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-   -   How will learning scales help me? (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1579467)

LeaF_SD 12-24-2012 10:29 PM

How will learning scales help me?
 
I have a question, I'm new to the guitar and I'm confused about something. I've read the FAQ and the section about major scales. How will learning these scales help me understand the guitar better? I've heard that it will help you play riffs and work on your picking mechanics. Is that it?

Arfey McFeeshy 12-24-2012 10:36 PM

It helps you the same way a math equation helps you solve a problem.

It sets a standard for what sounds right. it's not so much the scales that you need to learn, it's the intervals between notes that you need to be able to distinguish from. That's what scales help you learn.

Junior#1 12-24-2012 10:46 PM

The major scale is the basis for most things in music. It's not actually necessary to learn theory, but it will definitely help if you ever plan on writing your own material, and also it helps learn things by ear. There are several pros and no cons whatsoever, so why not learn theory?

Hail 12-25-2012 02:12 AM

it's a stepping stone into theory. when you ask yourself "when do i know enough theory?" it's probably when you have to don't rely on a scale or shape to know what you're doing and what other people are doing

just don't get into scales without the intent on going all the way with breaking down music, with transcription, with training your ear to a reasonable point, with understanding keys and intervals. you'll end up a year later with a handful of shapes memorized and be no better a player for it.

satanatheist 12-26-2012 07:02 PM

Try picking notes to play at random, like literally at random. Roll a 12 sided dice for what fret you play on and a 6 sided dice for what string you play on. Get a sequence of at least 8 or so (the more the better) notes and then play them. Then limit yourself to notes on the major scale and just play them at random. Barring some kind of extreme fluke this should illustrate to you why you should learn your scales.

Hail 12-26-2012 10:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by satanatheist
Try picking notes to play at random, like literally at random. Roll a 12 sided dice for what fret you play on and a 6 sided dice for what string you play on. Get a sequence of at least 8 or so (the more the better) notes and then play them. Then limit yourself to notes on the major scale and just play them at random. Barring some kind of extreme fluke this should illustrate to you why you should learn your scales.


you're an idiot

satanatheist 12-26-2012 11:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
you're an idiot


no u

Xiaoxi 12-26-2012 11:50 PM

No, I just ran a background check and am confirming that it is definitely satanatheist who is an idiot.

Captaincranky 12-27-2012 12:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeaF_SD
I have a question, I'm new to the guitar and I'm confused about something. I've read the FAQ and the section about major scales. How will learning these scales help me understand the guitar better? I've heard that it will help you play riffs and work on your picking mechanics. Is that it?
It's a common misconception that rock musicians know absolutely nothing about music. The way forward is to abandon that presumption immediately. Musical theory has very little to nothing to do with picking mechanics or anything else. It's primary function is so you will know where the note you want or need to play is, rather than give your finger its own choice of which note it decides to hold.

Most music is in a key. Knowing major and minor scales will help you determine which key is being played. It's easier to hear what's going on, and predict what is going to happen next, if you understand the notes in any given key / scale, and which chords are primarily associated with that key.

As an simple example, the 3 primary chords in G major are, G, C, & D. The G major scale is, G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, & G again. A large majority of songs in G major will contain these chords and notes.

Arguably, you are less likely to hear an E major chord, or a Bb note, in a song played in G. But you might! So think of the scale of a key, and the chords of a key, as the basic framework, with which to begin to understand any given piece of music.

bangoodcharlote 12-27-2012 12:38 AM

You should learn them because then you don't have to figure out on your own what 8257254285723 musicians over the last 500 years have figured out.


Understanding the major scale is vital because every other scale is compared to it. You'll see people like me post something like "Harmonic minor is 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7." Do you know what that means? (Perhaps you do, in which case, it might be wise to should write as an exercise the C# harmonic minor scale.) I don't even use major scales in what I play and write, and for that reason, it's important for me to know it. The major scale is where you will learn how to form triad chords, an idea that you'll perhaps end up extending to the minor scale.

To clarify one point, a scale has nothing to do with a guitar. That C# harmonic minor scale is the same on the piano as it is on the viola as it is on the guitar. Knowing the pattern gives you a way to see your way through the scale. The point isn't to learn them so you can play up and down scales and call that music. The point is to be able to know what you want to play and know where to put your fingers so that audible music can be heard.

By the way, "just" helping you write riffs is kind of a big deal. The picking mechanics comment is true, though there are many ways to practice technique. You have to figure out what works for you. Some people like scales. I like brutal chromatic sequences. (They really do hurt like a bitch, though.) Others advocate learning technique through learning songs. It's for you to determine, and plenty of us have ideas about how to use each of those to improve your technique.

(For fun, I tried to come up with a random sequence of numbers and assign to each one a note. I couldn't randomly generate anything, so I based the sequence on my name. It ended up sounding kind of cool. My name is NOT a random sequence of letters, though.)

satanatheist 12-27-2012 03:55 AM

>Modes and scales are dumb and useless. Stop learning them.
>nah uh, you're dumb.

bangoodcharlote 12-27-2012 09:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by satanatheist
>Modes and scales are dumb and useless. Stop learning them.
>nah uh, you're dumb.


*reported*

Hail 12-27-2012 11:09 AM

for the record i advocate learning everything by learning songs. with a basic foundation in theoretical understanding, a willingness to go through the painstaking process of learning to transcribe fluently, a solid ability to troubleshoot technical problems and maximize economy of motion, and a pinch of common sense, breaking down music within a musical context will provide far more of a learning experience and will help prioritize your functionality and practicality rather than your potential in either of those.

not that anyone asked but i'd say that's a good answer to my view on the TS's question, beyond my concession that scales are useful for like 2 days before you get to chapter 2 or wherever they tell you the difference between a root and a tonic. prob less productive than calling that one dude an idiot though, in the grand scheme of things


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