Hybrid Picking : Major Scale Mastery

The major scale is often overlooked by guitar players as it is one of the first scales learned on guitar therefore a “beginner’s scale” (alongside the pentatonic scale). 

The truth, however, is that there’s way more that can be done with the major scale than meets the eye. By using hybrid picking and playing wider intervals or “less traditional” lines you’ll unlock many different flavours without having to dive into the different modes of the scale (more on the modes in a future article).

By the way, if it’s your first time doing hybrid picking, I highly recommend you to check out this article first: Beginner’s Guide To Hybrid Picking

Beginner’s Guide To Hybrid Picking

Spice up your runs with 3rds and 6ths

If you’re tired of hearing the same “all the way up” scale run where you play every single note of the scale consecutively: break up the pattern with 3rds. 

Here’s how the pattern works on the entire scale :

Now let’s apply this pattern to a run to make it less predictable.

To crank things up a notch you can use 6ths instead of 3rds. This will sound a bit more “out there” as you’ll be playing wider intervals and will really help spice up your runs. You should find this pattern pretty intuitive to play as it is fairly similar to the 3rds one.

Now let’s have fun with the 6ths pattern

Unlock a Fusion sound using 4ths

Fourths are a fairly underused interval. They can be tricky to play as they often involve rolling your finger to play the next note on the upper string of the same fret. For some people it will also be very unergonomic to play them using alternate picking or sweep picking. Pinking one note per string with alternate picking is a very tricky thing to do and if you choose to sweep pick your way through, your hand will have to reset itself every time. This is made a bit easier by using hybrid picking. As long as you stay on the same string group, your pick and finger will stay on the same strings (no extra movement needed). Oh and for the finger rolls… I‘m sorry you’ll just have to work your way through those (unless you do the Jason Richardson method which doesn’t work for everybody).

Try this same pattern on the minor pentatonic and I’m sure you’ll get some Fusion vibe going.

Work out “Schwarzy style” with 5ths and 7ths

If you made it this far: You are hard core!

That’s why I figured we would end this up with 2 challenging scale patterns.

Soundwise, they may not appeal to everybody but as a hybrid picking and finger independence exercise, there’s no arguing you’ll get your money’s worth (oh wait, this is free… your time’s worth).

Feel free to try all the different patterns and runs in all the positions of the scale to get really familiar with them. 

There’s plenty of fun to be had with hybrid picking and the major scale so enjoy!