Need Scales help

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by LPJones, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. LPJones

    LPJones Senior Member

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    I've been playing Guitar (poorly) for 30 years, I can play chords, power chords and barre chords with no issues but I've always struggled with scales.

    I get the idea of the patterns of scales but I start to lose it when you start moving up the neck.

    I've read alot about scales online and in books, I "get" it from an explanation standpoint but I'm not "getting" it when I play the guitar. I know that sounds silly but something just isn't clicking.

    How did "you" learn to play scales?

    Any help would be appreciated..
     
  2. Swordscythe

    Swordscythe Senior Member

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    I just kept playing all the notes from a whole scale consecutively until I knew where they were

    then I started playing a few notes and continuallly switching positions

    if you keep doing that, you end up finding licks that sound good, meaning licks you can use repetitively in different positions and scales, and then you're improvising.

    I'm still a noob at guitar, I only started playing in March (IIRC) of this year, but that's where I started, and I gotta say, it's going quite well. I only know a few scales, am most confident with minor pentatonic (who isn't?) but I'm learning.

    The biggest problem I've been having is that I have a horrible musical ear. Play something and I will never be able to tell you what key you're playing in. But I'm working on it, like a madman I tell you!
     
  3. Volusia

    Volusia Senior Member

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    The most popular rock scale is the minor pentatonic. I lot a great rock and blues licks are based off of it. There are 5 patterns played up the neck. I googled and found the link below which has the patterns in tab and a video. You can also find an endless amount of videos on youtube that could help you.

    Pentatonic Guitar Scales

    I am by far no expert but I did learn these patterns up and down the neck. I started by learning each pattern, then playing the low octave of each 5 patterns, then the high octave of each 5, then putting them together up and down the neck until I was able to skip around from pattern to pattern.

    The only answer to your question is repetetive practice. The more practice you put in the more familar you will become with them and begin to build speed. It will start to click.

    Below is an impressive display of the use of these patterns by Zakk Wylde. I am not really a fan of his music but I do appreciate his ability and speed. The video is supposed to be "instructional" but he spends more time shredding than instructing. Again, I am NOT advocating the use of the video as a teaching tool but only to show how the 5 patterns can be applied.

    Keep practicing and Good Luck. You will be amazed at how fluent you will start to be the more you practice. :)

    Zakk Wylde's instructional video (Pentatonic Hardcore)
     
  4. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Scales are like tools. Chord progressions are like "jobs". Therefore, you have
    to choose the right tools to fit each job.

    The basics are, for rock and blues, anyway, that for a I, IV, V progression,
    Such as A, D, E...or if you're just playing in A with a few variations such as
    in the song "Black Dog"....you can play an A pentatonic Major scale AND an A pentatonic MINOR scale, and it'll fit the progression. That's what Page is
    doing in that song.

    Another example, is the solo in "Stairway to Heaven". There, he's mixing
    the A pentatonic minor with the A minor scale (aeolian) scale. Since the song
    is in Am, the Pentatonic Minor (commonly referred to as the "Blues Scale")
    will work as well as the aeolian scale. The Pentatonic Minor scale is the MOST
    used scale in Rock and Blues, and is probably the most versatile.

    You should practice these scales and be able to visualize them, in "boxed"
    formats first.
     
  5. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    The diagrams below show the scales. The red dots are the root.
    The turquoise line in the first indicates the "A" chord.

    The turquoise dot in the second diagram
    indicates what is commonly referred to as the "Blue note".

    Note that the pattern is the same in both diagrams, just played on
    different frets. However, it is important to note that the "resolution" (Ending note)
    note in the first diagram is usually the root note, "A", while it is not necessarily the case in the second diagram. Commonly, the "Blue note" will end
    a lick, or the root note, or others.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    The Aoelian scale is shown below.
    Notice that we still have the "Box" that we have with the A Pentatonic minor, with a few "extra" (turqoise) notes:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    I find it particularly useful to record a chord progression, then play lead over it during its playback. That way, I can experiment and determine how things
    fit together. Of course, I don't play just "straight" notes, I bend and hammer-on, and pull-off notes.
    Bending up to a note is very common to give it that "sustain" that we're all looking for. Page does that alot, and another good example is the song "All Right Now", where the guitarist bends up to notes alot.

    For example, when playing a blues song in A, I'll bend up from the G (2nd string, fret 8) to an A.
     
  8. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    In the diagrams above, the two scales also overlap each other. That is,
    there are notes from the Pentatonic Major inside the box of the pentatonic
    minor, and vice-versa. However, that's a more advanced topic.

    While we should "think outside the box" eventually, I found that the
    "box" format is very useful for visualiztion purposes.

    Also, bear in mind that these are all "moveable" forms. If you're playing
    in the key of B, you'd play the first form on the 4th fret, and the second form on the 6th fret.

    I think of the Pentatonic major being based around the 3-note chord
    that is played on the D,G, and B strings (root on the G). (I forgot the
    tech term for this, it's some kind of inversion I think).

    I think of the Pentatonic Minor being based around the barre chord position.

    Another point about the scales above....
    In a major key, you can play JUST the A Pentatonic Major only...or
    Just the A Pentatonic Minor ONLY...OR both.

