The Whole Tone Scale | Jazz Guitar Lesson with Diagrams and Patterns
What is The Whole Tone Scale?
The whole tone scale is a symmetrical scale formed by a succession of whole tone intervals. It is a hexatonic scale made up of six notes that divide the octave in six equal notes. It has no leading tone because all tones are the same distance apart.
The whole-tone scale can be used to add tensions to your jazz guitar improvisations over dominant 7th chords. Indeed, it contains a raised eleventh (or #11) and a raised fifth (#5) that can bring interesting new colors to your solos.
There are only two complementary whole tone scales :
|C whole tone scale||C||D||E||F#||G#||A#|
|Db whole tone scale||Db||Eb||F||G||A||B|
|Formula||1||2||3||#11 (or #4)||#5||b7|
As it is shown above the whole tone scale is built with a root (1), a second (2), a major third (3) a raised eleventh (#11 / #4), a raised fifth (#5) and a minor seventh (b7). To sum up, this scale can be applied to any dominant seventh raised fifth (7#5) chords or any dominant seventh chord when you want to add tension.
That means you can play the C whole tone scale over the following chords : C7, D7, E7, F#7, G#7, Bb7, C7#5, D7#5, E7#5, F#7#5, G#7#5, Bb7#5. One same scale over six different chords, this is the principle of this symmetric scales.
The Whole Tone Scale in Twelve Keys
This chart illustrates the tones of the twelve whole tone scales. It will help you build augmented triads and augmented seventh arpeggios as it is explained a little later in this page.
|Tone 1||Tone 2||Tone 3||Tone 4||Tone 5||Tone 6|
Here are four positions to play the whole tone scale on the guitar within one octave. As it is mentioned in the scale chart above, you can clearly see that there are six notes in each diagram.
The orange note "1" is the tonic, this is the note most important note, it gives the name to the scale.
Once you have memorized each guitar position you have to play them in twelve keys by moving the root to the desired note keeping the same intervals.
After memorizing these patterns you can play by breaking them in augmented triads. Indeed each whole tone scale produces six augmented triads. An augmented triad is made up of three notes, a root (1), a major third (3) and an augmented fifth (#5).
By extracting the tones 1-3 and 5 from the C augmented scale, we arrive at the C augmented triad (C-E-F#). The alternate chord symbol is C+. It works with any whole tone scale.
|C augmented triad||C||E||G#|
C whole tone scale produces six augmented triads starting by each tone of the scale :
That gives this following pattern : R - 3 - #5....2 - #4 - b7.....3 - #5 - R...and so on.
In the following pattern the augmented triad is played semitone by semitone in an ascending movement.
Augmented Triads in Cycle of Fourths
This pattern is to play augmented triads in circle of fourths. Circle of fourths progression is that every chord resolves to the chord a fourth above it until it finally concludes in the home key. You got finally all the possible chords in this progression.
C | F | Bb | Eb | Ab | Db | Gb | B | E | A | D | G
Augmented 7 Arpeggio Patterns
Now you master augmented triads you can do the same work with augmented seventh arpeggio patterns because the whole tone scale also produce these arpeggios. They are made by extracting tones 1-3-5 and 6 from the whole tone scale that gives C, E, G# and A# from the C whole tone scale for example. Related chord notation is C+7 or eventually C7#5.
As you can see below an augmented seventh arpeggio is an augmented triad with a seventh added.
|C augmented seventh arpeggio||C||E||G#||A#|
|C augmented triad||C||E||G#||X|
In this pattern below each augmented seventh arpeggios is played in chromatical progression.
Circle of fourths for this one.
This PDF eBook provides over 550 guitar chord shapes. This is the perfect reference guide to understand how chords are built and how to play them on guitar.
This printable PDF is a method dedicated to guitarists of all styles who want to learn the most important types of arpeggios.
This handbook for guitar players is intended both for teachers and students. It includes 126 guitar shapes for mastering triads.
In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files related to 30 smooth jazz guitar licks.
This pdf method for guitar contains 40 II V I jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
This guitar method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation.
This PDF method contains 40 exercices with tabs, scores and audio files for practicing jazz guitar chords over the minor 2 5 1 progression.
This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor II V I jazz licks.
This package contains 3 PDF methods for jazz guitarists with tabs, audio files, analysis about the II V I progression.
PDF guitar method with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians. Tab, standard notation, audio files & analysis.
This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.
This giant guitar poster for any guitar player, student or instructor contains colorful arpeggio diagrams.
This guitar poster contains eighteen neck diagrams representing the most used scales in music.
This giant printed color poster contains 63 guitar chord diagrams for jazz players, students, teachers and schools.
Guitar reference poster about Greek modes for guitar teachers, students and music schools.
This is a printable PDF for guitar teachers and students containing seven cheat sheets about the modes of the major scale.
This printable PDF provides 7 diagrams to play medieval church modes on guitar.
You'll find here a printable PDF file containg guitar charts and diagrams of the seven modes of the harmonic minor scale.
You'll find a printable PDF in high resolution including guitar charts of the seven modes from the melodic minor scale.
Free major 7 arpeggio cheat sheets for guitar students and teachers. Three files are available for download, PDF, JPEG and PNG.
This page contains three music cheat sheets for guitar teachers and students about minor seventh arpeggios
This page contains a link to three cheat sheets about dominant 7 arpeggios. Guitar neck diagrams, theory and chart.
Three printable cheat sheets for guitar about m7b5 arpeggios for teachers and students.
Three music cheat sheets in PDF , JPEG and PNG formats for guitar teachers and students.
Three files (PDF, JPEG, PNG) including minor major 7 arpeggios shapes and theory for guitar teachers and students.
You'll find guitar cheat sheets with shapes, theory and formula chart about augmented major 7 arpeggios.
This page provides three augmented dominant 7 arpeggio cheat sheets for guitar players.
Last edited: 2021-05-17