do all scales not begin with a root?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by TooL_051685, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. TooL_051685


    Jan 19, 2005
    i thought scales were named by the root note they begin with, but now after looking at some diagrams of penatonics, i'm confused.

    okay, I'm fairly new to playing bass and i learned all the plain old major and minor scales. now i'm attempting penatonic major and minor scales. now from what i read on one website the penatonic major scale consists of 6 notes and follows the pattern of: "root note-whole step-whole step-whole and a half step-whole step-whole and a half step.

    Then i went to and looked at their scale finder. i looked at the major penatonic scale for e. i noticed that the scale started off with an F# instead of a E. i also noticed that their penatonic scale includes 8 notes instead of six. but all the same notes did fall within the scale. it was just that different root not that confused me.

    my question is should i learn it the first way or the second way. i understand extending the scale beyond the 6th note, but i think starting the scale early can be a confusing way to show it(especially for beginners) im also having a bit more trouble noticing a pattern to follow on the fret board. the regular major and minor scales i can zip through forward and backward withouth thinking twice.

    thanks for any and all help
  2. I agree; it is a little confusing when scales are shown with a note other than the root on the bottom. Probably they did it so that they could include notes on all the strings. Just make a mental note of where the scale's root is in whatever position you are learning it. I usually play pentatonics with two notes on each string. You can't do that with the E major pentatonic when you play it at the nut, since G sharp can't be played on the A string. My advice is to know where the notes fall on the fingerboard in all those positions. Learn the notes by name, rather than by their location in a particular fingering pattern. Then you can play most of the notes of the scale in second position, with two notes per string, and play the low E open.
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Pentatonics have five notes- penta= five.
  4. TooL_051685


    Jan 19, 2005
    thanks man i appreciate it. yea i'm sorry i said 6 notes, i was counting the root again
  5. Hi - could it have been a first inversion of the E which would start on F#.I tend to think diatonically instead of getting caught up learning pentatonics and inversions, triads, four note chords.Learn the scale which is where the pentatonic comes from anyway and the important notes such as 1,3,5,7 etc and then how each note 'sounds' when it's played in a particular situation.I was taught by two teachers the first about triads,pentatonics etc and the second who was my teacher at music college had a strong jazz background and thats when I started to think "above and beyond" the particular chord that I was playing over.
  6. TooL_051685


    Jan 19, 2005
    thanks, i'm confused what you mean 1, 3, 5, and 7 though
  7. Sorry it's hard to explain like this but - 1 = root,3 = major/minor 3rd,7 = major or minor 7th in CM7 you would have root = C , major 3rd = E , 5th = G , major 7 = B.Minor 7 chords have flat 3 and 7.