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Scale starting and ending notes

Firstly thanks for the lessons - it's refreshing to have someone explain things clearly!

My question is that I've learnt various scales and I'm trying to improve my speed using a metronome & counting four-notes-per-bar. I've noticed however that (from the lessons I've had) once you play the scale you start playing the same note as you end with

eg Gmaj -

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
G a b c D e f g

This then means playing the scale an octave higher afterwards begins with an A and ends with an A -

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
A b c d E f g a

Therefore should I be playing it as -

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
G a b c D e f g

then playing the root note again like -

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
G a b c D e f g

so the next octave is exactly the same as the last? I ask as I've been taught to play the first two examples I've given in succession. Should I be starting each scale run with a G or is it ok to start with an A too? Would you please explain this for me?

Many thanks.


I think it's not only ok to start/end on different notes but also beneficial and even essential for learning a scale beyond its standard boxed pattern.

For example, when you learn scale positions, starting on different notes is a fundamental part of learning the scale across the entire fretboard.

Ending on a different octave note will also train your ear to how different tones of the scale work as destination notes in run phrases. For example, ending a run on the note A in a G major scale would emphasise it's major 2nd tone.

The starting and ending notes don't have to be the same note either.

As outlined in the practicing scales series, run patterns are great, but try and mix them with string skipping and phrases that move around the scale in a less linear fashion.

If you are starting on a different note than the root, you might need some kind of backing track to help define the key you're playing the scale in. This is because if you're just playing the scale, the root note is the only real indicator of a tonal center.

Try these drone tracks to help with the above. Right click and "save as" to download.

C major track (use any C major scale)

B minor track (use any B minor scale)

Bb7 track (use any Bb major scale with a b7)

Dm7 track (use any D minor scale with a b7)

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