free guitar lessons with Forrest W. Lineberry, aka StoneDragon

Melodic Patterns

Practicing melodic patterns (sometimes called sequences) is one of the best methods available for learning scale fingerings. Their practice will also aid in learning the sounds of the various scales, as well as, help you to improvise lead lines from different scales.

The concept is very simple, the variations endless.

So, what are melodic patterns?

A melodic pattern is a short melody or sequence of intervals that you play off of each successive tone of a scale, both ascending and descending.

For example, let’s look at a popular sequence:



This simple pattern has been used in one form or another for hundreds of years. You can hear it in a lot of classical compositions.

The important thing to look at is the concept. The melody is really only two notes, the first tone of the scale followed by the third tone of the scale. Then you play the same idea off of the second tone (this time followed by the fourth tone) etc….

Now, if you continue all the way across the scale pattern it would look like this:



Descending, the sequence looks like this:



Notice that we didn’t change the order of the notes within the sequence itself.

In other words, if our sequence ascends like this:



It descends like this:



Don’t reverse the order of the notes within the sequence like this:



That variation will be covered by a different sequence.


What follows is a collection of 112 sequences.

All examples are shown using the C Major scale, but you should practice any sequences that you learn in all 12 keys and through all 7 modes, as well as any other scales that you are working on, in all possible fingerboard positions.

I have only shown each sequence from the first two notes of the scale. It’s up to you to work out the pattern and apply it to the rest of the notes of the scale. The easiest way to do this is to look at each note and determine which degree of the scale it functions as (think intervals), and then move the whole thing up to the next note of the scale.


The double bar-lines in the standard notation and TAB seperate one sequence from the next. Each pattern is also numbered for your convenience.



Scroll Up