Hexatonic Scales

Even though scales constructed from 7 and 5 notes are the most common, scales can be constructed from any number of notes. Hexatonic, or six-note scales, are probably the next most frequently played.

The Country Scale

The country scale is any major pentatonic modal scale with an added m3 interval.

For example, the C major pentatonic scale is

The country scale is

The Eb is usually played as a passing tone, meaning it's quickly played as a transition between its neighboring tones.

Here are the two C Country Scale patterns:

C Country Diagram

The Green Position requires the use of "ALV" pedal combination, though it may be easier to use a bar slide in this case.

The Yellow Position requires the RL lever. If you don't have that lever, use a bar slide to get the required Eb.

C Country Diagram

C Country Notation

Pedal Locations: THE COPEDENT

The Blues Scale

If we take the minor pentatonic and add a minor fifth harmony in the scale, we get the blues scale. So take the A minor pentatonic (A-C-D-E-G-A) and add an Eb in the scale and you have the A blues scale. The m5 note is also played as a passing tone in this scale.

The minor pentatonic is also called the Blues scale, since it is used so much in that genre, but it's used extensively in rock, country and other genres as well.

Here is that scale on the instrument in two positions:

A Blues Diagram

Again, it may be better to use bar slides to get the required minor fifth note.

A Blues Notation

Pedal Locations: THE COPEDENT

The Hawaiian Scale

After the Country and Blues scales, the Hawaiian is one of the more common Hexatonic scales. Here are all the notes of the Hawaiian scale at positions 3 and 8:

A Hawaiian Diagram

The Hawaiian scales is like the A melodic minor scale with the fourth note (or D) removed. Because the Hawaiian scale is based on the root note "A" in these examples, we call it the A Hawaiian Scale.

Here are the positions with only the notes between root notes shown:

A Hawaiian Diagram

Here is the notation for the Hawaiian scale. Remember, if you don't have any of the pedals required for any of these scales, use the diagrams to find the appropriate bar slides to use.

A Hawaiian Notation

Pedal Locations: THE COPEDENT

There are literally dozens of other hexatonic scales, as well as pentatonic and heptatonic. Upon mastering the basic scales contained in these pages, you will find a many more interesting scales out there, some of which have never been tried with the steel guitar.


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