Scale Comparison Chart

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Recently came across a video showing techniques for playing chromatic scales. In the first position and in a moveable pattern. Interesting but why learn chromatic scales?

Without seeing the video, or the context it’s in or the message from it, I can only guess:

Whilst we focus on specific scales for specific keys, the reality is that all 12 notes in the western scale are valid to use in any key.

A subset of notes (the diatonic scales) generally work better in most contexts, and a smaller subset (e.g. pentatonic scales, arpeggios) work even better, more of the time, which is why we tend to focus on learning those. But there are cases where non-diatonic notes can add interesting colour, mainly as passing notes.

For example, chromatic runs are quite a common ornamentation.

Does this help?



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The videos are in a YT playlist I chanced upon: Beginner Guitar Lessons. Thaddeus Hogarth, Berklee online. The videos in question are:
Chromatic scale in first position.
Chromatic scale in other positions.
The second is the interesting one for the fingering.

My guess at potential value is that, as you refer to, there are times when music includes chromatic sequences. Knowing this fingering could be a guide of finger placement to play them.

And in general you may just want to play an accidental in a scale and the fingering gives you a way of playing it in context.

I must admit I’ve started to practice them now and again.

What do you think?

@Willsie01 Thaddeus himself answers the question about ‘why practice scales’ and he says of the Chromatic scale(s) that he shows in three successive videos as being good as a warm up, to develop finger movement, hand coordination and fretting etc.
In other words, if you are going to practice them, see them as serving a purpose similar to Justin’s finger stretching exercises. They are pretty much the same, almost but not quite.
Hope that helps.

Cheers :smiley:

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That all makes sense.
Any finger stretching exercise is time well spent for me. Limited reach. Small hands with bent and twisted little finger. I find myself thinking about looking into neck widths and their profiles, together with short scale lengths.
Hey Ho.
I digress: Doing Justin’s finger stretching exercises is in my daily practice M to F. After 6 years it’s still a WIP.

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