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Whole Tone Scales – Another Improvising Scale

Whole tone scales are symmetrical scales, they are made up completely of whole tones or major second intervals

These scales are used mainly for improvising over altered dominant chords because of the flat and sharp 5th’s contained in it.

If we were to make chords from this scale they would all be augmented triads, C+, E+, and so on

There are really only two of these scales, it repeats itself every major 2nd

The first one would contain half of the chromatic scale and the second one the rest of the chromatic scale.

You could start on C for the first one and then C♯ for the second one

You can play every other note on one string starting with an open note up to the 12th fret for a whole scale

C Whole Tone

Here are the whole tone scales compared to the chromatic scales

These are the only two scales. You just start on the note you want and every other note in the scale is two frets away or one whole tone

These are 6 note scales like the Blues scales

Chromatic

C

C♯

D

D♯

E

F

F♯

G

G♯

A

A♯

B

C

Whole Tone

C

D

E

F♯

G♯

A♯

C

Whole Tone

C♯

D♯

E♯

G

A

B

C♯

This scale is good for improvising over C altered 5th dominant 7th chords like these. You may see the second two with a + sign C7+ this is the same chord.

The plus sign means augmented which always refers to the 5th of a chord unless written like C7aug9. This means augment or raise the 9th one half step or in our case 1 fret

C+9 would mean a ninth chord with a raised 5th. There are set standards for writing chord names but they aren’t always followed so you might have to try two chords to see which one sounds right.

Also there may be more than one way to write a chord. C+7, C7+ or C7♯5 can all mean the same chord.

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C whole tone played against a C7 augmented

This scale can be started from any tone in the chord. For the C7♯5 you could start on C, E, G♯ or B♭

These scales are all the same they just start at different points.

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