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Old 05-02-2013, 06:55 AM   #1
bindo
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Major scales with modes or pentatonic first

Greetings gentlemen,

This is my first post here in the UGC. When it comes to my guitar playing I would say that I'm a little more than a beginner. The reason that I'm writing this post is to find out which scales that a beginner who wants to play lead should come around first? I know that lots of people would say that a one should learn pentatonics first. In my case though, I have been learning and practicing major scales. I wouldn't say that I have mastered them 100% but I do have an idea as to how they work and of course I could play them up and down the neck at a considerable speed. If you were to ask me what kind of music that I want to play I'd say rock, a little bit of metal, blues. more importantly I want to understand what I'd do and come up with my own, licks/riffs and those power chords stuff.

Biggest confusion that I have is that they say that all the other scales are derived from the major scales. All this time I thought if you know your major scales you could just play the relative pentatonic scales just by trimming off those 2 additional notes by being in the same shapes. It ain't seems to be the case though. For an instance say that I want to play the G major scale on 3rd fret(Root being on low e string third fret.) The way I' have been taught to play my G major scale in the said position is by putting my second finger on the root note and so on.. But with the G major pentatonic I came to know that I should put my 1st(index finger) on the root note(low E 3rd fret). I may be quite possibly wrong but if this is the case I'd have to learn these new shapes from the scratch, get used to it which obviously make more time.

The next question is if I'd master the 7 modes would I still be able to avoid the need to learn the pentatonic scales?

Then on to the last question, or rather a humble request by a beginner who genuinely wants to learn how to play and the theory behind it. Would some of you recommend me the most effective sequence that I should take up on with regards to guitar learning. Probably like a syllabus as illustrated below.

1. chords
2. CAGED system
3.major scales
4.modes 5.pentatonics 6.arpegios ...............etc etc

If you could lay this down for me I'm sure I can work on them in the right order with out getting confused and frustrated. I believe that the biggest problem I have is the lack of a right order when it comes to guitar education.

There are no such genuine teachers in my country believe it or not. whatever I play now I learn't thanks to the internet. In fact I just bought my first electric guitar last week(Sterling JP60 by music man) which I paid a lot of money for. I just don't want that big purchase to go in vain. Please could you help me go in the right direction? I'm sure it'd not only benefit me but many of the other students who are confused just as I am.

Many thanks in advance gentlemen. I'm waiting impatiently for your valuable advices.

/Bindo
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:16 AM   #2
saint_berzerker
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I'd say to start with chords and the pentatonic scale first. This is what is going to let you actually "make music" faster and easier, which will whet your appetite for more.

The "modes" drive even experienced players crazy (though they are very simple), and you might want to mess with those later on.

Learn your basic Major/Minor barre chords, which use the same fingerings in any key.

Also, all of your basic "open" chords - E, Em, F, G, A, Am, C, D and Dm - just about every pop song ever made uses just these.

Then, learn how to make simple riffs using the pentatonic scale. This is a scale that easy to play in any key.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:17 AM   #3
ha_asgag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bindo
Greetings gentlemen,

... which scales that a beginner who wants to play lead should come around first?

/Bindo


Whether you're learning rhythm or lead, a working knowledge of some of the basic scales won't hurt as long as your goal is to make music.

Here are some diagrams of scales, chords/arpeggios in C or Am that you could start getting familiar with. Slice the diagrams every 5 frets / 5-fret position for clarity. (You could slide/transpose them to other frets/keys later once you've got the shapes under your fingers.)
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:18 AM   #4
Zaphod_Beeblebr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bindo
Biggest confusion that I have is that they say that all the other scales are derived from the major scales. All this time I thought if you know your major scales you could just play the relative pentatonic scales just by trimming off those 2 additional notes by being in the same shapes. It ain't seems to be the case though. For an instance say that I want to play the G major scale on 3rd fret(Root being on low e string third fret.) The way I' have been taught to play my G major scale in the said position is by putting my second finger on the root note and so on.. But with the G major pentatonic I came to know that I should put my 1st(index finger) on the root note(low E 3rd fret). I may be quite possibly wrong but if this is the case I'd have to learn these new shapes from the scratch, get used to it which obviously make more time.


You're not thinking about what you're doing enough. Look at this shape:

Code:
e|---------------------3-5- b|-----------------3-5----- g|-------------2-4--------- d|---------2-5------------- a|-----2-5----------------- e|-3-5---------------------


And ask yourself what reason there is to finger this any differently than the way you're working with your standard G major shape.

Fingering of a scale or arpeggio should be relatively fluid since you don't necessarily know what situation you're going to want to use it in while you're playing. That's not to say that you should practice every possible fingering for every single thing you learn but you should at least aim to have a couple of different ways of playing the exact same thing under your fingers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bindo
The next question is if I'd master the 7 modes would I still be able to avoid the need to learn the pentatonic scales?


Ignore the modes. I'm going to say it again just really hammer it home: ignore the modes. You don't need them, almost no one actually needs them. If you learn the major and minor scales really well you will never need to learn another piece of scale theory in your life. From there on it's a question of applying the notes you know in slightly different ways.

