Chromatic Scale Patterns | Hub Guitar

Chromatic Scale Patterns

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Hi. This is Hub Guitar.

We're going to talk about the Chromatic Scale on guitar. This is the basic set of notes from which everything else is derived.

The simplest way to see a chromatic scale on the guitar is just to look at any guitar string. All of the notes on that string, in order of lowest to highest, would form a chromatic scale. The chromatic scale is a "full" scale that has all 12 notes.

So why practice it on guitar? Well, on guitar we have to negotiate a lot of shifts across the strings of the fretboard. A firm intuitive sense of how the chromatic scale works will help clarify the distance we're traveling whenever we switch from one string to another.

Many players find that, until they understand this scale, they're just kind of guessing what note they'll land on when they move across strings.

So it's subtle but important. Don't neglect it.

Here's the scale going up:

And here's the scale going back down. Note that on the way back down, the first string has five notes. That means that if you were playing it in a pattern of four as I was just now, you'll need to be very careful that you don't mess up the rhythm and accepts. Always try to be musically consistent. Don't play music based on the shape of the guitar. Play ONE two three four ONE two three four.

So that's the idea. Practice this up and down and you'll improve your intuitive understanding of the guitar neck. There's not necessarily an urgent need to apply it to improvisation or anything like that, but just being aware of how this pattern works will improve your understanding of how the fretboard works.


The chromatic scale is the most basic scale in music. It’s important to understand this scale because it is the progression of notes that all other patterns are created from.

The chromatic scale contains all 12 notes of the 12-toneA tuning system which causes the octave to be divided into 12 perfectly equal pitches. system.

Practicing the chromatic scale can help you understand exactly how the notes on the guitar work. One important task for advancing beyond the intermediate level is to be comfortable going across the strings, being just as familiar with playing and visualizing the intervals across the strings as you are up and down a single string, which is easier to visualize.

Chromatic Scale - 2 Octaves

This pattern, which the focus of this lesson, shows how to play all of the chromatic notes across the fretboard strings.

Key Exercises

  • Learn, memorize, and apply the chromatic scale.
  • Use the chromatic scale to envision steps across the strings, especially whole and half-steps.
  • Practice the chromatic scale as an alternate picking speed-exercise using a metronome.

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