#1
Hello there!
I have been learning with the guitar since the summer, even had an instructor for awhile. However I just ran into a problem, that even UG's articles and leesons cannot solve for me. I have this problem with scales. I look at the lessons offered, and it seems alot of them just show you the positions and tell you to memorize them. I mean, is there another way? Not to mention alot of these articles confuse me. I was wondering what worked for you? Or perhaps links of threads where this has been answered or other lesson elsewhere on the internet?

I know the theory of constructing major and minor scales, as in on a sheet of paper in about a minute. But after that, I just get lost.

Help for the unlearned?
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#3
EDIT: Your post confused me, so I re-read it. If you can write an A Major scale on a piece of paper, I don't see why you're having problems. All positions are just different patterns of the notes in a scale. You just need to memorize dude, that's what I did. Most of the popular scales are very similar as you probably already know, it's not that bad.
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Last edited by BrokenBricks at Jan 13, 2009,
#4
What is it that you can't do? Memorize them? I'm afraid that there's no alternative, you've just got to do it over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and...Over.
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#5
Quote by Gormanilius
Hello there!
I have been learning with the guitar since the summer, even had an instructor for awhile. However I just ran into a problem, that even UG's articles and leesons cannot solve for me. I have this problem with scales. I look at the lessons offered, and it seems alot of them just show you the positions and tell you to memorize them. I mean, is there another way? Not to mention alot of these articles confuse me. I was wondering what worked for you? Or perhaps links of threads where this has been answered or other lesson elsewhere on the internet?

I know the theory of constructing major and minor scales, as in on a sheet of paper in about a minute. But after that, I just get lost.

Help for the unlearned?

First thing to do is learn the notes on the fretboard - if you don't them you're basically trying to learn to spell without knowing the alphabet.

Memorising patterns is just that, memorising patterns - learning a pattern doesn't mean you've learned a scale. There's actually not an awful lot to be gained from simply playing scales, the trick is to understand them and learn how to use them.
Actually called Mark!

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#6
Quote by SoWrongItsMatt
What is it that you can't do? Memorize them? I'm afraid that there's no alternative, you've just got to do it over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and...Over.



+1. I've spent countless hours learning A minor and E minor pentatonic scales in their various forms. Looking at the tablature I thought I was never going to get it but I did. Just takes time. Just like when you play and don't have to look at the fretboard sometime because that muscle memory is there
#7
Quote by MommasHooligan
+1. I've spent countless hours learning A minor and E minor pentatonic scales in their various forms. Looking at the tablature I thought I was never going to get it but I did. Just takes time. Just like when you play and don't have to look at the fretboard sometime because that muscle memory is there

You'll find it a lot easier if you learn the actual scales themselves rather than just the patterns they happen to form. A minor pentatonic and E minor pentatonic have the same pattern, just shifted along the fretboard...if you've learned one minor pentatonic then you've actually learned them all.

Learn the notes of the fretboard, learn the notes and intervals of the scale and put the two together. It's a bad idea to learn scales solely from patterns due to the fact that the same pattern can be used for several scales, if you're not careful you'll just find yourself learning the same thing in different places, and in some cases the exact same thing several times over.
Actually called Mark!

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#8
Quote by steven seagull
First thing to do is learn the notes on the fretboard - if you don't them you're basically trying to learn to spell without knowing the alphabet.

Memorising patterns is just that, memorising patterns - learning a pattern doesn't mean you've learned a scale. There's actually not an awful lot to be gained from simply playing scales, the trick is to understand them and learn how to use them.


Ok IK found a good website to help me do just that

http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id81_en.html

It goes up to 12 frets, but it is my understanding that the next 12 after just repeat themselves the same way.
So I will be using this, I kinda wish this could be made for a DS game or iphone app, so that I could practice this on the road.

And then I just learn the notes for the various scales? And then practice them?

I looked at this site

http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php

That looked helpful for that, as far as I could tell anyhow.
Beware : I am honest, but not brutal
#9
Well... basically the Major Scale is all the normal notes in a row going whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.
And the Minor Scale goes whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole.

Look up more articles on Wikipedia and experiment starting on a random note, and scaling up to the next octave according to the steps.

A good site is Chordbook.com for scales and chords; even backing tracks.
#10
Quote by Gormanilius
Ok IK found a good website to help me do just that

http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id81_en.html

It goes up to 12 frets, but it is my understanding that the next 12 after just repeat themselves the same way.
So I will be using this, I kinda wish this could be made for a DS game or iphone app, so that I could practice this on the road.

