Ever since I picked up a guitar a year and a half back, I've always had the fantasy of being a virtuoso Metal Soloist, as I'm sure many of you Rock/Metal Fans have. After a few months of learning physical fundamentals, I became concious that I had to learn some theory if I ever wanted to get anywhere with professional shredding and riff-making. Like many before me, I discovered scale patterns, and instantly grinded away at the block patterns.
Using just these block patterns can supply fairly good solo resources, but are VERY restricting. I then started to look into how I can fully understand other positions in the scale I wanted to work in, and now I think I have a simple (and most-likely already done) method of figuring out the whole necks worth of notes in a scale. Read on.
Basics on Scales and Soloing
Before I start, I would like to give a quick refresher section on Soloing and Scales. This information is very basic to most of you, but this may proove useful to novice lead guitarists. If you wish to skip this, and get to the point, please go to the next section, "Learning the Whole Neck".
The Definition of a Solo: A cluster of different phrases, sometimes repeated, used mainly in Rock/Metal/Blues styles of music. Where the Lead Guitar is the Focal Instrument.
Above is a simple explanation of a solo. Solos normally use a certain cluster of notes which all work together, such as notes in diatonic scales (scales derived from Ionian Scales). These solos can go straight up these scales, or use certain combinations of notes, along with occasional syncopation (Using notes outside the scale) and guitar techniques such as Hammer-ons, Pull-offs, and sliding.
Solos can be made from any notes, however, scales are a good background to get started. There are many scales, some more important than others. The most major (no pun intended) is the groups of scales made from the Major, or Ionian scale, called the Diatonic Scales.
These diatonic scales, depending on how they're played, can convey a different sound, or mood. There are 7 different scales, or Modes, which can be made from the Ionian Scale. They are:
Aeolian (Natural Minor)
If you would like to learn more about these scales, there are many resources on Ultimate-Guitar, Youtube etc, so go take a look.
Learning the Whole Neck
Okay, onto the main stuff; how to master a whole scale on a neck! Before We start learning this, You'll need a few things, so go and grab the following: A Guitar, An amp (optional), A block pattern from a scale, any scale, and this link
The above link is to a guitar scale finder, which you may find very useful for revising the positions of notes in scales. Use it to test yourself or to keep track of what you know.
Anyway, whilst that link is useful, it isn't the main method I want to discuss. Here's the Method:
Take the previously-mentioned block pattern from a scale, E minor, G Major, D Phrygian etc. whatever you want, just choose one. K, now, it is important that you know how to find octaves of notes.
To find an octave, the normal procedure would be to follow the scale's block pattern, and find them that way, but another way you can do this is by taking a note, going up two strings and then two frets up. This will be the octave (Note: this only works if finding octaves from the bottom two strings. This is because the B string will interfere with trying to find an octave from the D string or G string, being tuned lower to the normal pattern. To get past this, repeat the method, but since the octave will be on the B string, go up three frets instead of two.
I know its rather tricky to understand. Go to the link I mentioned earlier and get up a scale chart, and try to follow my directions, to get an understanding on finding octaves.
K, now that you have hopefully mastered Octave-Finding, it should be easier to expand off the block patterns. The most basic way to do this is by simply following the exact same pattern from this new octave. For example, one E-minor block pattern goes Open, 2nd, 3rd fret on the E-string. By going up two strings and two frets up from an open note, we have the second fret on the D string, which is an E note; an octave higher from out starting note. Now, if we do the exact same pattern here (so 2nd, 4th, then 5th fret) we have an octave higher of the E-minor block pattern; we've expanded out of it. By going higher or lower in the scale from here, you may notice that notes link to where the block scale originally was.
I have used this method, and I am slowly but surely starting to find good areas to start a solo from. Here as simplifed list of what to do for this method:
1. Learn a block pattern
2. learn how to find octaves of the notes within the scale
3. Replicate the block pattern from this new octave.
4. Begin to recognise places to start scales at.
I know it's difficult to understand fully, as I didn't have access to diagrams or anything, so I hope you can find some use for this information.
Thanks a lot guys :)
P.S: Feel free to add me if you have further questions. I've only played for a small ammount of time, but I can certainly try helping. Thanks again.