Base scales


A great idea by Sándor Kertész

Sándor was my student. On his first class he did not seem confident of his ability to master his guitar playing, which, as he explained, happened to be due to that he was already past 50 back then. As time passed, he proved to be wrong about that, as he would soon show very good comprehension of Pénzes Methodology; he literally analyzed it, as if he were a university tutor, which later turned out to be true. Plus, he proposed an idea that could help students memorize the trichord sequences following each other. So here it is:


'According to your methodology, the trichords that constitute the basic scales infinitely follow each other on the strings in a certain sequence:



(Author's comment: the left side of the figure above is the equivalent of the one described in section 'Infinite basic scales'.)



In order to better describe the rule, I named the trichords in an algebraic way:

  • Major high third (. . .): D

  • Phrygian low third (.. .): F

  • Minor low third  (. ..): M

Each trichord is given an algebraic designation plus an index that shows the ordinal of the trichord out of the identical trichords that follow each other in sequence. The table below shows this algebraic formula of each trichords:

Now let's see the algebraic formula of the basic scales in all scale degrees:



This table demonstrates the Pénzes Mirror Image in a relative way, i.e. not taking into account scale keynotes.



The following conclusions can be drawn from the table: The trichord and its ordinal a modal scale ends with will be identical to the trichord (and its ordinal) the modal scale on the next scale degree starts with. These trichords are highlighted with the same color. For instance, a Phrygian scale on the 3th degree ends with a D3 trichord, which means that the subsequent modal scale, which is the Lydian scale, starts with a D3 trichord. Needless to say this rule applies to Locrian - Major changeover also.


Furthermore, each trichord ends at the same fret as where the next scale starts with an identical trichord on the next scale degree.


I think these things will facilitate memorizing the basic scales. All you need to remember is, say, Major scale starts on E6 string with a D2 trichord. No doubt you will need to bear in mind the trichord sequence, i.e. how the trichords follow each other. Pay attention to the fact that you must always start F1 trichords a fret (half-note) ahead of the trichord starting position on the previous string. The same thing applies to any trichord play on B string due to the interval between G and B string being a high third. If you happen play an F1 trichord on the B string, it's going to mean that you must be two frets (a full note) ahead of the trichord starting position on the G string.


Consequently, the trichord a scale on E1 string ends with is just the same trichord as the subsequent scale degree on E6 string starts with, at the same fret.


I hope to have been of help with memorizing modal basic scales.' - Base scales - A great idea by Sándor Kertész