Chromatic Scales with Octave Displacement
by Scott McGill

The following are examples of chromatic scales starting on 'C', ascending and descending. Octave ("register") displacement has been employed throughout so that three levels of melodic activity are present. These studies are designed to develop the execution of large melodic leaps with the pick and left hand staying synchronized throughout.

Play each example either ascending or descending, depending on the direction of the arrow. This will result in a "grande" chromatic scale with no tones repeating until all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are exhausted.

First, let's examine the content of the chromatic scale. The following is the chromatic scale starting on the note 'C', in ascending and descending order.
To create a chromatic octave displacement, we shift ("displace") some of the notes in the scale by one octave, either up or down. This first example is an ascending pattern:
Listen to audio examples of this octave displacement:

Clean sound, slow (.mp3)
Distorted sound, fast and continuing up chromatically (.mp3)
By staring one fret higher on the note 'C#' and continuing through the chromatic scale, we create a "grande" chromatic scale that doesn't repeat a note.
The next example is a descending chromatic octave displacement:
On this example, by starting one fret lower (on 'B'), we create another "grande" chromatic scale. Listen to examples of the descending chromatic octave displacement:

Clean sound, slow (.mp3)
Distorted sound, fast and descending down chromatically (.mp3)
Play each example with alternate picking — the picking will reverse as one complete cycle is completed. Experiment with consecutive (directional) picking and slurs as well. Apply octave ("registral") displacement to any scales or phrases. The large interval skips help develop one's ears and picking technique.
About Scott McGill: Scott has been playing guitar for over twenty years. His formal training includes a B.M. in Jazz Performance/Composition from Temple University (Summa Cum Laude). For ten years he studied with noted composer Dennis Sandole (who also taught John Coltrane, Pat Martino, and James Moody, among others). His influences are diverse, ranging from fusion pioneers Brand X and Mahavishnu Orchestra to neoclassical guitar legend Uli John Roth. His current recording project is a trio with Vic Stevens (drums) and Grammy-nominated bassist Michael Manring. McGill/Manring/Stevens have released two albums, the latest entitled "Controlled by Radar", which is a two-CD set — one disc is all electric, the other all acoustic. You can visit Scott's website by going to Scott is also available for clinics and solo performances, and is planning a series of guitar instruction materials to be released in the near future.