MUSIC THEORY 101 Don't Be Afraid :)

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by jonesy, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Awesome! I understood about 90% of what you explained.

    "Yes - so long as the root note in each shape is correctly located, then you have different positions to play the same scale all over the neck, and in lower/higher registers. If you look carefully at the diagrams of the shapes you should notice that the lower row of notes (that is lower on the diagram, in fact the pitch is higher) from one shape is the upper row of notes from the next shape, and so on. They all connect together to make one mega-pattern that covers the whole neck."

    How do you correctly locate each root? Sometimes there are two roots in one shape.

    Related: What would happen if I played the a minor pentatonic shape, say #1 just for an example, all over the fretboard randomly, or just starting on fret 1 and moving lower to fret 2, 3, 4 . . . .?

    Last, I was wondering if you think learning these two shapes in these six scales would be more efficient than learning the entire Minor Pentatonic scale first, and then so on and so forth?
    Guitar Scales - The 6 Most Common Guitar Scales

     
  2. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Only 90%? Damn - sorry, I'll try to be clearer. :)

    Yes there are, but they are just the same note, in different octaves.

    I guess this might be a good time to check how happy you are with the idea of octaves? The usual example is to think of men & women singing the same tune - the men's voices are lower in pitch, even though they are singing "the same thing". When that happens, we say that they are singing in a lower register, and we call the difference between two notes that sound "the same" an octave.

    On the guitar you can hear this simply by comparing the sound of an open string against the note at the 12th fret of the same string - that's an octave.

    (The name comes from "octo", meaning "eight", same as in "octopuss". The reasoning is that we only use seven letter names for all the notes in music - A through G - so that when you get to the 8th note, you go back to the first letter again. Eight notes from wherever you start is always the same letter name as where you started.)

    When you see two or more root notes in those scale diagrams, you are seeing the notes repeat in a different octave. So if you play shape #1 so that you begin on the 5th fret of the low E string, that lowest note is the root, and it is an A. But the note at the 7th fret on the D string is also an A, an octave above the first one, and there is another A, another octave higher, at the 5th fret on the high E string. All of them are the note A, and so all of them are the root note regardless of which octave they appear in.

    Is that helping it become clearer?

    Well, in that shape the root note of the scale is on the low E string, so the name of the scale will change as you move it, so as to correspond with the new root:

    At the 1st fret the note on the E string is F, so you'd be playing the F minor pentatonic scale.

    At the 2nd fret, the note on the E string is F#, so you have the F# minor pentatonic.

    At the 3rd fret, G minor pentatonic
    At the 4th fret, G# minor pentatonic
    At the 5th fret, A minor pentatonic (we know that one already)
    At the 6th fret, Bb minor pentatonic
    At the 7th fret, B minor pentatonic
    At the 8th fret, C minor pentatonic
    At the 9th fret, C# minor pentatonic
    At the 10th fret, D minor pentatonic
    At the 11th fret, Eb minor pentatonic
    At the 12th fret, E minor pentatonic

    And at the 13th fret, we've gone up an entire octave from where we started, so we arrive back at the same letter name again: F minor pentatonic.

    :)

    Well, I'll say two things about that:

    First, my belief is that sometimes the internet gives people learning an instrument today too much choice. No one ever seems to finish anything, because there's always something new, just a click away. So my gut reaction is always to say "finish what you started".

    Having said that, everyone is different. Which brings me to...

    Second, learning about music is like doing a jigsaw. What order you put the pieces together in is not important, only the finished picture matters. So some people find it easier to do things one way, others do things differently. Neither is right. More experienced players may be able to give advice about how things seem easiest to them, but eventually you need to take charge of your own learning, and decide what works best for you.

    :)
     
  3. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    NO you're doing great. I appreciate it.

    Yes, it is. I was looking last night at some of my sources and I wanted to see the entire fretboard and where all of the shapes were related to each other in the A minor, Minor Pentatonic Shapes. They repeat, so that made sense to me, and I see how they repeat. Each octave starts the next note on the fretboard at the correct locations.

    So if you started on the first fret, you'd have four open string, EADG, then C, then open E. The next octave? would be ADGCEA on the 5th fret. The problem I'm having is getting my head around how those roots relate to what shape I play, or where to start playing them, that is, which fret. I mean I see A's all over the fretboard, in different octaves. But I'm putting together how that relates to shapes. I can memorize what fret to start on and what shape goes there, but it seems like I should learn it on a more organic level, not just memorizing shapes and locations.. Can I play any of the shapes, say, at the 5th fret? Or, only the AC/DE/GA/CD/EG/AC shape?


    I'm glad you said. Otherwise I'd be completely lost. That makes perfect sense.

