This is a public version of the members-only Banjo with Tony Trischka, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Banjo with Tony Trischka.
Join Now

Level 1: Beginner
 ≡ 
Level 2: Intermediate
 ≡ 
Level 3: Advanced
 ≡ 
Old Time Fingerpicking
 ≡ 
Classic Style Banjo
 ≡ 
Clawhammer
 ≡ 
Celtic Tunes
 ≡ 
30 Day Challenge
 ≡ 
Playing Backup
 ≡ 
+Music
 ≡ 
«Prev of Next»

Banjo Lessons: Melodic Scale Patterns

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Level 1: Beginner

+Level 2: Intermediate

+Level 3: Advanced

+Old Time Fingerpicking

+Classic Style Banjo

+Clawhammer

+Celtic Tunes

+Playing Backup

Additional Materials +
Close
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Banjo
information below Close
Information
 ≡ 
Course Description
 ≡ 

This is only a preview of what you get when you take Banjo Lessons at ArtistWorks. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
X
X
X
[MUSIC]
In
this lesson we'll be discussing Melodic
Scale Patterns.
These come in really handy when you're
playing fiddle tunes
and will help you to improvise
melodically.
And it just has a whole lot of benefits,
both right hand and left hand.
One thing you're gonna run into
consistently is inside forward and
backward rolls.
And when I say inside, I mean where the
middle finger will be on
the second string instead of where it
usually is in Scruggs style, and
almost always is in Scruggs style in the
first string.
So for starters let's just do an inside
forward roll.
Fourth, third, second, fourth, third,
second,
you can just do that with a metronome.
[MUSIC]
And
get used to that middle finger being on
the second string if you're not already
used to it and then try some backward
rolls.
Second, third, fourth, second, third,
fourth.
Middle, index, thumb, middle, index,
thumb.
[MUSIC]
Like that.
Okay.
Now, we're gonna start with this scale
pattern here which uses a couple of those
two of those backward inside rolls, and it
sounds like this.
[MUSIC]
Now in this scale pattern, and
when I say scale pattern I just mean
instead of doing.
[MUSIC]
Instead of going up and
down the scale, rather than just taking
those simple, diatonic notes going up and
down, you're going to turn it into a
pattern, as the title suggests.
So, you're gonna go from the first note to
the second note of the scale to the third
note of the scale, and then back to the
first note.
So, you're going one, two, three, one.
Then you're gonna go, kind of follow the
same pattern,
except you're gonna start on the second
note of the scale, which is A,
which is the seventh fret of the fourth
string.
And you're gonna go, as you went one, two,
three, one.
One, two, three, one.
Now you're gonna go two, three, four, two.
Then three, four, five, three, four, five,
six, four.
And so on and so forth.
[MUSIC]
And if you follow it all the way up,
that's what it sounds like.
So, start on the open third string with
the index, then I add the seventh fret of
the fourth, backward roll, and I let go
each time to get that separation of notes.
Unless you're playing really fast, and
don't have enough time to jump up and
down.
[MUSIC]
I'm not doing with every
single fretted note, cuz some of them work
better when they're played together.
But to a great degree, I am adding them
together to get a little more clarity,
a little more of that pinpoint clarity on
each note.
Add the index, I use the index on the
fifth fret of the third.
Then I switch to the middle on the fifth
fret of the third.
Add the ring on the fifth fret of the
second.
Back to the fifth fret of the third.
Here's measure three.
Middle on the fifth fret of the second.
Index on the fourth fret of the first.
Add the pinky on the seventh fret of the
fourth.
Fifth fret of the second,
fourth fret of the first from the position
you already are.
And then I add the pinky on the seventh
fret of the first, ring on the seventh
fret of the fourth, I'm sorry, seventh
fret of the second, and open fifth.
So the whole thing is.
[MUSIC]
You should definitely work
this with a metronome, because you really
want your time to be really tight on this.
[MUSIC]
Now,
you can use this four measure sequence as
an introduction to Shucking the Corn or