You will need to learn a bunch of different things physically if you really want to take things a long way but once you have that standard diatonic theory in your mind, modes become 100%, completely and utterly irrelevant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bindo
Then on to the last question, or rather a humble request by a beginner who genuinely wants to learn how to play and the theory behind it. Would some of you recommend me the most effective sequence that I should take up on with regards to guitar learning. Probably like a syllabus as illustrated below.

1. chords
2. CAGED system
3.major scales
4.modes 5.pentatonics 6.arpegios ...............etc etc

If you could lay this down for me I'm sure I can work on them in the right order with out getting confused and frustrated. I believe that the biggest problem I have is the lack of a right order when it comes to guitar education.


Firstly: chords and arpeggios are, in theory terms, the same thing. They're just played slightly differently; chords all at once, arpeggios the notes are played separately. In physical terms this ends up having significant impact on the hands but if we're talking theory then they can and should be learned at the same time.

Scalar theory is all much the same as well so really I'd group that all together as well.

Really I think what you need to do is learn the names and scalar origins of intervals, that's pretty much the basis for everything else you will learn. If someone says to you "diminished fifth" you need to know what that means and ideally both how it sounds and how to play it.

By necessity this will mean learning the major scale and probably the minor as well while you're at it. From there you can move on to really understanding chord construction so you know why chords are the way they are and what makes them sound the way they do.

If I had to put things in to order I'd have it set out something like this:

1 - Chords & Pentatonics
This is just stuff you learn physically so you can get playing tunes and simple solos really quickly. Without this stuff you'll probably just think "Why am I learning all this?" and get bored.

2 - Major/minor scale and intervals.
You need this stuff to actually understand any theory.

3 - Chord construction and arpeggios.
This is just a further application of things you learn in step 2 but there's a specific set of terminology that comes with chords and arpeggios that has a clearly defined set of rules.

The golden rule of all this, however, is to be aware of the sound of everything at all points. There is literally no point learning any of this if you don't know how it sounds, that would be like a novelist memorizing an entire dictionary but skipping out on all the meanings of the words. Shapes are not enough.



Also for future reference: New Members Q&A is more for questions about the forum. Music theory questions go in Musician Talk and questions about the physical aspects of playing go in Guitar Techniques.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr : 05-02-2013 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:36 PM   #5
bindo
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Hello there gentlemen,

Let me thank you so very much for spending your valubale time trying to help me out with my doubts. I never even imagined that your kind of helpful people even exist anymore in this world. I really have no words to express my gratitudes. Thank you very much Mr Zap, Mr Ha and Mr Berz for you genuine advices.

Mr Zap, I'd really appreciate your much informative response. If I may ask sir,

Quote:
And ask yourself what reason there is to finger this any differently than the way you're working with your standard G major shape.

Fingering of a scale or arpeggio should be relatively fluid since you don't necessarily know what situation you're going to want to use it in while you're playing. That's not to say that you should practice every possible fingering for every single thing you learn but you should at least aim to have a couple of different ways of playing the exact same thing under your fingers.


Does this mean that I could use my first finger too rather than using the middle finger on the G root note? Is it safe to say that I could use any finger on the root note as I see fit? For an instance if I could train myself to play the G major scale on 3rd fret with my first finger on the G(root) note, I'm sure it will be much more easier to figure out my relative pentatonic scale straight away without having to train my fingers to approach it in a different manner. Is this what you were trying to say sir? Please do forgive me for not understanding sir. It is just me being a confused beginner with no help whatsoever. Please try to elaborate if you think that I'm worth it. Many thanks in advance.

/Bindo
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:16 AM   #6
Zaphod_Beeblebr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bindo
Does this mean that I could use my first finger too rather than using the middle finger on the G root note? Is it safe to say that I could use any finger on the root note as I see fit? For an instance if I could train myself to play the G major scale on 3rd fret with my first finger on the G(root) note, I'm sure it will be much more easier to figure out my relative pentatonic scale straight away without having to train my fingers to approach it in a different manner. Is this what you were trying to say sir? Please do forgive me for not understanding sir. It is just me being a confused beginner with no help whatsoever. Please try to elaborate if you think that I'm worth it. Many thanks in advance.

/Bindo


Please don't call me 'sir', that's almost unspeakably strange Call me Zaphod.

What I was saying is that you can finger things any way you want and no one will call you on it, or at least no one who really matters. At the same time though, be mindful of keeping your hand flexible in its positioning; at all times you want to keep as many options open to you as is reasonably possible.

Just to kind of illustrate where I'm coming from, that major pentatonic finger above is, in my mind, this fingering without the extra notes:

Code:
e|-------------------------------3-5-7- b|-------------------------3-5-7------- g|-------------------2-4-5------------- d|-------------2-4-5------------------- a|-------2-3-5------------------------- e|-2-3-5-------------------------------


Hopefully you can see how the two are related.

That doesn't, however, mean that I'm stuck with my index finger rigidly in the 2nd fret if I'm not going to be using those notes.

In my experience, you tend to find that the more complex a piece is to play, the more you have to violate the "finger per fret" rule and that's fine but the point is that I know it's there and for most situations I know that it's the ideal.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:21 AM   #7
bindo
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Mr Zap thank you very much. Wow this is such a big relief.
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