    In a minor key, you can play JUST the A Pentatonic minor ONLY or
    the Aoelian ONLY OR both.
     
  9. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Relative Minor chords and Chord Theory/Formulas

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Octave
    C D E F G A B C

    Note that the 6th tone of the major scale is "A", and therefore the relative minor is Am.

    However, you have to know what the notes in the major scale of a given key are first.
    Another way to determine the relative minor, is to go a step and a half backward from the chord in question.

    1/2 Full
    |--|----|
    A Bb B C
    |<-----|

    Therefore, if we want the relative minor of C then figure this:

    a full step backward from C is Bb. A half step backward from Bb is A.

    Now, let's find it in D:

    a full step back from D is C. A half step back from C is B. Therefore,
    The relative minor of D is Bm.

    How about G?
    A full step back from G is F. A half step back from F is E. (Em)

    A?
    A full step back from A is G. A half step back from G is F#. (F#m)

    Remember, that each fret on the guitar is a half step.

    Also, the very fundamental rule is:

    To go from one non-sharp or non-flat note to another, it is a full step, except for B to C and
    E to F...those are half steps. And, in between full steps are the sharps
    and flats. That is, a half step back from A is Ab. A half step forward is
    A#. Ab is the same as G#. A# is the same as Bb.

    Most of us don't really memorize the tones of a given major scale, at least I don't. I do know that there are no sharps or flats in the C major
    scale, so the tones in that scale are C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

    A chromatic scale of course, is playing notes in succession, without regard intervals, such as a chromatic scale in the key of C would be
    C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B (12 tones).

    You can determine the notes of the major scale by laying out the chromatic, and numbering each tone There are 12 tones in a chromatic scale:

    1..2.....3..4....5..6..7....8..9...10..11..12
    C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B

    So, how do we determine what notes are in the C major scale?

    The major scale is comprised of tones 1,3,5,6,8,10 and 12 of the
    chromatic scale.

    One way to remember this is that

    There are 7 tones in the major scale.

    Starting at the first tone, The first 3 tones are comprised of Odd numbers (1,3,5)
    Starting at tone 6, The remaining 4 tones are comprised of even numbers (6,8,10,12)

    So then notes in the C major scale are:
    Tone 1 - C
    Tone 3 - D
    Tone 5 - E
    Tone 6 - F
    Tone 8- G
    Tone 10 - A
    Tone 12 - B

    Now, let's try something a little more challenging. Let's find the notes
    for the G major scale.

    First, layout the chromatic.
    1....2....3....4....5....6...7.....8....9.....10.. ..11....12
    G....G#..A...A#..B....C...C#...D....D#...E......F. ....F#

    Now, get the notes for the major scale which are 1,3,5,6,8,10 and 12:
    G......A.....B.....C....D.....E.....F#

    These are the notes of the G major scale
     
  10. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    The formula for a major chord is:
    1, 3, 5 of the major scale

    Minor:
    1, b3, 5 of the major scale

    Dominant 7th (or just "7th)
    1, 3, 5, b7 of the major scale

    Maj. 7th
    1,3,5,7 of the major scale

    Therefore, if we want to know the notes for a Gmaj7 chord, we look at the G major scale and pick out tones 1,3,5 and 7 which correspond to notes G, A, B and F#.

    Ok, now you've probably seen 9th chords, 11th chords and 13th chords right? Those are all part of the "Dominant 7th" family.

    But wait a minute....there are only 7 tones in the major scale! Where
    are the 9, 11 and 13 tones? Use the following:

    9 = 2
    11 = 4
    13 = 6.

    Therefore, a 9th chord is the dominant 7th chord with the second tone
    of the major scale added to it. The 11th chord is the dominant 7th chord with the 2nd tone (9th) and the 4th tone (11th) added to it.

    9th chord:
    1, 3, 5, b7, 2

    11th:
    1,3,5, b7, 2, 4

    13th:
    1,3,5,b7, 2, 4, 6.

    So, why am I telling you this? Simple. If you don't know a 9th, 11th
    or 13th chord, you can play the plain old dominant 7th chord and it'll
    fit. The 9,11,13 notes are there for coloration, so you can fake it if you need to...unless the other musicians have a REALLY good ear, anyway!
     
  11. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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  12. BOBBO

    BOBBO Banned

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    Wow that was alot of information !! Very helpful though !!! I dont have as much knowledge of music theory as I should this helps alot !! Kudos HED !! :applause:
     
  13. hedzeppelin

    hedzeppelin V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks, and you're welcome!
     
  14. ReverendJWblues

    ReverendJWblues MLP Chaplain V.I.P. Member

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    Man Hed when are we gonna learn harmonic minor scales :naughty:
     
  15. SG_Man

    SG_Man Member

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    thats cool
     
  16. Tristram

    Tristram Member

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    Here IS one of the best scale sites I have found on the net (see link below). Print out all the ones you want to work on and hang 'em in your practice area !!! And props to hedzeppelin too.

    Guitar Stuff lessons

    It is worthy of at least a bookmark.
     
  17. blueburst

    blueburst Senior Member

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    To learn the scales takes just one thing. PRACTICE then PRACTICE more and when your done PRACTICE again. Learning the scales is the easy part using them is much harder.
     

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