Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Webpages

Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites


New! Tabs for Popular Fiddle Tunes:

"The Girl I Left Behind"
"Arab Bounce"

Updated May 26, 2013

The Bruce Bernhart Websites

Mandolin Scales

Lesson #6- Scales, Meter, 5ths.

Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites

The Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Webpages explore the history of the mandolin, buying and building mandolins, basic chord structures, the different styles of playing, song tabs, the various makes and models of mandolins  available on the market, and the "best of the web" on topics of interest to mandolin enthusiasts

Look for additional Bruce Bernhart mandolin articles to come!
Bernhart's Review of B and E Scales, Introduction to the D and C Scales, Meter, and the Circle of 5ths.

First Position E Major Scale:

G String- 1/2/4/6
D string- 1/2/4/6
A String- 2/4/6
E String- 2/4/5/7

Know the root notes- The E note is D2, and of course the open E string
To make it "bluesy", flat the 4th, 6th and 8th.  Remember, the root note is always the #1 note in the scale.  Make each note clean- no "dead soldiers"!

Notation for the first position B Major Scale-

G String- 1/3/4/6
D String- 1/2/4/6
A String- 1/2/4/6
E String- 2/4/6/7

Know your root notes- The B note is on G4, A2 and E7.  Like the E major scale, you can flat the 4th, 6th and 8th to make it more "bluesy".  

Practice until you can play the B and E scales smoothly, cleanly and evenly!  That's why a metronome is so important.  Get into the habit of using a metronome.
The first step in metronome use is to understand time signatures. Time signatures are found at the beginning of a musical piece, after the clef and the key signature. Time signatures (also called meter signatures) consist of two numbers. The top number indicates the number of beats in a measure, while the bottom number corresponds to the value of the beat.  Most often, you will see 2, 3, 4 or 6 beats per measure. Beats are commonly half notes (the bottom number of the meter signature is “2”) or quarter notes (“4”) (the bottom number of the meter signature is “4”).

Here are a few common examples:

4/4: 4 quarter beats per measure (common time)

3/4: 3 quarter beats per measure

2/2: 2 half notes per measure (cut time)

The most most common meter is 4/4, which means that there are four beats in a measure. There’s also 3/4 (three beats in a measure), 2/4 (two beats in a measure), 5/4 (five beats in a measure – Mission: Impossible is written in 5/4), and even 6/4 (six beats in a measure). There’s also common time, another way to write 4/4 (it’s written as a C in the place of the numbers). Then there’s cut time, which is the same as 2/2. This means there are two beats in the measure – and each beat is one half note. This effectively makes the tempo twice as fast. Cut time is written as a C with a line through it.

Bruce Bernhart lesson on the Chromatic Scale for Mandolin:

The Chromatic Scale starting on D is: D, D-sharp, E, F, F-sharp, G, G-sharp, A, A-sharp, B, C, C-sharp, D. (If we choose to go down the scale we use flats instead: D, D-flat, C, B, B-flat, A, A-flat, G, G-flat, F, E, E-flat, D).

Next, learn your D scale.

If we start this pattern on the note D (third string, open), we get a D Major scale: D, E, F-sharp, G, A, B, C-sharp, D.  W means Whole-step, H means Half-step.

Here is the C major scale, using standard notation:

The Pentatonic minor scale

The pentatonic minor scale is a five (5) note scale (penta meaning five like in pentagon, and tonic meaning tone). So a pentatonic scale is a "five tone scale". There are five (5) positions to learn in a pentatonic scale. (If you do not know what a "position" is refer to the terms page.) We will learn all five positions of this scale and where they should be played on your mandolin.

Here are some terms of tempo:


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Largo Very slow
Larghetto Not as slow as largo
Adagio Slow, leisurely
Lento Slow
Moderato Moderate
Andante Moving with a moderate tempo
Andantino Faster than andante
Allegretto A little slower than allegro
Allegro Moderately fast
Vivace Lively, animated, brisk
Presto Fast, rapid
Prestissimo Very rapidly

See the next pages for more discussion of pentatonics and circle of fifths

Bernhart Mandolin Websites

Be sure to visit the other Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites:

Bruce Bernhart mandolin rock tabs

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lesson on scales, meter, using a metronome

Bruce Bernhart mandolin purchase tips

Bruce Bernhart mandolin orchestras, tuning

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- chord groups and intervals

Bruce Bernhart on mandolin family history

Bruce Bernhart on string and saddle adjustment

Bruce Bernhart beginning mandolin lessons one and two

Bruce Bernhart on more chord triads, blues patterns, and self-tuning

Bruce Bernhart on the mandolin family tree

Bruce Bernhart mandolin chord diagrams

Bruce Bernhart on temperature considerations

Bruce Bernhart lessson on mandolin flats and sharps

Bruce Bernhart lesson on chromatic scales, circle of 5ths and meter

Bruce Bernhart on mandolin chord theory

Bruce Bernhart mandolin C and G major chord diagrams

Bruce Bernhart on emergence of the modern mandolin

Bruce Bernhart on two finger mandolin chords

Bruce Bernhart on whole and half steps on the mandolin

Bruce Bernhart perpetual motion practice excercises

Bruce Bernhart on playing waltzes on the mandolin

Bruce Bernhart on majors, minors and sevenths

Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites

Also, check out the Bruce Bernhart RV Websites and Blogs:

Solar power for your RV

The care and feeding of your RV battery

The sport of "geocaching" and RV refrigeration basics

The basics of RV power inversion

RV travel tips and tire care

Advanced discussion on power inversion

Tips on buying a house battery and cold weather maintenance

RV Insurance basics

Buying the right generator for your RV and portable power

RV television reception options

Care and maintenance of the RV air conditioner

Top RV destinations

RV long-term supplies and weight considerations

RV Insurance- Road protection and bodily injury coverage

RV battery types and winter charging considerations

Deep cycle battery basics

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