G Major Scale In 3 Octaves

G Major Scale In 3 Octaves

Hi Guys and thanks for dropping by! I was inspired to write this post by Matthew, a new intermediate student who’s tonal quality and overall technique is quite strong, but who is finding it difficult to maintain reliable intonation as he moves to higher positions

Matthew’s two octave scales are pretty solid and he seems quite comfortable with a variety of first position finger frames; it’s definitely time to begin G major scale in 3 Octaves!

As per usual, good things take time and it’s incredibly important to develop strong technique before adding different bow strokes or increasing the speed of your three octave scales.
Also remember that there are a number of different finger patterns we can use for this (or any) scale. The techniques addressed here, however are of relevance no matter what finger pattern you use and can be adjusted accordingly.

Before you start

Make sure your fingernails are nice and short; You’re going to need to keep your left fingers round and relaxed at all times, so if your nails are too long, this won’t be possible and you’ll be introducing incorrect technique right away!

Practice my ‘Finger Clickers’ exercise as shown in the video; we’ve used this to prepare for vibrato previously so it shouldn’t be completely new.

There is absolutely no use in playing the whole scale until you have mastered the four key area addressed below, so please take time to watch and read carefully.

Cut Your Nails!
Finger Clicker Stage 1
Start with your finger bent inwards
Finger Clicker Stage 2
Allow your finger to 'click' out to this position. Repeat stage 1 and 2 at different speeds. Listen for the clicking sound

The Difficult Parts

Although everyone is unique and we all have our individual strengths and weaknesses, I’ve been around the violin teaching block a few times and as such, can pretty accurately predict the areas that you’re going to find hard!

Hmm… Let’s see, There’s:

  • Moving into position on the A string
  • Moving into position on the E string
  • Maintaining a ‘tunnel’ position with the left fingers, especially at the very top of the scale.
  • Moving down to first position when descending

Was I right? If you answered ‘yes’ to any or all of these, the following exercises are going to be amazingly helpful for you. If you answered ‘no’ to any or all of these, you probably don’t know that you’re doing them wrong so again, the following exercises are going to be amazingly helpful for you.

The Exercises

  1. Pop, Slide, Swap On The A String:

This exercise addresses moving into position on the A string and it’s purpose is to encourage effortless and accurate shifting from first to third position. Through practicing this exercise, you’re going to develop reliable intonation as you move from first to third position.

2. Pop, Slide, Swap on the E string:

This one’s a little harder and will help with moving into position on the E string. Until your ears know what’s right, you may need to check the ‘C’ with the third finger before attempting your shift. Be particularly careful to maintain your rounded fingers here and don’t be afraid to bring your elbow up under your violin a little more.

Moving On Up:

This is simply playing the top five notes of the scale whilst maintaining your rounded fingers and sound quality. If you find this difficult, your hand shape is most likely not correct.

Descending Slide And Swap:

This is our final exercise and it addresses errors in moving back to first position when descending. The shift from the first finger on C to the fourth finger on B is large and you may move down in smaller steps if you like.

Watch Out As You Shift!

Be mindful that your whole hand and arm move comfortably from one position to the next. Take a look at the series of pictures below and note that it’s not just your fingers or even hand that needs to move comfortably between positions

Tunnels On Top

As shown in the video, maintaining rounded fingers is imperative in all positions. For the top notes, however, it may feel more comfortable to lie your fingers down; this is absolutely unacceptable and must be quickly rectified. Take a look at the pictures below and ensure that your fingers match those that are correct


You have officially entered the realms of THREE OCTAVE SCALES! This is a big step in your violin journey and done properly will allow you to practice shifting and intonation accuracy.

If you found these exercises difficult, don’t despair; they are not designed to be mastered within a day or even a week. Keep practicing slowly and carefully and you’ll absolutely notice improvement in your G major scale in 3 Octaves over time.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the accompanying video, please leave a comment in the comments section below and I’ll be back to you before you can pop, slide and swap!

Best of luck with your three octave scales!

Marketa 😉

Founder of myviolinbff.com

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Timotheus

    Hi Marketa,

    Thanks for this article! It is very helpful. But the top five notes are very difficult to get. I always have to get my fingers straight. Any suggestions on what I can do about this? Really appreciate your time to help me with this.

    Best wishes,


    1. Marketa

      Hi Tim
      You might need to get your elbow and hand under a bit more. Send me some photos if you’d like me to take a proper look.
      Best wishes
      Marketa ?

  2. Danijel

    Hello Marketa, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I was searching on the internet about this and I have been lucky to stumble upon your article. My child has a problem with these 3 octaves, he simply can’t catch it. I am sure your article will help him to master it, thank you a lot! I can’t wait to see more of your knowledge.

    1. Marketa

      Hi Danijel and thanks for your comment,

      It’s really great that your son is learning violin and even better that he’s at the stage of 3 octave scales! It’s really important for him to continue to learn and practice good technique so that he can continue to progress steadily at the higher levels!

