How To Add The Major Bebop Scale To Your Playing

major bebop scaleHave you ever heard of the bebop scale? Do you wish knew more ways to bridge the gap between the scales you know and what real jazz musicians actually use in their jazz solos?

One of the best ways to go about doing this is to learn the method behind the major bebop scale.

When used properly this scale can open a lot of doors in your improvisation!

The Major Bebop Scale Action Plan

To get started learning first watch the video below so you can best understand how to use this jazz scale and hear it in action.

Then scroll down and check out the notation and extra tips!

Jazz Scale Theory

jazz scales

Major Bebop Scale: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, #5, 6, 7, 8.

The passing note makes all the difference! Keep reading to learn how to use it effectively.

Essential Bebop Scale Stuff To Know

  • This scale is essentially a major scale with 1 chromatic passing note between scale degrees 5 and 6.
  • A measure of 4/4 has 8 eighth notes in it. Major scales and their modes only have 7 notes in them. Bebop scales have 8 notes.
  • So, bebop scales are designed to always have chord tones happening on the strong beats (beats 1, 2, 3, 4) and passing notes notes happening on the off beats (the &’s of the beat).
  •  In general, if you look at great jazz solos, alot of the lines have chord tones happening on the strong beats and passing tones on the weak beats. So, this scale falls right in line with this powerful concept.
  • It can be used in other ways but most of the time I tend to use the bebop scale at the ends of my phrases.
  • So, when you play your favorite jazz licks or runs and then use the bebop scale at the end of your lines it can really round out your phrases!
  • I also tend to use it a bit more when I’m playing at faster tempos. I talk about why this is a good strategy in this fast tempo lesson.

Your Bebop Scale Action Steps

This site is all about you taking action and helping you improve as a musician. So, I offer you 3 ways to improve your playing right now.

1. Find an example of the major bebop scale is one of your favorite jazz solos. Leave a quick comment below and mention where you hear it.

2. Extra CreditMake a quick recording of you using the major bebop scale over a few measures of music, your favorite set of chord changes, or a jazz tune. It can literally be anything you like.

(You can easily record and upload to in like 5 minutes. Leave a link to your playing below and I’ll personally take a listen to it! 🙂

3. EXTRA EXTRA CREDIT: Create a quick youtube video of you using the major bebop scale.

Making videos is a great learning experience and it’s a fantastic way to share music and your passion with the world.


More Bebop Scale & Jazz Scale Resources

Here are some additional articles you can check out to deepen your understanding of jazz theory, scales, bebop etc. etc.

Check out this article on the mixolydian mode. 

You can also check out this cool lydian mode lesson, this lesson on phrygian, this lesson on locrian, and this lesson on gospel chords.

I also highly recommend you check out this monster course on jazz improvisation. It will take the mystery of out legendary jazz solos for you and save you years of time at your instrument.


– Hope you enjoyed today’s lesson and look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

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Steve Nixon