    :)


    So you think I should learn, first, the A minor, minor pentatonic shapes in all octaves before moving to something different? One thing I did find is that the minor blues scale is just the A minor Pentatonic with blue notes, so I started actually doing that scale so I can learn two in one shot. Plus it works three fingers instead of two.
     
  4. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    DW4LesPaul - I've not walked off and forgotten this conversation, but I've not been near a computer for long over the last couple of days. Bear with me & I will get back to you.

    :)
     
  5. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Good to hear. I'll keep researching on my own. To make it easy on you, scratch all of the latest questions, and replace with this one:

    How, besides rote memorization of shapes to root notes, would I find the correct shape for a specific root note? I see a pattern of how the shapes repeat while moving up or down the fretboard. But I'm not putting it together yet. I think "seeing" the shapes according to each root note is my next leap in understanding theory.
     
  6. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Smart guy! Now you're teaching yourself... :)

    I would suggest that this might help - it's just the root notes, with all the scale notes taken out. In other words, this diagram shows how to play all the available octaves of a single note (in this case the note is A, but as with anything on the guitar, the shape is moveable).

    [​IMG]

    I found it a hugely valuable lesson to learn to connect the octaves like this. When you can use this shape to find a particular note anywhere on the neck, you can move on to experimenting:

    ...if you can play something in one place, pick another spot on the neck, and try to play the same thing in that position. This will mean using your ear, because you want the same notes, not the same shape.

    So, to illustrate, you're familiar with playing the A minor pentatonic at the 5th fret, using what we've been calling "shape 1" (as labelled in that particular diagram I posted). To do that you will have had your index finger on the first note (A) on the low E string, you'll have fingered the octave A (7th fret on the D string) with your ring finger, and the highest A (top E string, 5th fret) with your index finger again.

    OK - so move your hand down the neck, so that your little finger is on the 5th fret of the low E string. How are you going to play the octave A now?

    Obviously, you cant reach the D string 7th fret without moving your hand, but look at the octave diagram - there is an A on the G string 2nd fret: play that one with your index finger. Now - using your ear - try to find the rest of the notes of the scale in tis new hand position.

    If you immediately realise - hey that's just using pentatonic shape #5, then yes you are correct. Hopefully, however, visualising just the octaves of the root note makes for a clearer visualisation of what goes where?

    Let me know if that makes things easier.

    :)
     
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  7. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Yes it does make sense. I am also seeing that the shapes repeat too, but can't put my head around it yet. I think understand that would also help. However, the below will just be over ridden by my brain as shapes. I think what I meant was I see the root notes, and they are the starting point for each scale, but how do they fit with each shape, such as the 5th fret, there are two root notes. Which one over rules, for lack of better wording? Related, there are six different frets I see the A note on, but only five shapes. What note gets left out and why?

    Last, can I play the entire scale one one string and then go to the next string, and play it that way, similar to how one would play the chromatic scale on each note up and down the strings? I think if I can play the entire scale as one large scale, that will really help, but I don't know why--just intuitively feel like it will.


    Answered my own question: The note progression is the same as a shape when you play it down down each string AC DE GA CD EG AC. So yeah that shines some light on what a scale is. So I think I see what you meant. If I can just find the A note, I can play the A minor pentatonic scale anywhere, knowing that the note progression is as listed above, and given I know where those notes are all over the fretboard. So I guess that's another way to learn scales. Just memorize the note pattern and anywhere you find that pattern, you can play it on the fret board? That makes more sense to me than "shapes" although intially, it would be harder to learn it that way. (First one would need to memorize the note sequence for any scale, then have all of the Major notes memorized on the fretboard, knowing that each time you move down or up how the note changes from those major notes. Probably best have to have all of the note on the fretboard memorized.)

     
  8. tenchijin2

    tenchijin2 Senior Member

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    I think it might help to back up a step and realize that the pentatonic scale is only 5 notes. That's it. So every finger position is one of those 5 notes, progressing up in octaves as you move up. Each of the positions is just showing you where those 5 notes are in relationship to each other.
    Concrete example- Em pentatonic is E, G, A, B, D. The patterns and positions shown on the above charts show you where every E, G, A, B, D note is on the fret board.
     
  9. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Keith, yes, see my edited post just above.

    The A minor pentatonic scale is AC DE GA CD EG AC. Is that what you mean? This brings up another question. What if you play AC on the fifth fret, then moved to another fret to play the next two notes, DE, say the 12th?

     
  10. tenchijin2

    tenchijin2 Senior Member

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    Well, yes more or less. As long as you're playing those 5 notes you're playing the right scale. It doesn't matter where you play them! The point is, the patterns in the chart are just a great way to train your muscles to remember where the notes are in relation to each other so you don't have to consciously think about it. It lets you work the whole fretboard top to bottom, low to high.
     
  11. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Form question about the correct way to play the chromatic scale.