  3. Henderson

    Wow, this is just spectacular because you can tell which parts of learning the violin is becoming a big problem for us. The help I have gotten here is a very good one and I have to thank you for explaining how to deal with this. For me, I have not gotten to all these stages just yet n=but it is nice to see it. I am going to bookmark it for reference.

    1. Marketa

      Thanks so much, Henderson

      I’m so glad that you’ve found this post useful. Don’t forget to check out my other posts and subscribe to the newsletter to get more great technical videos and posts. Have a great day 😉

  4. MrBiizy

    Hello Marketa. Thank you so much for this tutorial on G Major Scale in 3 Octaves. I have thought that the violin is a very difficult instrument to practice and play: I’m like Fiddlers are magnificent. However, I have seen that your tutorials are top notch and easy to follow.

    With continuous practice, applying your tips/techniques and following your guidance with consistency, I can play G Major Scale in 3 Octaves perfectly.

    1. Marketa

      Hi there and thanks for the feedback!

      violin is really difficult to play but with proper technique you will definitely get there. Please do bookmark the site and let me know if there’s anything particular you’d like me to post about – I’d love to help you out more. 😉

  5. Dave Sweney

    Thanks for this great article on the G Major Scale in 3 Octaves, it was informative and useful for me. I little background: I played the violin in school as a kid but have been away from it for years (MANY years). I am trying to get back into it in my old age, but have been looking for a website that can help me in the process.

    It appears I have found that, and the search that led me here is one I will not waste. I have bookmarked your website and will be back regularly. This is quality material and just what I needed. The explanation of the exercises and how to do them is very clear and easy to follow.

    One thing I could use in addition would be a video demonstrating the exercises. This way I can see (and hear) when I am not doing them correctly. Is it possible to add such videos to your post(s)? If you could I would be very grateful! Either way, you now have a new follower!

    1. Marketa

      Hi Dave and thanks for your message! 

      I am actually in the process of making videos to accompany the articles so please do stand by… I should have all videos ready in about a fortnight. As you’re relearning, please do hit me up for any particular technical questions you have. Id be more than happy to make videos and posts around what you need for your learning 

      Best of luck with your violin journey 😉

  6. Feji ben

    Hi and thanks for the video and article. 

    I’ve been learning G major in two octaves and I’m not sure if I should be going to G major in 3 octaves yet. I haven’t started going into different positions but I have learned a lot of 2 octave scales so far in the grade three syllabus. What do you think?

    1. Marketa

      Hi Feji ben and thanks for sharing!

      If you haven’t started shifting yet, you’d do well to check out my post on shifting. This gives you some great pointers on shifting from first to third position. 

      You can apply these tricks for your shift up on the E string as well so once you’ve mastered the shifting, give G major in 3 octaves a go. 

      Let me know how you go 🙂

  7. Bella

    I am just starting to grow interest in playing the violin lately and learning online have been my only source of education as to how i play. Its been quite difficult because i sometimes play without knowledge of me making a mistake as there isn’t any one to correct me. So learning more from your post is a privilege for me. I will love to bookmark this site so I can make reference to it. 

    1. Marketa

      Hi Bella and thanks for reaching out,

      Its great that you’ve started learning violin as an adult. Be sure to check out some of my beginner posts so that you can develop strong basic technique before moving to the more difficult things like shifting and three octave scales. Best of luck! 😉

  8. Benson

    Hello Marketa, thanks for sharing this useful post. Playing a violin is fun and i have always enjoyed watching my wife play and now its my daughter who has gained live for it as well. She still finds it hard to play well and finger placing have been one of the issues i hear her complain about. These images here would help a lot in making her understand how she had to place them. Best regards.

    1. Marketa

      Hi Benson and great to hear from you again.

      Indeed the left hand position is difficult to master so I’m glad that you’ve found my post useful. Best of luck to your daughter and your wife 😊

  9. Mike

    Wowza, this is so detailed! I love the exercises you recommend, I think this will really help me with actually transitioning throughout the scale. I need to put my violin out of the case as I haven’t been using it so much recently, but this post has given me the urge to get back to it again. Thanks for sharing

    1. Marketa

      Thanks so much, Mike

      I’m so gad you found the post useful. Please do get your violin out and try some of the exercises; you’ll find plenty of videos and articles about everything violin. 

      Best of luck with your violin journey 😉

  10. Donny

    I’m a total newbie to the violin and finding the G major scale in 3 octaves pretty hard but I’m sure it does take some time. Just curious how long do you think it is going to take me before I can become a real good player, I’m learning a few techniques online though reading articles like these and watching YouTube tutorials. If I was somewhere near where you are I would have definitely loved having you as my trainer. Anyways thanks for the exercises and tips will definitely keep working on them. 

    1. Marketa

      Hi Donny,

      If you’re just starting out, you’re probably playing G major in one octave or two at a stretch. Please take time to work on your finger frames and perhaps look at some of my videos about scales in one octave.

      Ive made lots of videos and articles that will be perfect for you as a beginner so please do take a look around at my YouTube channel and blog for heaps of great stuff and get back to me with any questions or feedback you have

      Best of luck with your violin journey 😉

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