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Old 11-12-2012, 05:30 PM   #1
ToTheMinute
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The most practical scales

Instead of aimlessly memorizing tons of random scales, I want to know what you think the most practical and useful scales are for lead guitarists who play rock and metal.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:34 PM   #2
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Major, minor and their respective pentatonic forms. They work for the majority western music too.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:53 PM   #3
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What kind of "random" scales have you been memorizing? (If the answer is modes, are you referring to different scale positions? If yes, they are just different shapes of major or minor scale, they share the same notes but played higher/lower. That's not what modes really are but many people refer to the scale shapes when they talk about modes. For example there's a "dorian shape" of major scale but you aren't playing modes.)

The answer is minor pentatonic. Most of rock and metal solos use it. Also what rockingamer2 said.

Chromatic scale?
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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major, minor, harmonic minor, melodic minor...

...combined with an understanding of tonal music and common practice.

if you prefer to limit yourself to the understanding of only two genres, then pentatonic minor should suffice for about 97% of your needs.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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Major scale....
All the other scales are based on it and are variations of it.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:03 PM   #6
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Major, and minor.

Most other scales are just slight alterations of those. They're more like teaching tools that show you what certain accidentals sound like with the major or minor scale. For instance, what we would call harmonic minor scale, is really jut the minor scale with a major 7th instead of a minor 7th. What we would call the lydian scale (don't start discussing modes people, I just don't have any other non mode scale for a major example) is really just the major scale with an augmented 4th instead of a perfect 4th. What I'm saying is, it's more practical to just think about what intervals you're using, rather than what the scale is. The only time I'm consciously thinking about what scale I'm using, rather than what certain intervals will sound like in the context, is with the diminished and whole tone scales. Those aren't so easy to explain with major and minor scales.

EDIT: Every time scales and rock/metal are brought up, whether in forums, lesson articles, Youtube videos, and so on, I always see people claiming that pentatonic will cover most of it. Why is it that my music listening since I started playing guitar almost 6 years ago has been 90% rock and metal, yet I nearly never hear the pentatonic scale in anything to come out after the very earliest of rock music besides Zakk Wylde?
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:09 PM   #7
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@MaggaraMarine I've been a classical guitarist, so I know lots of typical classical scales, but mostly on open positions. I want to switch to lead guitar playing so I'm trying to figure out which scales I can carry over from my classical playing and which new ones I should learn.

I know major and minor like the back of my hand, so I guess I've got a good head start for playing leads.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
EDIT: Every time scales and rock/metal are brought up, whether in forums, lesson articles, Youtube videos, and so on, I always see people claiming that pentatonic will cover most of it. Why is it that my music listening since I started playing guitar almost 6 years ago has been 90% rock and metal, yet I nearly never hear the pentatonic scale in anything to come out after the very earliest of rock music besides Zakk Wylde?


i strongly encourage you to find me a rock/metal guitarist of quality who uses tasteful phrasing who was not profoundly influenced by a genre (or multiple genres) outside rock and metal.

TS, if you have experience in classical guitar, you're probably no stranger to accidentals - if you know your major and minor scales, learn the sounds of all accidentals relative to those scales and you'll be able to employ them as you see fit. learn how an Ab fits in C major, and you'll learn how a D fits in F# major. know what i mean?

that's where i'd suggest starting now.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
i strongly encourage you to find me a rock/metal guitarist of quality who uses tasteful phrasing who was not profoundly influenced by a genre (or multiple genres) outside rock and metal.


No good musician is inspired by one genre. Not sure what that has to do with my post though.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
i strongly encourage you to find me a rock/metal guitarist of quality who uses tasteful phrasing who was not profoundly influenced by a genre (or multiple genres) outside rock and metal.

TS, if you have experience in classical guitar, you're probably no stranger to accidentals - if you know your major and minor scales, learn the sounds of all accidentals relative to those scales and you'll be able to employ them as you see fit. learn how an Ab fits in C major, and you'll learn how a D fits in F# major. know what i mean?

that's where i'd suggest starting now.


Yeah, I'm very familiar with accidentals. My ear is pretty good, so I can hear intervals fairly well. I'll check out accidentals within the scales and see how they relate to each other. It sounds like you said exactly what Macabre_Turtle turtle said, but you're each thinking about it a different way. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
No good musician is inspired by one genre. Not sure what that has to do with my post though.


then i suggest you think harder. you're not really Vicious_Turtle, are you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToTheMinute
Yeah, I'm very familiar with accidentals. My ear is pretty good, so I can hear intervals fairly well. I'll check out accidentals within the scales and see how they relate to each other. It sounds like you said exactly what Macabre_Turtle turtle said, but you're each thinking about it a different way. Thanks for the tips.


train your ear further first - that's ultimately what will allow you to become a better musician, above all else.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
EDIT: Every time scales and rock/metal are brought up, whether in forums, lesson articles, Youtube videos, and so on, I always see people claiming that pentatonic will cover most of it. Why is it that my music listening since I started playing guitar almost 6 years ago has been 90% rock and metal, yet I nearly never hear the pentatonic scale in anything to come out after the very earliest of rock music besides Zakk Wylde?


I really have no idea what you're listening that leads you to say this, because I hear pentatonics all the time.

Mike McCready's solo in "Alive" (he's really big on pentatonics). The Black Keys use a ton of pentatonics. Slash often uses them.

I'd have to sit and think, but it wouldn't take me long to come up with a bunch more examples.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
I really have no idea what you're listening that leads you to say this, because I hear pentatonics all the time.

Mike McCready's solo in "Alive" (he's really big on pentatonics). The Black Keys use a ton of pentatonics. Slash often uses them.

I'd have to sit and think, but it wouldn't take me long to come up with a bunch more examples.


Well, browsing through my music on my laptop, I'm seeing about 40 rock/metal bands (and I've course I hear just more, it's just that I only keep music that I've paid for on my computer) and the pentatonic scale (blues scale, as well) is practically nonexistent throughout the whole collection. Even when I'm listening to the rock radio stations at work I very rarely hear it. And yes, before you ask, my ear is trained well enough to recognize the pentatonic scale.
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