# how to work out guitar scales

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rhcp_freak
11-10-2006, 01:55 PM
hi i have always looked on the internet to find modes and scales. i thought that i should learn how to work them out myself if possible. whats the difference between a mode and a scale, and how do we work out modes and scales?

Johnljones7443
11-10-2006, 02:25 PM
whats the difference between a mode and a scale

Nothing.

and how do we work out modes and scales?

Patterns of intervals - and then scale formulas relative to the major scale.

The Major scale is built from a pattern of whole and half steps.

WWHWWWH

W = Whole step
H = Half step

Ergo, you'd start on a specific note (C if you wanted to build the C Major scale, D if you want to build the D Major scale etc..).. then count one whole step to find the next note, a whole step from the second note to find the next note.. and so forth.

It might look like this in the key of C...

C - C# - D - D# - E - F - F# - G - G# - A - A# - B - C

C
C + W = D
D + W = E
E + H = F
F + W = G
G + W = A
A + W = B
B + H = C

C Major Scale.

C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C
W - W - H - W - W - W - H

Once you have the major scale, you can use a scale formula for every other scale you want to build, instead of having to figure it out from scratch.

Major Scale Formula.

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

Natural Minor Scale Formula.

1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7

Every note in the natural minor scale formula is relative to the major scale formula. Example... b3 would mean to flatten the 3rd note of the major scale by one half step to produce the third note of the natural minor scale.

C - D - E - F - G - A - B

1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7

C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb

Our natural minor scale formula states to flatten the third (b3), sixth (b6) and seventh (b7) of the major scale to produce the natural minor scale.

Doing that relative to the C Major scale yields the C natural minor scale...
C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb.

Do you understand this?

rhcp_freak
11-11-2006, 09:41 AM
^thanks that helped alot, but after i found that out, do i just find all those notes on the fretboard?

Johnljones7443
11-11-2006, 10:10 AM
^Yes. That is exactly what you do.

I recommend doing it yourself with your guitar - but you could always look up scale positions on the internet if you're having trouble.

To get you started, here (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=6997118&postcount=11) are the 7 positions of the C major scale I typed up a while ago.

Hope this continues to help. :cheers:

rhcp_freak
11-11-2006, 10:13 AM
k thanks that really helped :)

11-11-2006, 12:45 PM
I use this link for scales and have found it to be a useful tool...

http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php?qqq=+0&scch=C&scchnam=Harmonic+Minor&get2=Get

Chris

C-Dextrous
11-11-2006, 01:18 PM
*clears throat*

MODES

Major

IONIAN (aka Major / 1st) = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
DORIAN (aka 2nd) = 1 2 3b 4 5 6 7b 1
PHRYGIAN (3rd) = 1 2b 3b 4 5 6b 7b 1
LYDIAN (4th) = 1 2 3 4# 5 6 7 1
MIXOLYDIAN (5th) = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7b 1
AEOLIAN (Natural minor /6th) = 1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7b 1
LOCRIAN = 1 2b 3b 4 5b 6b 7b 1

The mode can be worked out thus:

The root note is always used in the scale name - ie. C Dorian, C Phrygian etc all begin and end on C.

Here are all the modes starting and beginning on C:

C IONIAN = C D E F G A B C = First mode of C
C DORIAN = C D Eb F G A Bb C = Second mode of Bb
C PHRYGIAN = C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C = Third mode of Ab
C LYDIAN = C D E F# G A B C = Fourth mode of G
C MIXOLYDIAN = C D E F G A Bb C = Fifth mode of F
C AEOLIAN = C D Eb F G Ab Bb C = Sixth mode of Eb / C natural minor
C LOCRIAN = C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C = Seventh mode of Db

Here are the modes of C

C IONIAN = C D E F G A B C = First mode of C
D DORIAN = D E F G A B C D = Second mode of C
E PHRYGIAN = E F G A B C D E = Third mode of C
F LYDIAN = F G A B C D E F = Fourth mode of C
G MIXOLYDIAN = G A B C D E F G = Fifth mode of C
A AEOLIAN = A B C D E F G A = Sixth mode of C / A natural minor
B LOCRIAN = B C D E F G A B = Seventh mode of C

The minor modes work in much the same way, starting from the following.

Natural minor (generally known simply as 'minor')

1 2 3b 4 5 6 7b 1

Harmonic minor

1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7 1

Melodic minor

(NB - this is only on the way up, on the way down, it follows the natural minor, which most people think is a pretty stupid idea.)

1 2 3b 4 5 6 7 1

So for example:

A minor = A B C D E F G A
A harmonic minor = A B C D E F G# A
A melodic minor = A B C D E F# G# A

rhcp_freak
11-11-2006, 02:39 PM
thanks C-dextrous, that also helped alot. ive heard of all-guitar-chords.com but i wanted to be able to work them out myself. thanks anyway.

umm, would the E major scale be this:
E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E?

Johnljones7443
11-11-2006, 03:32 PM
^Yes - that is correct.

Glad to see you're taking it in and understanding it... if you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

rhcp_freak
11-12-2006, 08:25 AM
would A blues be A-C-D-D#-E-G and would E dorian be E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D?

Johnljones7443
11-12-2006, 08:38 AM
would A blues be A-C-D-D#-E-G

You're correct in naming all of the notes, but not their function.

A - C - D - D# - E - G would become 1 - b3 - 4 - #4 - 5 - b7 in relation to the A major scale.

The scale formula for the blues scale is 1 - b3 - 4 - b5 - 5 - b7 which would give us the notes...

A Blues Scale.

A - C - D - Eb - E - G

The added note in the blues scale functions as a diminished fifth, not an augmented fourth, so we must write it as Eb, not D# to show it's function within the scale.

would E dorian be E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D?

That is correct.

danastasi
11-12-2006, 09:05 AM
Johnljones7443 you said that there is no difference between a mode and a scale - aren't modes a series of notes taken from a scale? Thats what Ive been taught....

anyway just wondering.....

rhcp_freak
11-12-2006, 09:42 AM
You're correct in naming all of the notes, but not their function.

A - C - D - D# - E - G would become 1 - b3 - 4 - #4 - 5 - b7 in relation to the A major scale.

The scale formula for the blues scale is 1 - b3 - 4 - b5 - 5 - b7 which would give us the notes...

A Blues Scale.

A - C - D - Eb - E - G

The added note in the blues scale functions as a diminished fifth, not an augmented fourth, so we must write it as Eb, not D# to show it's function within the scale.

That is correct.
oh thanks i get it now

Johnljones7443
11-12-2006, 09:50 AM
Johnljones7443 you said that there is no difference between a mode and a scale - aren't modes a series of notes taken from a scale? Thats what Ive been taught....

anyway just wondering.....

Yes, modes are scales built from scales. Ergo a mode is a scale.

oh thanks i get it now

C-Dextrous
11-12-2006, 11:13 AM
A scale is a a succession of tones ascending or descending according to fixed intervals. Once you have your scale, a mode is simply a different inversion of that scale (so yes, a mode is a scale) - eg. The D Phrygian SCALE is the 3rd MODE of Bb major.

rhcp_freak
11-12-2006, 04:31 PM
and would C Mixydolian be C-D-E-F-G-A-Bb?

Johnljones7443
11-12-2006, 04:54 PM
and would C Mixydolian be C-D-E-F-G-A-Bb?

Yes, that's correct.

C - D - E - F - G - A - Bb
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7

Looks like you've got the hang of this now.