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Old 11-26-2012, 05:55 PM   #1
Akula KO
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What is the point of learning scales?

I've been playing guitar for nearly 2 years now. When I started I got the usual info given to beginners, one thing being "learn scales"... so for about 2 weeks I practised scales and then I quit because I didn't see the point.

From then on I just spent all my practice time on learning chords, learning how to do harmonics, string skipping, power chords, tremolo picking, alternate picking, and some other techniques. I also did some finger strengthening exercises and some finger stretching exercises.

After all this time I still don't get the point. Did I really miss some vital part of guitar training? I doubt it.

Oh yeah forgot to add. Some people say it's to strengthen yourself but you can just do exercises for that (not necessarily scales). Some have said it helps with accuracy but so does teaching yourself a song you like with melodic parts or solos.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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Every other example of things that you've mentioned that you've practiced are techniques. Things that help you play. Scales are not techniques. They are knowledge. Music theory. They help you write music, not play it.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:44 PM   #3
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Scales are bad, don't play solos you might use one.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
Every other example of things that you've mentioned that you've practiced are techniques. Things that help you play. Scales are not techniques. They are knowledge. Music theory. They help you write music, not play it.


This, and scales can help you with ear training, and learning songs faster.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:58 PM   #5
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scales are sets of pitch intervals used to construct chords, write melodies, etc.



Knowing and understanding how to use the major/minor scales is fundamental for writing music, imo.



^"ear/learn songs faster/etc"


Because essentially every song ever written uses the same scale(or scales derived from it), you can know how to play any song you hear without even touching the guitar.

pretty ****in handy if i do say so myself.




also, id like to see you attempt to improvise without knowing scales.



theory is what separates a douche-bag with an acoustic guitar singing songs over the same 3 chords and a talented musician.

Last edited by rickyj : 11-26-2012 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:01 PM   #6
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OP. Start by learning the major scale and the minor scale. I mean, knowing how to find them on the fretboard (being able to play any given major or minor key I suggest anywhere on the fretboard). And I don't just mean do exercises with them. Write music with them. Pick some chords that fit in a scale, write some melodies that fit the scale, go on from there.

All of music knowledge (including why chords are named the way they are) will stem from there.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:02 PM   #7
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Knowing scales can also help you understand just what the heck someone mught be playing too.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:03 PM   #8
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if you're not writing, just knowing all the modes of the mjaor scale are very useful for quickly learning new solos or lead guitar parts. Its easier to learn them if you're familiar with the patterns theyre built around
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shred_wizzard
if you're not writing, just knowing all the modes of the mjaor scale are very useful for quickly learning new solos or lead guitar parts. Its easier to learn them if you're familiar with the patterns theyre built around



NO! Do not even whisper the word modes around beginners. OP, forget you ever heard the word mode. Just. No.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
NO! Do not even whisper the word modes around beginners. OP, forget you ever heard the word mode. Just. No.


You're not TS's mom! Don't try to protect him from the truth!

Honestly, this is something i don't get about guitar players these days, i saw a doctor who spent 4 years in uni and 4 years as an intern to become a doctor, he plays guitar, but he's too lazy to learn music theory, even though he wants to write his own music.

I mean fuck, why are guiar players so lazy these days?
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:19 PM   #11
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Scales are the basis for everything. Chords are made from the notes of scales. Solos use scales (generally). Theoretically, you don't actually need scales to play, but if you learn them, everything will be easier and you will have a better understanding of what you're playing and how music works.



Quote:
Originally Posted by shred_wizzard
if you're not writing, just knowing all the modes of the mjaor scale are very useful for quickly learning new solos or lead guitar parts. Its easier to learn them if you're familiar with the patterns theyre built around

You're an idiot. Modes are virtually useless, especially in this case since TS doesn't fully understand and know scales. Modes have no place in music unless you have a very, VERY, VERY, good understanding of at least the major scale.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamgur96
You're not TS's mom! Don't try to protect him from the truth!

Honestly, this is something i don't get about guitar players these days, i saw a doctor who spent 4 years in uni and 4 years as an intern to become a doctor, he plays guitar, but he's too lazy to learn music theory, even though he wants to write his own music.

I mean fuck, why are guiar players so lazy these days?



....who exactly are you calling lazy, dude?
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
....who exactly are you calling lazy, dude?


TS and guitar players who are too lazy to learn theory.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamgur96
TS and guitar players who are too lazy to learn theory.


I see... I agree that all guitar players should certainly learn their theory, but it doesn't look like OP didn't learn theory because he's lazy. He looks like hasn't learned theory because he didn't know it was a thing. It seems that scale were shown to him as being nothing but little box shaped finger exercises and the idea that there was more to it was just not brought up to him.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
I see... I agree that all guitar players should certainly learn their theory, but it doesn't look like OP didn't learn theory because he's lazy. He looks like hasn't learned theory because he didn't know it was a thing. It seems that scale were shown to him as being nothing but little box shaped finger exercises and the idea that there was more to it was just not brought up to him.


yeah, my bad..... Well, TS is just a little ignorant about music theory.

