Whole Tone Scale


Have you ever shied away from playing the whole tone scale? It’s understandable. It’s kind of out on a limb. One of the problems for guitar players is that the whole tone scale seems quite obtuse. That is, how do you use it? It also sounds quite odd to people that have never been exposed to it before. So, why does the whole tone scale not sound like other guitar scales?

The main reason is that the scale has no semi-tones to it’s structure. As the name suggests, the whole tone scale is constructed purely from whole steps (2 frets). This means that it also has less notes than most of the other scales you use. The major scale, harmonic minor scale and melodic minor scale all have seven different notes and an eighth note that repeats the first. In the case of the this scale, it only has seven notes. The seventh note repeats the first note.

The other important thing to remember is that there are only two whole tone scales!

SCALE 1 = C – D – E – F# – G# – A# – C

SCALE 2 = C# – D# – F – G – A – B – C#

These two scales can be named after any of the notes that exist within them. All the scales within any one scale equals the other scales. This is a crucially important point to understand. You will be using these scales and see how this works in later lessons.


The lesson PDF is a great place to start if you are ready for the challenge.

You can download the PDF that is provided from the GMI ONLINE GUITAR SHOP which contains both of the scale forms shown in the video lesson.

I hope that you take the time to get this lesson together as we will be using it in other courses.

The Book That Accompanies This And Our Other Guitar Scale Lessons

Scales You Can Use - GMI Guitar & Music Institute

Pentatonic scales and hundreds of other patterns are all found in the GMI – Guitar & Music Institute publication Scales You Can Use!

This full colour book can be bought either as a printed copy directly from Amazon, or as a PDF immediate download from the GMI Guitar Store.

Both books are exactly the same apart from the printed book including blank staff and TAB along with blank chord boxes for your own guitar scale ideas. The PDF book is 105 pages in total and the printed version is 152 pages in total.

What Is In This Guitar Scale Book?

  • An easy to understand template system that enables you to learn and play major, natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales over the entire neck in seven positions.
  • Included tutorials show how you can play pentatonic scales in 10 different keys within one fret board position.
  • Learn to play in 14 keys in one position using modal scales giving complete musical control over key changes.
  • Included fret maps detail a simple to understand root based system in two key positions giving you complete understanding.
  • Theoretical explanations of pentatonic, major, melodic and harmonic minor, blues, chromatic, whole tone and diminished scales.
  • A suite of “exotic” scales are included for those that are looking to learn patterns that are on the fringe.
  • Original music examples in music and TAB provided throughout Scales You Can Use! to ensure that you really learn the patterns shown. Open string patterns cover major, minor, pentatonic and blues scales.

To purchase the printed version of Scales You Can Use directly from Amazon click the link in the product box below.


To purchase the lower cost PDF format of Scales You Can Use! from the GMI online store and receive it immediately click Essential Guitar Scales – Scales You Can Use! This link opens in a new window.

Lesson tags: whole tone scale


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