashion. (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C) While that’s a great starting point, your study of a scale shouldn’t end there. Instead, it’s better to play the scale in many different ways so that you really master it.

Here’s a variation that not only helps you master a scale, but also offers several different combinations of left-hand finger placements. The video demonstrates the variation, and I’ve also included a GIF and a PDF of the standard notation and TAB.

See it on You Tube

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Remember to start at a tempo at which you can play this exercise perfectly ten times in a row. Then, increase tempo two beats per minute at a time.

Once you have learned this exercise in C Major, learn it in all keys. For those who are working with standard notation, it really helps to write the scale out in each key. This will help imprint the notes in your mind.

Have fun, and…

Aim High – Play Low


Was this lesson helpful? Let me know in the comments below. And feel free to ask questions! Share it with your friends using the tiles below, and hit the LIKE button if you’re of a mind! ~ Lane

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3 Responses to How to Play a Major Scale in Thirds

  • Mike:

    This lesson helped me feel like I’m playing bass lines, not just scales. Thanks a million!
    Would you suggest doing 3rds practice with minor scales and pentatonics too?
    When will we get scale variation 2 from you?

    • Hi, Mike. I’m glad it helped. To answer your questions: Yes, you can do this same exercise on minor scales and you should also practice in all keys. If you read standard notation, it really helps to write the scale out in various keys, as it helps you learn the note names, not just the fingering pattern. Not sure that pentatonic scales would work as well, but let’s both try it out, OK? As for scale variation 2, it’s second in line, behind a new riff I’ll be posting tomorrow. Thanks again for the comments. Good luck, and Keep Thumpin’! ~ Lane

  • Mick cope:

    Nice clear explanation. Ts

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