It just pisses me off when i see players who want to learn but don't wanna learn theory.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamgur96
TS and guitar players who are too lazy to learn theory.



Modes aren't something you need to learn right away. Someone learning their scales should start off with the basics of pentatonic minor, pentatonic major and the major scale. Work on that for awhile and digest it, then maybe start integrating modes. Not everyone needs to learn modes.

I can show you any number of high earning guitar players who know zilch about theory. Yet, they are able to play, sound good and sell CDs. Why? Because they know what sounds good. They have a good ear. There is certainly nothing wrong with learning theory - it can certainly help you understand and explain things, however it is not absolutely necessary that a musician learn theory. And not learning theory does not make someone lazy.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KG6_Steven
I can show you any number of high earning guitar players who know zilch about theory. Yet, they are able to play, sound good and sell CDs. Why? Because they know what sounds good. They have a good ear. There is certainly nothing wrong with learning theory - it can certainly help you understand and explain things, however it is not absolutely necessary that a musician learn theory. And not learning theory does not make someone lazy.


Woah woah waoh, man. I agree that modes are something that should be way off in the distance, and I agree that not knowing theory doesn't make someone lazy, but please, don't try to convince people that neglecting theory can be a good thing. There are plenty of highly successful guitar players who never learn theory, yes, but the truth is, every single one of them would benefit from learning it, and when people go citing things like "Jimi Hendrix didn't learn theory," or "Slash doesn't know theory" (just examples, they probably do), it misleads noobs into thinking they have a good excuse to skip something that would be helping them.

Sure, you can become great without theory, but truthfully, you're just making it harder on yourself if you skip it.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle
Woah woah waoh, man. I agree that modes are something that should be way off in the distance, and I agree that not knowing theory doesn't make someone lazy, but please, don't try to convince people that neglecting theory can be a good thing. There are plenty of highly successful guitar players who never learn theory, yes, but the truth is, every single one of them would benefit from learning it, and when people go citing things like "Jimi Hendrix didn't learn theory," or "Slash doesn't know theory" (just examples, they probably do), it misleads noobs into thinking they have a good excuse to skip something that would be helping them.

Sure, you can become great without theory, but truthfully, you're just making it harder on yourself if you skip it.


Couldn't have said it better.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akula KO
I've been playing guitar for nearly 2 years now. When I started I got the usual info given to beginners, one thing being "learn scales"... so for about 2 weeks I practised scales and then I quit because I didn't see the point.

From then on I just spent all my practice time on learning chords, learning how to do harmonics, string skipping, power chords, tremolo picking, alternate picking, and some other techniques. I also did some finger strengthening exercises and some finger stretching exercises.

After all this time I still don't get the point. Did I really miss some vital part of guitar training? I doubt it.

Oh yeah forgot to add. Some people say it's to strengthen yourself but you can just do exercises for that (not necessarily scales). Some have said it helps with accuracy but so does teaching yourself a song you like with melodic parts or solos.

Mate, give up, yeah? Just stick to your white wine, candles 'n' shit.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:17 PM   #20
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I'm arguing both sides of the fence on this one. I learned music theory as a part of my lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed it - even now I love theory. One of the things my instructor told me is that it's hard for him to find students who want to learn the mechanics of music. One of the arguments against learning theory is - why should I learn to fix the car, when all I want to do is drive it? See the parallel? And that's true. And it's probably why my wife describes car problems in a way only my wife can describe car problems.

I've also taught guitar and found that most students have no interest in learning theory. Were they lazy? No. They just wanted to learn how to play and devote their time to that and nothing else. Personally, I find it helps me understand the songs I'm playing - especially in playing lead.

The place I work occasionally posts job openings. Some of the openings require a certain college degree, or they'll also accept a certain number of years experience. You mentioned Slash and Hendrix. I look at someone like that as having the experience and the ear and not needing the theory as much. Would they have benefited from having theory knowledge? That's hard to say, as they were fairly successful. I tend to see them as an exception. Could Hendrix explain why something sounded so good? I doubt it. Did he need to be able to explain? I doubt it.

In reference to theory, Charlie Parker once said, "Learn all you can, then forget all of it." If you think about it, he's right. All of that theory does you absolutely no good if you can't play. So, my advice? Take it for the price it cost you... Learn a little theory - learn chord construction and scale formulas and a few other things, but don't get so hung up on theory that you can't play the music and make it sound good. Use your ear. Make music. When you're up on stage and playing, you won't be thinking about which note is diminished, which is the tonic, whether or not this chord is diatonic and whether or not the D7 chord is built from the dominant of the G scale. Probably one of the most valuable things you can learn is the notes on the neck of your guitar. Learn them all. Memorize them forward and backward.

Now, I'm going back to reading my theory book. Yes, I own two or three of them.
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