Blues, something like that.
So instead of going.
[MUSIC]
For the beginning of that instead of.
[MUSIC]
And then the C.
[MUSIC]
You're gonna go.
[MUSIC]
Okay, so you're starting to get sort of
this very Scruggsy thing.
In keeping the middle finger planted on
the third fret of the second,
hammer two to three.
Add the index on the second fret of the
first.
And then a, an Osborne roll here.
Ring to the index on the first string with
the middle still planted on
the third fret of the second.
A backward roll to a three to two pull-off
to the open first.
Now, rather than using the entire scale
pattern I'm just gonna use a part of it.
[MUSIC]
And
instead of going to the fifth fret of the
third, I'm gonna go to the third fret
of the first string so I'm set up to play
a C Lick.
So it's.
[MUSIC]
And now I'm going on C.
[MUSIC]
Back to G.
So, I have the index on the third fret of
the first.
This is another, kind of a scale pattern.
[MUSIC]
So, fifth string open, third fret of
the first, fifth fret of the second with
the index and ring, respectively.
[MUSIC]
Open the first string.
[MUSIC]
Sorry, once again.
[MUSIC]
And now I have the index on the sixth fret
of the second, pinky on the ninth fret of
the third.
Jump back down to the fifth fret of the
third and then fifth fret of the second.
Open second seventh fret of the fourth,
open third.
Or you could pinch the first and the third
as you get to that point.
So you've got, the whole thing put
together would be.
[MUSIC]
So once again.
[MUSIC]
And then.
[MUSIC]
However you want to finish it off.
Okay now here's a, the next scale pattern
which sounds like this.
[MUSIC]
So when you want to go.
[MUSIC]
Either up or down.
[MUSIC]
Instead
of having the position where you're at the
eighth, fourth fret of the first and
fifth fret of the second like that.
You can be at the seventh fret of the
second and the ninth fret of the third.
And, it's the same notes, just in
different spots on the neck.
So I'm gonna be up here for this exercise.
[MUSIC]
So, you start, now, the,
this pattern is one, three, two, one, two,
four, three, two.
Three, five, four, three.
And so on and so forth, that's what's
going on here.
And if you did it on one string it'd go
zero, on the third string for
instance, it would be, zero, four, two,
zero, two, five, four, two, four, seven,
five, four, five, nine, seven, five, and
so on and so forth.
It's maybe a little more graphic to see it
laid out on one string.
So, again, ring on the seventh fret of the
fourth.
Here's another inside forward roll add the
index on the fifth fret of the third,
middle on the open second.
Fifth fret of the third,
open second, fifth fret of the third with
the ring on the fifth fret of the second.
Then jump to the index after the first
string at the beginning of that measure.
Index on the seventh fret of the second.
Ring on the ninth fret of the third.
Ring is already, it's all set there see.
[MUSIC]
And then probably
I would borrow that across the seventh
fret of the first two strings.
So, the whole thing would be.
[MUSIC]
Then,
another variation, or another kind of a
roll would be.
[MUSIC]
And so, I do wanna go.
[MUSIC]
You can use your pinky though,
in the tenth fret of the second if you'd
like to.
[MUSIC]
And
I'm wrapping the thumb around the tenth
fret of the fifth string.
And you could put some of this into
Blackberry Blossom.
If you're playing Blackberry Blossom, it
can give you kind of an interesting sound.
[MUSIC]
Okay, so that's just another way to
play Blackberry Blossom, I'll slow that
down just a little bit.
Two, three, and.
[MUSIC]
Here it comes.
[MUSIC]
Okay, so
that's taking a fragment of the scale
pattern.
And so on and so forth, and inserting it
into a, into a fiddle tune.
So again, you don't have to play the
entire four measures or
however many measures it is of the, of the
scale pattern.
You can just take a segment of it.
The last two measures, the first two
measures, just somewhere in the middle and
just kind of experiment with it.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC].
Okay, continuing now with the scale
patterns, we're gonna have a low,
starting low down here on the fourth
string.
[MUSIC].
