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Old 10-05-2012, 05:13 PM   #1
MazRocks
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Scale Learning Techniques?

Hello UG people!!

Okay, so been playing guitar for years, an over the past year and a half have decided to take it a bit more seriously, by that I mean knuckling down and learning more about theory, chords, improv etc. Trying to improve my musicianship, now here's my problem.

scales....

there is an overwhelming amount of them, in my daily practice routine i dedicate 20 mins to scales, any more than that and my atttention and focus starts to go.

at the moment, i am learning the scale shapes, and how they connect to each other (concentrating on major scales at the moment) I know the shapes fairly well and how they connect to each other in several different keys.

Thing is there is a frighting amount of them, and if i use scale sequences/patterns (which is recommended) then getting through even just two scales all over the fret board takes a good amount of time!!! Often the whole twenty minutes, i can get 3 major scales up to the 12th fret (last pattern.box)

Can anyone who knows scales well divulge any hint / tips on how to achieve a good foundation in scales?? i know how they are constructed, and if i find the root quick enough i know what 'box' im in almost immediatly! but feel like i dont really know the scales like real musicinas know them!

any help would be awesome!

thanks.

Steve.

Scale
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:27 PM   #2
Sickz
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I learned scales by learning the notes of the C major scale, then learning what notes get sharpened/flattened depending on key signature.

Like i knew i had the notes ABCDEFG, and to make that G major i play the exact same notes, but sharpen the F. Same with playing F major. I knew i just had to flatten the B.

Seemed like the easiest way to learn scales.

So my tip would be. Learn all the notes on the fretboard and learn basic key signature theory.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MazRocks
scales....

there is an overwhelming amount of them


Not really. There's the major scale and about 10 million variations of it. That's how I look at things.

My thoughts are that scales serve the purpose of showing you where the notes are on the fretboard. For that it just takes lot's of practice playing them to get the location of the notes under your fingers. Learn all seven positions for the major scale and how they relate to each other so that you can seemlessly jump from any position to another. From that point onward it's more about the sound that you wish to create. Do some ear training so that you can learn to recognize intervals; It's the most invaluable skill there is!

Like Sickz suggested, take up learning the notes and how they relate to keys. This all leads to a much more satisfying understanding of music than just the quick copy and paste, "for X progression, use Y scale." method. It all comes in due time with a fair amount of diligent study.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MazRocks
Hello UG people!!

Okay, so been playing guitar for years, an over the past year and a half have decided to take it a bit more seriously, by that I mean knuckling down and learning more about theory, chords, improv etc. Trying to improve my musicianship, now here's my problem.

scales....

there is an overwhelming amount of them, in my daily practice routine i dedicate 20 mins to scales, any more than that and my atttention and focus starts to go.

at the moment, i am learning the scale shapes, and how they connect to each other (concentrating on major scales at the moment) I know the shapes fairly well and how they connect to each other in several different keys.

Thing is there is a frighting amount of them, and if i use scale sequences/patterns (which is recommended) then getting through even just two scales all over the fret board takes a good amount of time!!! Often the whole twenty minutes, i can get 3 major scales up to the 12th fret (last pattern.box)

Can anyone who knows scales well divulge any hint / tips on how to achieve a good foundation in scales?? i know how they are constructed, and if i find the root quick enough i know what 'box' im in almost immediatly! but feel like i dont really know the scales like real musicinas know them!

any help would be awesome!

thanks.

Steve.

Scale

There's a very small number of useful, practical scales.

Stop focussing on the physical aspects of scales, positions, boxes etc.

Start listening and understanding,
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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Everyone else has pretty much got it. Scales aren't important, outside of major and minor. Every song is in a major key or a minor key, and alternate scales really just show you what it sounds like when you use a certain out of key note. For instance, knowing the harmonic minor scale really just shows you what it sounds like to play a major seventh in a minor key. Knowing the minor pentatonic scale just shows you what a flat fifth sounds like in a minor key. Knowing the mixolydian scale just show you what it sounds like to play a minor seventh in a major key (Oh God, don't start learning modes yet. I just needed an example in a major key...).
What I'm saying is, just learn your major and minor scales very well, and then figure out what each accidental sounds like within them.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
Every song is in a major key or a minor key,


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Old 10-05-2012, 11:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MazRocks
Can anyone who knows scales well divulge any hint / tips on how to achieve a good foundation in scales?? i know how they are constructed, and if i find the root quick enough i know what 'box' im in almost immediatly! but feel like i dont really know the scales like real musicinas know them!