    So, I understand that playing the chromatic scale is playing all of the notes down and up each string on each fret. What I can't find is information that shows fingering as you go from the higher frets, such as starting at the 12th fret, up the neck.

    So, opposite that, when you play the chromatic scale, all fingers stay on the fret they land on, and then the entire hand slides down and the first finger starts the next sequence of notes on the way down to the 12th fret.

    What about when you start back down (toward the nut). Should all of the fingers be fretted before the first note is played, which would be on the 4th finger, pinky?

    I ask because finding all of the positions before lifting off the 4th finger, that is, playing that note, is really tough, although I've been doing it that way.
     
  12. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Re: playing the chromatic scale descending on a single string, I don't think that it's essential to get all your other fingers in place first, and the faster you play the scale, the harder that will become anyway. There will come a point where it's just physical impossible to do that.

    Re: fingerings for the chromatic scale on a single in general I find it quite interesting/challenging/fun/useful to finger it as many different ways as I can.

    What I mean is that as well as fingering the scale 1234 1234 1234 (= 12 notes = one whole octave), I will then finger it as 123 123 123 123, then 234 234 234 234, then 12 12 12 12 12 12, then 23 23 23 23 23 23, then 34 34 34 34 34 34.

    In each case I play up one octave, than down again using the same fingering. If I had a student who was a PITA, I might tell them to practice fingering it one on the way up, then another on the way down (but that's just me being awkward!) :)

    It's also good to have practice the chromatic scale across the strings, and I like this fingering:

    e - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 4
    B - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 4
    G - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
    D - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 4
    A - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 4
    E - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 4

    Those are fingers indicators, not fret numbers: you can play it at any fret.

    :)
     
  13. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Do you know what the classical form would be in that sense? I mean wouldn't fingering all of the notes be like fingering treh notes on any chord? In other words, you land on a chord with all fingers, although you could play the chord one note at a time. Wouldn't the same form obtain when playing the chromatic scale up towards the neck? How do classical guitarists do it?

    One question on your diagram below. You have, for instance:
    E 1-2-3-4-4
    What happens to the 6th string? That's only five. Also, does this means all fingers would be on the same fret, or are you lifting each finger to make room for the next? In other words, would you end up like the A chord, but with all 4 fingers across the fret at one time?

    Thanks again. I almost have the entire A minor blues scale memorized in all positions and can play them all up and down.

     
  14. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Have a question about the minor pentatonic shape, or shapes in general. Do the shapes determine what you are playing, such as if you play the minor shapes, anywhere you play them it will still be a minor scale? Put another way, you could play the minor pentatonic shape anywhere on the fretboard, and although the note would change, it would still be a "minor scale"?
     
  15. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    So just an update to let you now where I am.
    (1) First, I stuck with the Minor Blues Scale.
    (2) I have all shapes down now.
    (3) Memorized the Rootnote A position.
    (4) Now trying to play all of the shapes around the fretboad.

    Number (4) is really giving me problems. I forget the shapes when trying to change between them. It's strange. It's like I must be doing something wrong. This is the hardest thing so far for me because I don't really know how to move around between the shapes. Any ideas?
     
  16. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Now if you want to play the Blues you need to learn all the double stops and bends within those patterns :)
     
  17. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    That's encouraging. However, I'm not trying to play anything right now--lol. I'm still trying to learn how to play something. Maybe a hint as to what you mean?

    Also, it's the minor pentatonic shape as well, so not just stuck with blues. What I have started doing now is playing the entire shape from one string up and down the fretboard. That seems like the next logical step to paying the shapes fluidly, but any input as to how I should go about this would be much appreciated.
     
  18. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Whether you are going to play rock, blues, metal, country or whatever you will still need to learn how and when to use those notes within those patterns before you can actually start "making music" with them. :)
     
  19. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Yeah indeed. That will be a wonderful day when it finally comes to me. Any clue where or what I should do to help that day approach?
     
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  20. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    I would suggest keeping things simple, be able to use 1 pattern vs trying to memorize 5 more. Also try to apply that minor pentatonic scale to a song that you can play along with. Also I think it is important to "listen" to a lot of music as our "ears" are one of the best tools a guitarist can have.

    Here are a couple of videos that I made with a local guitarist. Basic rock and blues stuff, you can watch what we are playing (note the bends and double stops) and you should also be able to jam along with these chord progressions.

    Chord progression for 8th Note Rock is...

    4/4 time : E G A E - E G A E - C D E E - C D E E :

    Hope this helps. :)


    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PIF17ikL3k]Jonesyblues.com Rock Guitar Lesson: 8th Note Rock Progression - Jonesy & Junior solos key of E - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQnQ3VMU6Js]Jonesyblues.com Blues Guitar Lesson: Jonesy & Junior E Blues jam improvisation - YouTube[/ame]
     

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