Two hundred and fifty two scales to learn.....

cmjohnson

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Now that I have finally grasped the concept of modes (the seven church modes, as they are called), I have gained a greater understanding of music in general. And frankly it's just made me realize how much more there is to learn.

There are seven modes based on the Western major scale. Ionian (major), Lydian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, Lydian, Aeolian (Minor), and Locrian.
The "fingerprint" of the Western Major scale is its pattern of whole and half steps. (Or tones and semitones, if you prefer.)

W for whole, H for half tones. The Major pattern is WWHWWWH. The other modes are the same pattern but starting on a different position. Lydian, for example, follows the WHWWWHW pattern. Same pattern, just offset one. Phrygian, HWWWHWW. Minor, which you probably know, is WHWWHWW.

So there are seven modes...but twelve keys.

But wait, there's more. LOTS more.

There are scales that don't follow the WWHWWWH(repeat) fingerprint of the Western Major scale and its modes.

Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor each have their own sets of seven modes each.

C Harmonic Minor's scale is C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, B. Or the major scale with the third and sixth degrees flatted.

So its fingerprint is WHHWWH3 (3 meaning 3 semitones, a step and a half)

And there are seven modes in Harmonic Minor scales. They also step thru the pattern of whole and half steps (and that 3 semitone step).


Melodic minor:
C Melodic Minor's scale is C, D, Eb, F, G, A, B. It's just the major scale with a flatted third.

So its fingerprint is WHWWWWH.

And it has seven modes as well.

And twelve keys for all of them.

That's 252 seven note scales to learn. That is, if you want to know major, minor, harmonic, and melodic scales.


BUT....this is such fundamental knowledge, you should know it. You don't have to commit every single scale and mode to memory but you SHOULD make an effort to learn enough of them that you can work your way through the rest.

And if you know that chords for a given scale are constructed from the notes in that scale, you should be able to figure out all the chords that work with it.

Note, music is NOT limited to the three fingerprint scales I've mentioned here. There are scales that are not harmonic minor, melodic minor or Western major/minor derived.

I'm not sure how far down this rabbit hole I want to go. But I've been falling for a while.
 

E.T.

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I prefer to look at the guitar as having 45-48 notes I can do whatever the hell I feel like with. There are 2,304 different combinations of one note after the other alone!
 

cmjohnson

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Yes, but at any given moment you should be playing within the limits defined by a specific scale. And there are twelve notes you can choose from, but only seven of them are part of that scale. The trick is to avoid the other five unless they're treated as grace notes AKA passing tones.
 

cmjohnson

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I'd be embarrassed to say how many years I went and took lessons and DIDN'T get taught what I needed to start putting it together. I won't blame my teacher....but when I tried a different teacher, he gave me the knowledge I was missing in just a few lessons.

I swear I'd have made better progress in music if I'd learned the basic theory in the first year that I didn't learn for 20 more years or so.

A question as simple as these two were things I did not know the answer to: If making a solo in C major, what notes will fit best in that scale? Write out a few chords that fit in C major. Just three note triads.

What is the difference between pentatonic and diatonic C major scales?

It's shameful that it took me so long to learn those basics. But once I got those figured out, my theory knowledge exploded fairly rapidly.
 

Brek

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Lolz, yeah worth diving into, I know 3 scales, major, minor and mixolydian. I don’t think my old brain can remember any more than those.
 

ARandall

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Unless you're a freeform jazzer, about 3 major modes is all that is needed. You can be sure BB and Albert knew no more than that.
And lets face it, if you are actually wanting to play anywhere major (as in become even a moderate size band) there is no room for the solo anymore. And cover bands (where many of the more lucrative regular gigs are) already have a solo set out for you.
 

EpiLP1985

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I went down this road about a year ago after being fascinated by the freedom and musical dexterity I was hearing on some of my favorite Jazz albums. Honestly, it was incredibly motivating and started me down a path of getting more comfortable playing the guitar and understanding the logic of the instrument itself.

I will say this: There are entirely too many variations to be useful to someone trying to exist in the world of Rock, Pop, Blues, and Jazz. We often site Jazz as a major purveyor of every scale under the sun but if you listen closely, your favorite classic Jazz albums hovered around only a handful of those. You’ll hear quite a bit of Dorian, Phrygian, Minor (Aeolian) and Major (Ionian). Sure, there were many adventurous types that went beyond those but it’s pretty clear they did a lot with a little.

I personally stick with Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Phrygian Dominant, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Minor Blues, and Major Blues and that keeps me very busy.

I’ll post up some of the theory documents and the Excel sheet I put together sometime today for those that might benefit.
 
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EpiLP1985

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Here is my Excel file that i created to help me with scales, patterns, intervals, chords and arpeggios. Just download and change the extension back to .xlsx and it should be good to go.

I tried posting the theory documents i had created but they were too big to attach. If you have any questions on using this, just post them here and i'd be glad to walk people through it.
 

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Zungle

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Its not as complicated as it has been presented......

1 scale with 7 basic root positions....

Altering the major scale root changes mode.....but it will remain one of the 7 root positions.......

Example Phrygian Mode position 1 is actually Ionian position 3 or 3rd mode of major scale.....

So learn the 7 major scale and 7 positions and you can cover fret board.....

No need to physically learn 252.

Yes there is shit ton of theory you could learn ...that goes with it.....but physically its not complicated.
 

Zungle

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Anymore I'm basically a home guitar noodler but the 7 modes give me a soft landing and safe place to return to when I haven't played for a while....

This is pretty much the basis for most of my solo noodling and any dexterity exercises ....I may attempt....:laugh2::laugh2:

This easy and good stuff....

 

cmjohnson

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I don't actually intend to learn all 252 scales. Once you know a few you can extrapolate the rest and you'll never need to be fluent in many of them. But it does help to understand how modes actually work. And for many years I was given incorrect and incomplete information on them that didn't lead to understanding until just recently.
 

huw

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cmjohnson said:
...There are seven modes based on the Western major scale. Ionian (major), Lydian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, Lydian, Aeolian (Minor), and Locrian...
I'm sure it was just a typo, but you have Lydian twice & missed out Dorian. Also the usual order would have Lydian before Mixolydian.

Not nit picking, just thought you wouldn't want to confuse anyone.

;)
 

EpiLP1985

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The main thing to learn is Ionian. Everything branches out from that. Understanding how all the others are derivative of Ionian let’s you branch off from there.

I’d argue knowing intervals and the characteristic notes of each mode is helpful as well. Also, keep in mind that these modes have Pentatonic scales that are fun to play as well and that can spice up your blues playing.
 

CB91710

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Not sure what it is, but there's an image or attachment in this thread that Malwarebytes does not like.
Could be a false alarm, but it only happens in this thread.

Edit: It's the link to Appliedguitartheory? Odd.

104131.jpg
 

Zungle

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Not sure what it is, but there's an image or attachment in this thread that Malwarebytes does not like.
Could be a false alarm, but it only happens in this thread.

Edit: It's the link to Appliedguitartheory? Odd.

View attachment 531344
Strange.....

Valid HTTPS

I just scanned with EMSI-SOFT and it came back clean....

Windows Defender didn't pick up any malware either ...?
 

CB91710

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Strange.....

I just scanned with EMSI-SOFT and it came back clean....

Windows Defender didn't pick up any malware either ...?
Ya, it's odd... But nearly every protection package triggers false-positives from time to time.
 

Zungle

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Ya, it's odd... But nearly every protection package triggers false-positives from time to time.
Well....its a great read and has cool cheat sheets for the Modes in a 3 note per string setting...
 


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