The most important thing about learning scales, is knowing the name of the note you're playing.

Learning scale shapes can, and does, short circuit the process of knowing the fret board notes by name.

So say you can play the E minor pentatonic scale shape anywhere on the neck. We pull that shape to the 5th fret, and we have Am pentatonic . That's cool, but you have to learn the notes under your fingers while you're playing it.

A major and its relative minor keys/ scales, plus its accepted modes, (we're not going to go there though ) contain the exact same seven notes. So, when you learn the names of the notes in "X" major key, you've learned the relative minor scale, and seven modes. You're just starting on a different note.

Learn the names of the notes, right alongside the patterns, (or "shapes"), and learn to recognize the key signatures on written music together as a unit.

And it's true there are thousands of scales, from dozens of cultures you could possibly learn. Is that necessary, no. Get the major and minor scales down, and learn how to harmonize them.

If sometime in the future you decide to learn the, "Byzantine scale", you'll have a strong foundation, and will more than likely be able to pick it up easily, just by comparing the difference with what you already know.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 10-06-2012 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captaincranky
Learn the names of the notes, right alongside the patterns, (or "shapes"), and learn to recognize the key signatures on written music together as a unit.

And it's true there are thousands of scales, from dozens of cultures you could possibly learn. Is that necessary, no. Get the major and minor scales down, and learn how to harmonize them.


I completely agree. That way you know that this is the E minor pentatonic because you know where E is and that it works in the key of E.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:32 AM   #9
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There are loads of ways of thinking about scales. Here's one I've found helpful.

Scales are a series of intervals. The major scale goes:

Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone.

All major scales follow this pattern.

So if you know what notes are on the guitar, and you know what a tone or semitone is you don't need to learn a billion patterns, you just keep applying the one pattern.

Likewise chords are a series of intervals. They're made by stacking thirds. A major triad (any major triad) is a major third plus a minor third. So if you know what notes are on the guitar, and you know what a major and minor third is you just keep applying the same pattern.

Learn the fretboard, learn about intervals. Learn the major, natural, harmonic and melodic minor and pentatonic patterns. Use knowledge to work out scales and chords on the fly. Acquire great skill. Become famous. Get laid. Die of a drugs overdose.

So what I'm saying is: Ignore my advice or you'll die of a drugs overdose.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:14 AM   #10
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I had this problem. I tried learning a different scale everyday. To much work.
I analyzed a song I had written and found the 7 modes in the 1 scale I was using. like this along with help on the net.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 = C D E F G A B C, C Major
2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 = A B C D E F G A, A minor
7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.

Don't Be mistaken the key is determined by the progression not by the scale your playing..the key will Be in C if the progression resolves it at C. So as the numbers say, C is 1 for all 7 of these scales for this example. this is just to show you the many patterns within the scales you already know.

This opened doors for me. Same notes but starting a note higher then the previous. making the patterns different. Now I honestly don't use modes. This is just a way I learn to help me navigate the fret board much easier, Because theres also the pentatonic box patterns within each of these positions. At A C D E and G.

lets dive deeper into a few of these scales check out there formulas.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 = C D E F G A B C, C Major
2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 = D dorian
3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 = A B C D E F G A, A minor
7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. = B locrain

Take a Look at the formula for the 1st one. Now lets look at the formula for A minor (the relative minor of C Major) in the key of A minor

1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 1 = A minor looks different now
the last one.
1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 1 = B locrain..I thought this was the same as diminished but the diminished scale is actually a little different.
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 1 = D dorian.

Its really incredible how all these patterns can emerge from 1 tiny major scale.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:02 PM   #11
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Learn the intervals and don't think the scales as boxes only. A scale only has seven notes which are repeated in different shapes. And all the minor and major scales share the same shapes. I mean, you just move the shape a couple of frets up or down and you've got a new scale. For example if you have the basic E minor pentatonic starting on the open E string, move the shape up one fret and you've got F minor pentatonic.
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