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Old 01-22-2013, 06:54 PM   #1
dannydawiz
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Effectively Encoding Scale Patterns

I've been working on my fretboard visualization a lot more recently and I need a little bit of guidance as far as encoding the scale patterns into my brain faster and more efficiently.

What do you guys believe is the most efficient way of going about doing this?

Usually what I do is focus on a certain scale and then play it ascending and descending all around the fretboard revolving around a random root note.

I still get lost though when I improvise and I feel like I could express myself way more efficiently if I were able to envision the whole scale connected over the fretboard instead of just one pattern.

Any suggestions?
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:11 PM   #2
AlanHB
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You only need to know two scales, the major and the minor scale. Everything else is a slight alteration on them. Perhaps the issue is that you're foccussing on exotic named scales rather than those two.

Otherwise for patterns CAGED is the way to go, but learn all the notes at the same time so you can slowly break out of the boxes.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:13 PM   #3
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the moment patterns stop being useful is the moment you start to learn music theory

in other words, when you quit sucking
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:27 PM   #4
mdc
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I used to have that problem of memorizing scale patterns. Then I realized that memorizing them was only hard because I wasn't listening to them. I was just relying on colourful diagram.

When I finally "woke up", I realized that I could play the scale without any diagrams because I could "hear" it.

You may wan't to try Mick Goodricks idea of "6 pianos". Which is basically treating each string like a piano.... in other words, you can only play the scale laterally, as opposed to vertically.

That approach will make your ear work extremely hard, especially if you're looking at something other than major or minor.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:52 PM   #5
ouchies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannydawiz
I've been working on my fretboard visualization a lot more recently and I need a little bit of guidance as far as encoding the scale patterns into my brain faster and more efficiently.

What do you guys believe is the most efficient way of going about doing this?

Usually what I do is focus on a certain scale and then play it ascending and descending all around the fretboard revolving around a random root note.

I still get lost though when I improvise and I feel like I could express myself way more efficiently if I were able to envision the whole scale connected over the fretboard instead of just one pattern.

Any suggestions?



The best way, imo is to have more than one way to find our way around the fretboard.

Ex:

1) Be able to build diatonic scale shapes based on a certain note (start from a C and build C major)

2) Be able to build arpeggios based on starting from a certain note (start from C, build CM, CM7, CM9, Am, Dm7, etc.) Arbitrary b/c eventually you will be playing every note from CM

3) Learn how to build pentatonic scale shapes from a given note (start from C, build Am pentatonic, build C Major pentatonic, etc.)

Being able to switch the way you see your fretboard has enormous benefits in improvisation, style and writing as well.

This goes for anything really.

Also in my opinion shapes are very important, however it is also important to use your ear as mentioned above. Mindlessly playing exercises doesn't help, you muts listen to what you're playing. The exercises gives you a foundation to understand what you hear in your head, and it also give you something to play if you draw a blank while youre playing (it happens).

Also I like to use shapes to make really ridiculous runs and generally have fun messing around in them.
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Last edited by ouchies : 01-22-2013 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:00 AM   #6
food1010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannydawiz
I still get lost though when I improvise and I feel like I could express myself way more efficiently if I were able to envision the whole scale connected over the fretboard instead of just one pattern.
True. But the answer isn't to learn more patterns. It's to learn music. Play everything you can by ear. Transcribe. Learn vocal melodies. Sing something first, then try to play it on your guitar.

Problem solved.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:17 AM   #7
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The thing is, when you're playing you don't need to have the entire fretboard mapped out in your head.

All you need to be able to do is find the next note you want to hear, and ultimately that boils down to knowing your intervals, knowing how they sound and knowing how to locate them. Regardless of how fast you're playing you're only ever moving from one sound to the next, each step leads on to the next one. If you try and approach it as a big mess of dots that you somehow need to be able to visualise on your fretboard it'll never happen. You just need to start listening more and start getting used to working by sound, not by sight.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven seagull
The thing is, when you're playing you don't need to have the entire fretboard mapped out in your head.

All you need to be able to do is find the next note you want to hear, and ultimately that boils down to knowing your intervals, knowing how they sound and knowing how to locate them. Regardless of how fast you're playing you're only ever moving from one sound to the next, each step leads on to the next one. If you try and approach it as a big mess of dots that you somehow need to be able to visualise on your fretboard it'll never happen. You just need to start listening more and start getting used to working by sound, not by sight.

But how do you play fast without a map of notes in your mind?

I assume that by intervals, you mean all intervals starting from the root note of the scale - so, knowing the sound of each note inside the scale, no matter what key you're in. I assume you DON'T mean having to know the distance between the note you're currently playing and a note that is in the same scale - that would require one to learn all 7 distances to each note in the scale, FOR each note in the scale.
Which one of these did you mean? Or did you mean something else?

So, then, you've memorized the sound of the intervals starting from the root.. But how do you then avoid notes that sound horrible, or are completely off-key? Since you aren't using a map of notes, you'd need to go by sound alone, and you could very well end up on some false notes. What is your solution to this?
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:05 AM   #9
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I'm talking about relative intervals, regardless of scales, just the distances between notes. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't suggesting throwing the baby out with the bathwater, knowing the full scale pattern is useful information but it's all part of a bigger picture that you're aiming towards.

From any one note on the fretboard there's only ever one of 12 notes you can be moving to, everything beyond that is just repeating itself. And the reality of it is we use some of those intervals more than others, so even if you don't know exactly what every interval sounds like and how to locate it you can normally get by if you know the safest ones and then just fill in the gaps with a combination of logical guesswork and blind faith and luck!

That's why the pentatonic scale is so useful, it's pretty easy to internalise the intervals. If you KNOW where you need to put your next finger relative to where you currently are to get to a certain sound then that's universal, doesn't matter where you are on the fretboard...you know what you need to do to get the same change in pitch from any note on the fretboard. Getting the pentatonic scale under your belt is a quick way to have half the fretboard mapped out AURALLY, not just visually.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by dannydawiz
What do you guys believe is the most efficient way of going about doing this?


Lots of hard, boring, tedious work usually does the trick.

Treat it like it's your job and your income, house and future prosperity depend on it.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by food1010
True. But the answer isn't to learn more patterns. It's to learn music. Play everything you can by ear. Transcribe. Learn vocal melodies. Sing something first, then try to play it on your guitar.

Problem solved.


This.

One thing you have to realize is that while there is a lot of value to knowing the whole fretboard, it's not for the reason you think. (More on that in a second).

It's essentially the same notes with the same relationships (aside from some minor B-string isses) all over the neck. You're not going to express yourself better by being able to move from position to position. A lot of times, quite frankly, it's the opposite: a guitarist switches positions and tells themselves they're doing something different, but they're not.

You must train your ear. That is how you learn to express yourself with a guitar - so that when you think a sound, you play it.

The main reason why you (eventually) want to know the whole neck is so that you have access to your ability to solo no matter where you are on the neck. Playing an open Em chord - the Em scale is right there. But it's also right there if you're playing an Am-shape barred Em on the 7th fret. It's also right there if you're playing a C# chord. You never have to stop playing even for a microsecond to find your scale position.
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