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Scales 101 help


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I'm prefixing this with "I'm a computer programmer". Geek, nerd whatever, just note that I'm a visual, systematic type personality.

 

That out of the way, my instructor in his endeavor to make me a lead/blues player had informed me I need to know scales in all 12 keys. No problem. We're approaching it from the Circle of Fifths.

 

So I have C major...got a nice fingering chart for that (BTW, go here http://www.studybass.com/tools/chord-scale-note-printer/ for awesome utility).

 

C has a relative minor key of Am. All the same notes, right? But starts on a different note, right? (you're supposed to answer here LOL).

 

Also have finger charts for C major and C minor pentatonic.

 

Now, if A is a relative minor to C, can I use A minor pentatonic as well as a "soloing" key? What about A major pentatonic then?

 

The "systematic" part of me is creating a notebook for all this to use as a learning/practicing book. That is, if I ever play with others and they say "Ok, let's jam in C major", I can use C major and minor pentatonic along with A minor pentatonic.

Thanks :)

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A great way to hear the difference is to play the A minor scale at the fifth fret:

-----------------------------5--

-----------------------5-6-8----

-----------------4-5-7----------

-------------5-7----------------

-------5-7-8--------------------

-5-7-8--------------------------

 

Now, strum the A minor chord and do some riffing. After a few times through, strum a C and continue riffing. You will need to get used to the notes you start and stop on, but you will be able to hear the differences within the same scale.

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If you learn any Minor Pentatonic scale (in a given key) and then also learn the complimentary Major scale...

...you will see how the two scales marry-up with each other.

They don't have all the same notes...some...but they fit together very well, and will allow you to play leads for about 90% of Rock/Pop music.

 

Once you learn the notes/patterns of one pair of Minor Pent and Major scales...just move it all up/down the neck for all the other keys.....

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Try this out... Play the CMaj scale over one octave singing the notes as you go. Then find it in as many places on the neck as you can.. Do that with Am Pent, then D dorian, then A natural minor... Still singing the notes as you go.. Practice that for a while, and soon it will become much clearer how they all interconnect and more about the different flavours which they give you (even though they are the all same notes, barre Am pent which is missing a few).
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You want ME to sing? ROFL.

 

Good thing you're across the pond!!!!

 

He's right. Singing out the notes a scale, arpeggio, whatever will help your ear.

I have some recordings of Glen Gould playing Bach on the piano. You can hear him humming along throughout the whole thing. His piano technique was unparalleled, but his humming really sucked.

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When I first started playing I would record myself on a boom box

and I discovered on playback that when I played lines unaccompanied I always hummed along with them. It seemed bizarre at first to me and to people that listened, but I understand now the method to the madness. ;)

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I actually try singing the notes themselves....A A A G Sharp etc...figure I need to learn the fretboard at some point in the game.

 

My voice can't get me too far up the neck though!

Good idea.

 

As far as pairing scales with keys, Am is the natural minor of C major, therefore a Am scale is C Aeolian (6th). You can do this with any scale. A typical bluesy thing to do is to play a chord progression in G and emphasize the 7th and 9th, and play a pentatonic in E. This unusual interval mix is a classic sound, and you'll end up liking it if you do it right.

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Learn all the Modes, you are already learning two of them. Major and natural minor are both part of the system. Just as A to A and C to C are scales, every note has it's own natural mode.

 

It works two ways for you when you get it. You can break out of a single box if you know G mixolydian has the same notes as C major and D Dorian etc. You can also use the other modes to build solos and songs with different flavors to them, in any key anywhere on the neck.

Wonder what the new Linkin Park album would sound like if they didn't have Perfect Circle to steal from.
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The Seven Modes: (in inversion order ie, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion}

 

Ionian (The Major Scale), Dorian (Miles Davis' 'So What'), Phrygian (Spanish Flamenco Music), Lydian (Bach Music), Mixolydian (George Benson's 'Breezin'), Aeolean (Natural Minor), Locrian.

 

NB: Go to http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php for the internet's best guitar scale resource!

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The Seven Modes: (in inversion order ie, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion}

 

Ionian (The Major Scale), Dorian (Miles Davis' 'So What'), Phrygian (Spanish Flamenco Music), Lydian (Bach Music), Mixolydian (George Benson's 'Breezin'), Aeolean (Natural Minor), Locrian.

