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The Major Bebop Scale

Though not as commonly used as it's minor and dominant cousins, the Major Bebop Scale can be used to add a Bebop sound to your major family soloing lines and phrases.







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Adding the Major Bebop Scale to your repertoire will allow you to confidently bring a sense of tension and release to your maj7, maj9 and maj6 soloing phrases.

The major bebop scale is a Major Scale with a descending chromatic note between the 6th and the 5th,which you can see in the following two tables.

C Major (reversed)
C Major Bebop
C   B A G F E D
C B A Ab G F E D



C Major (reversed)
C Major Bebop
1   7 6 5 4 3 2
1 7 6 b6 5 4 3 2



This major bebop scale is directly related to the Major Scale. Because of this, you can use the major bebop scale to solo over any maj7 chord in your jazz guitar solos.

When first working on the major bebop scale, try putting on a static maj7 chord vamp and soloing over that track with the major bebop scale. From there, you can apply this scale to your solos over tunes such as “Green Dolphin Street,” “Take the A Train,” and “Tune Up” in order to take the major bebop scale to a full tune in your studies.

The major bebop scale works best descending, though with practice you can apply it to your lines both ascending and descending through the scale.

Advantages of the Major Bebop Scale

  • Adds a sense of “tension and release” to your jazz solos when blowing over maj7 chords.
  • Expands your Bebop vocabulary, and gives you a secondary scale choice over maj7 chords in your solos
  • Allows you to solo over all three chords in a ii-V-I with a Bebop scale on each chord, when partnered up with the minor and dominant bebop scales.


Major Bebop Scale Fingerings

Here are two fingerings for the C major bebop scale that you can use to get this important sound onto your fretboard.

After you have worked out one or both of these major bebop scales, try putting on a maj7 backing track in any key and use either of these fingerings to solo over the backing track.


Listen & Play:

Guitar Fretboard : Guitar Scale : Major Bebop Scale


Listen & Play:

Guitar Fretboard : Guitar Scale : Major Bebop Scale 2


These two positions are will get you started with the major bebop scale, but it is important to take them further in your practice routine.

To do this, take any one or two-octave Major Scale fingering you already know, add the major 7th passing tone to those scales, and voila, you’ve created new major bebop scale fingerings to use in your soloing ideas and phrases.


Major Bebop Scale Lines and Phrases

To help you take the major bebop scale from the technical side of your woodshedding to the improvisational side, here are 5 major bebop scale licks that you can learn in 12 keys, and add to your maj7 soloing ideas and phrases in the practice room.

Try working these major bebop scale licks through different tempos, as well as apply them to any chord progressions or jazz standards that you are working on in order to fully integrate these major bebop lines into your vocabulary.


Listen & Play:

Major Bebop Scale Lick 1


Listen & Play:

Major Bebop Scale Lick 2


Listen & Play:

Major Bebop Scale Lick 3


Listen & Play:

Major Bebop Scale Lick 4


Listen & Play:

Major Bebop Scale Lick 5



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