And when you're that, that low, you really
need to use some single string style.
So, I'm gonna play the scale pattern and
then I'll discuss it.
And it goes like this.
[MUSIC].
Going all the way up to the 12th fret of
the first string there with the pinky.
[MUSIC].
So, I'm doing single string for this.
For that first measure.
[MUSIC].
Thumb, index, thumb, index, thumb, index,
thumb, index.
Those are not the lyrics.
So, I start with the thumb, and then cross
the index under to the fourth string
where your index is at the second fret.
[MUSIC].
And then you can use the ring or pinky.
My hand falls in such a way that even
though it's not one finger per fret, and
it is technically incorrect, I use my
pinky there, anyway.
[MUSIC].
And then and in terms of the note choices
or
the degrees of the scale you're going
eight, six, seven, eight.
So you hit the tonic note then go down two
notes below that.
[MUSIC].
And then come up to the note below that
and then go back to the tonic.
So bum bum ba dum.
[MUSIC].
And
then you go to the second note of the
scale,
A which in this case I'll call nine, and
it goes nine, seven, eight, nine and then.
Three, one, two, three, four, two, three,
four, five, three, four,
five, and so on and so forth.
That's this pattern.
[MUSIC].
And then you switch to this melodic style,
where you're going inside with the middle
finger on the second string and
it's an inside backward roll to the ring,
index, ring, index.
And then I switch to the middle here.
[MUSIC].
To the ring, add the ring onto the sec,
fifth fret of the second string.
[MUSIC].
See?
[MUSIC].
And then for the last note of that that
page, I add the middle on, I'm,
I'm sorry, of that.
Last note of that measure is what I'm
trying to say.
Put the middle on the fifth fret of the
second string.
[MUSIC].
Switch to the middle here, add the index
on the fourth fret of the first and
the pinky on the seventh fret of the
third, fifth fret of the second,
fourth fret of the first.
[MUSIC].
And then I slide the middle finger up to
the seventh fret of second string,
add the ring on the seventh fret of the
first string into a backward roll.
[MUSIC].
Slide that middle up to the tenth fret of
the second.
[MUSIC].
Add the index on the ninth fret of the
first.
[MUSIC].
Add the thumb on the 10th fret of the
fifth string.
[MUSIC].
And the pinky on the 12th fret of the
first string.
So the whole thing would be.
[MUSIC].
So okay, so here is another pattern.
That you'll hear some of in Arkansas
Traveler.
[MUSIC].
So this scale pattern, and if we call this
five.
Five four, five four three five.
Then four three two three.
And then three two one,
three two one three.
Sorry about that.
So you have.
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC].
Sorry.
[MUSIC].
Okay, so
now if we apply this to Arkansas Traveller
you can get some really nice sounds.
And I'll be inserting it into the B
section but
I'll show you the A section also so you'll
have the complete tune.
I'm showing this to you in G which is
where Bill Keith has played it.
For many years, and usually it's done in
the key of D.
But it works really nicely in G also.
So if you're playing in a band, or in a
jam session with,
with people who want to do it in D which
is where it's usually done,
cuz that's where it fits on the fiddle.
Then you could do it in D, but
then when it comes time to the banjo
break, just do it in G.
And it'll make for a nice change of
flavor, and then go back to D after that.
So, let me play this for you.
Arkansas Traveller.
[MUSIC].
And I'll repeat that, and
then the B part using a lot of the scale
patterns that we just used.
First in the higher octave, and then in
the lower octave.
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC].
Okay, coming out of the A section.
[MUSIC].
Now you're gonna do this little lead in.
[MUSIC].
Ring at the 12th fret of the second.
[MUSIC].
Thumb at the, wrapped around the 5th
string at the 10th fret.
[MUSIC].
A two note lead and then the downbeat is.
[MUSIC].
All these patterns just rippling along
and, and a lot of these old tunes.
Like Arkansas Traveler, and Sailor's
Hornpipe, and
Blackberry Blossom are based on scale
patterns, at least parts of them.