 

NB: Go to http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php for the internet's best guitar scale resource!

 

That site is great, thanks for the link.

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The Seven Modes: (in inversion order ie, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion}

 

Ionian (The Major Scale), Dorian (Miles Davis' 'So What'), Phrygian (Spanish Flamenco Music), Lydian (Bach Music), Mixolydian (George Benson's 'Breezin'), Aeolean (Natural Minor), Locrian.

 

NB: Go to http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php for the internet's best guitar scale resource!

 

Actually, we have a ton of great info right here in the theory thread, stickied at the top of the main page. Between that and the advice you can get from the folks here, there is no need to go elsewhere.

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You know, I was wondering why my instructor frowned when I brought all these fingering charts into him; you know, I was just being systematic.

 

But the past few days as I've been practicing, I've just been saying the notes in my head and it's starting (just barely LOL) to click.

 

Play C major...yeah boring...ok, play Root, flat 3rd, 4,5, flat 7th. Ah, C minor pentatonic. Hmmm...fiddle around there and go pull some notes from the Major scale......

 

The light bulb is beginning to grow brighter! :) ROFL

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You know, I was wondering why my instructor frowned when I brought all these fingering charts into him; you know, I was just being systematic.

 

But the past few days as I've been practicing, I've just been saying the notes in my head and it's starting (just barely LOL) to click.

 

Play C major...yeah boring...ok, play Root, flat 3rd, 4,5, flat 7th. Ah, C minor pentatonic. Hmmm...fiddle around there and go pull some notes from the Major scale......

 

The light bulb is beginning to grow brighter! :) ROFL

 

When you get a particular scale down well enough on the fingers, try some interval patterns (sometimes called sequences).

 

Here's some examples:

 

http://chrisjuergensen.com.hosting.domaindirect.com/major_scale_sequences_and_patterns.htm

 

Study this some and apply to your own situation. My favorite patterns are the 3rds.

 

Don't let this overwhelm you. Take a pattern one octave at a time.

 

Don't get in the rut of working on scales up and down, up and down, for hours on end with a metronome. Do that with patterns instead.

 

After awhile, you'll discover your own stuff.

 

This all takes time... I'm in the practicing fray too.

 

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Yeah, it can become OVERWHELMING really fast.

 

For instance, my teach gave me this (I'll start on low E, third fret, aka G)

 

high E 5 7 8 A B C

B 5 7 8 E F# G

G 4 5 7 B C D

D 4 5 7 F# G A

A 3 5 7 C D E

low E 3 5 7 G A B

 

What the hell is this? He says I can use this pattern anywhere for a major scale; always using that fingering and taking into account tuning difference between G and B strings.

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high E 5 7 8 A B C

B 5 7 8 E F# G

G 4 5 7 B C D

D 4 5 7 F# G A

A 3 5 7 C D E

low E 3 5 7 G A B

 

What the hell is this?

 

This is a pattern. In tab, it looks like this:

 

-------------------------------5-7-8-

-------------------------5-7-8-------

-------------------4-5-7-------------

-------------4-5-7-------------------

-------3-5-7-------------------------

-3-5-7-------------------------------

 

This is one way to play a major scale. If you remember the positions, you can slide this up or down the neck to play the major scale in any key (The scale would take it's name from the root note on the third fret so in this case, it would be a G Major scale).

 

Personally, I prefer this configuration for the major scale:

 

---------------------------2-3--

-----------------------3-4------

-----------------2-4-5----------

-----------2-4-5----------------

-----2-3-5----------------------

-3-5----------------------------

 

I find that this set up gets all your fingers involved, is a much easier layout (ie. not as big a stretch) and really works better when learning to integrate it with other scales etc.

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Thanks Craig, I'll try that when I get home.

 

Is that also moveable following the SAME pattern as long as you start on the root note?

 

The one I showed I can play descending about twice as fast as I can ascending

 

Yes. If you start with the root note on the G, it's a G Major. If you slide the whole thing up two frets to the fifth fret, your root note is now an A and you are playing the A Major scale etc. etc.

 

I think you'll find it easier to play as well.

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