applying the chromatic scale to the fretboard

Recall,
that the chromatic scale is the collection of the 12 tones:
A,A#/Bb,B,BC,C#/Db,D,D#/Eb,E,F,F#/Gb,G,G#/Ab. Each of these tones (within an octave), is a half-step away from the next tone {A is a half-step away from A#/Bb}

Recall also, that a half-step is the distance between two adjacent frets on the same string.

Recall that in the western system we are using, intervals are analyzed against the major scale (an interval being the distance between 2 tones/pitches).

Applying the tones to the fretboard has been covered elsewhere in the lesson on applying standard notation to the fretboard
http://simianmoon.com/snglstringtheory/fretboard/applstand.html

Recalling from the lesson on the chromatic scale ( http://simianmoon.com/snglstringtheory/scales/chromatic.html) that we can define the chromatic scale by its intervals, we can view the chromatic scale as 1,b2,2,#2/b3,3,4,#4/b5,5,#5/b6,6,#6/b7,7.

We note that since the fretboard has fretted string lengths dtermined by frets set a half-step apart, then the intervals on a fretted string follow the same pattern up a single string.

For example, a string with root note on open string would have the intervals of the chromatic scale as follows.

1I#1/b2|2|#2/b3|3|4|#4/b5|5|#5/b6|6|#6/b7|7|1|#1/b2|
0   1   2   3   4 5   6   7   8   9 10   1112  13 

The order of intervals from 1 to #1/b2, etc. is always the same ; however, the root note is placed on whichever location you wish to place it (thus shifting the other intervals with it).

For example, with a root note on the 3rd fret, then the intervals for that string are as follows.

6I#6/b7|7|1|#1/b2|2|#2/b3|3|4|#4/b5|5|#5/b6|6|#6/b7|
0   1   2 3   4   5   6   7 8   9  10  11  12  13 

And with root note on the 5th fret:

5I#5/b6|6|#6/b7|7|1|#1/b2|2|#2/b3|3|4|#4/b5|5|#5/b6|
0   1   2   3   4 5   6   7   8   9 10  11 12   13 

etc.

Applying this to all six strings (in standard notation) we get:

With root on open 6th and 1st strings:

 1Ib2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|
 5Ib6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|
b3I-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|
b7I-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|
 4Ib5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|
 1Ib2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|
 0  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  

With root note on 1rst fret of 6th and 1st strings

 7I-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|
b5I-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|
 2Ib3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|
 6Ib7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|
 3I-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|
 7I-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|
 0  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13

With root note on the 5th fret of the 6th and 1st strings

 5Ib6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|
 2Ib3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|
b7I-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|
 4Ib5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|
 1Ib2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|b6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|
 5Ib6-|-6-|b7-|-7-|-1-|b2-|-2-|b3-|-3-|-4-|b5-|-5-|
 0  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12 

I leave it as an exercise for the student to create all 12 possibilities.

Upcoming lessons will include carving up this large fretboard pattern into chunks to make this information easier to use. Look for lessons on caged systems, zone systems, creating fretboard maps, and octaves in future lessons.

Next lesson is on intervals on the fretboard.

Peace,
Christopher Roberts
snglstringtheory@aol.com


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Last updated July 4, 2002
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