[MUSIC].
So, you have the 12th fret of the first
string,
thumb wrapped around the 10th fret of the
second.
I mean, you've already been doing this so.
[MUSIC].
Forward roll and then add the index on the
9th fret of the first,
middle on the 10th fret of the second.
It's still at the 10th fret of the 5th
string with the thumb.
[MUSIC].
And then let go of the thumb and two
backward rolls.
[MUSIC].
Slide the middle down to the 7th fret of
the second.
Ring on the 7th fret of the first.
[MUSIC].
And then keep that middle finger moving
down to the 5th fret of the second.
[MUSIC].
And then add the ring on the 7th fret of
the first.
[MUSIC].
Middle on the 7th fret of the second.
[MUSIC].
Middle just slides back up two frets.
[MUSIC].
Middle slides up to the 10th fret.
[MUSIC].
And then.
[MUSIC].
So you have the 9th fret of the first,
10th fret of the second.
And you go.
[MUSIC].
And add it, wrap that thumb around to the
10th fret of the 5th string again.
[MUSIC].
And then you do the descending thing
again.
[MUSIC].
And then this tag ending.
[MUSIC].
So you could do open 5th.
[MUSIC].
Ring on the 7th fret of the first.
[MUSIC].
Index on the 5th fret of the second.
[MUSIC].
Another forward roll.
[MUSIC].
Forward.
[MUSIC].
Forward.
[MUSIC].
And
then index thumb on the open second and
third strings, respectively.
[MUSIC].
Index on the third string, you're fretting
that with the second fret on the index.
[MUSIC].
Ring at the 4th fret of the 4th, hit that
with the thumb.
[MUSIC].
On the right hand.
[MUSIC].
And pinch the first and third strings with
the index and
middle since you're coming off the.
[MUSIC].
Thumb there.
Quarter note there, and then another two
note lead in, just as you did, but
down an octave.
[MUSIC].
Open second, 5th fret of the third, and
here's the last part of it.
[MUSIC].
So you're doing.
[MUSIC].
Two note lead in and then.
[MUSIC].
First string, 5th fret of the second.
Fi, sorry.
5th fret of the 3rd.
Going into a forward roll with the open
second, open first.
And I'm letting go there so.
So I had the separation of notes with the
index,
as soon as I hit that fifth fret of the
third.
Don't cut it too sh, too sha too sharply
cut.
Don't do that.
But let it ring out the full
length of the note.
[MUSIC].
And then.
[MUSIC].
I let go and then come back down with the
ring at the 7th fret of the 4th and
then add the index on the 5th fret of the
third string.
[MUSIC].
Open.
Open up that third string.
[MUSIC].
Inside roll.
Or inside forward roll.
[MUSIC].
7th fret of the 4th, open 3rd to the index
on the 4th fret of the 4th string.
[MUSIC].
Then index thumb, index middle in the
right hand.
[MUSIC].
Hitting the index on the 4th fret.
Of the 4th string.
[MUSIC].
Little chromatic thing.
[MUSIC].
That's chromatic if you do it that way, if
you go five, four, five.
Those are the same notes but you're
hitting the open third,
fourth fret of the fourth, open third,
open second.
Now you're mirroring that.
[MUSIC].
Same chromatic thing.
[MUSIC].
This time single string.
Seven, six, seven on the fourth string,
ring, middle, ring.
Add the index on the fifth fret of the
third.
[MUSIC].
Sorry.
[MUSIC].
Then.
[MUSIC].
And here's a, this is kind of a Bill Keith
thing,
Ben Eldridge does this sort of thing, too.
[MUSIC].
Pinky at the fifth fret of the second,
index at the [INAUDIBLE] I'm sorry.
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC].
5th fret of the third string with the
pinky I meant to say.
Index on the second fret of the second
string.
[MUSIC].
Pinky, index, and then carry on through
here.
[MUSIC].
Okay.
So this whole B part is.
[MUSIC].
All right.
So I'll do that one more time slowly.
[MUSIC].
All those different endings you can throw
on these things.
So, those are some melodic scale patterns
for
you to chew on and a couple of
applications.
Actually, three different applications.
So, I hope you enjoy those and if you have
any questions,
always just send a little note to me on my
student page or you can.
Just write on the forums in the ask Tony
zone right there.
And I'll be happy to answer them.
Or send it in as a video exchange, better
still.
And then I can see what you're doing.
Okay.
Thanks a lot.
[MUSIC].