And then I just learn the notes for the various scales? And then practice them?

I looked at this site

http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php

That looked helpful for that, as far as I could tell anyhow.

You could always get Guitar Toolkit for the iPhone - doesn't have a note trainer as such but it does do scale diagrams and you can sound the notes out so you get used to hearing them.
Actually called Mark!

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#11
Quote by steven seagull
You'll find it a lot easier if you learn the actual scales themselves rather than just the patterns they happen to form. A minor pentatonic and E minor pentatonic have the same pattern, just shifted along the fretboard...if you've learned one minor pentatonic then you've actually learned them all.

Learn the notes of the fretboard, learn the notes and intervals of the scale and put the two together. It's a bad idea to learn scales solely from patterns due to the fact that the same pattern can be used for several scales, if you're not careful you'll just find yourself learning the same thing in different places, and in some cases the exact same thing several times over.

Agreed. I don't know why so many people are scared of learning the theory. Once you learn all the notes on the fretboard the scales will pose no problem to learn. Besides, if you know the notes on the fretboard, it's not hard to construct an exotic scale and put it to use. In case you just memorize numbers placed on lines, you won't gain as much as you would if you'd actually be able to construct the scales yourself. And that sounds like a cool ability, doesn't it?
#12
I memorized the 5 positions for the major and minor pentatonic scales...took about 2 hours each, spread out over a few days. After that all you have to do is practice moving between them...just work on moving between 2nd to 3rd position, etc
#13
I have almost mastered the 1st 5 frets. I am still working on it, but I should prolly work on memorizing the 1st 6 then go to the next 6, then combine.
I do this with that site, and then playing each note and singing it aloud. I am hoping this will get faster as I memorize it easier.
And then I plan to test myself. Not sure howto yet, hoping I can find some sort of test online.
Beware : I am honest, but not brutal
#14
Check out "Fretboard Logic." I think i this is something that could prove invaluable to your quest... There are cheaper analogues to this software...
#15
Quote by Gormanilius
I have almost mastered the 1st 5 frets. I am still working on it, but I should prolly work on memorizing the 1st 6 then go to the next 6, then combine.
I do this with that site, and then playing each note and singing it aloud. I am hoping this will get faster as I memorize it easier.
And then I plan to test myself. Not sure howto yet, hoping I can find some sort of test online.


You're making this way more complicated for yourself than it has to be. Don't worry about frets. Learn all the positions of E Major, E Minor, E harmonic minor, E phrygian, ect, ect. Then you can more or less just move it all around and have the rest of the keys. As long as you memorize your root notes, that's all you really need. Of course learning all the notes is a goal, but it's not really that important.
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#16
Quote by BrokenBricks
You're making this way more complicated for yourself than it has to be. Don't worry about frets. Learn all the positions of E Major, E Minor, E harmonic minor, E phrygian, ect, ect. Then you can more or less just move it all around and have the rest of the keys. As long as you memorize your root notes, that's all you really need. Of course learning all the notes is a goal, but it's not really that important.

No, you're making it more complicated than it needs to be...if you just learn patterns out of context then you end up learning the same thing several times over, but more importantly you don't understand what a scale actually is or how and when to use it. It's pointless to tell someone to learn the pattern for E harmonic minor because it's just another bit of knowledge they can't use practically.

However, if someone knows the major scale, they can then learn how the natural minor's pattern of intervals differs and also how to use it - and from there they can learn the harmonic minor as a simple alteration of the natural minor that was introduced because it sounds nicer leading back to the root.

Honestly, the shape a scale forms is the least important thing about it - if you have all the other information about it then you can figure the pattern out for yourself, but the pattern alone teaches you nothing. Shapes come into play when you've learned a scale and are looking for practical ways to locate it on the fretboard whilst playing.

Besides, to know where all the root notes are for transposing scales won't you therefore need to know all the notes on the fretboard anyway?
Actually called Mark!

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#17
+5 to everything mr. seagull said


As for easier ways to memorise the scales, use "shortcuts" to remember the intervals.

For example, most scale have a perfect 4th and 5th. Simply keep this in mind and you won't have to memorize that much.

Example:

Rather than memorising the whole aeolian minor scale through the intervals, like this:

1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

, you can just "cut out" the 4th the 5th when memorising it as they will typically be perfect, and learn the other 4 intervals.

So, you'd think of the aeolian minor as a scale with 2, b3, b6, b7.


Further on, you can see different scales as a "blaha with raised/flattened blaha".

For example, a very easy way to remember the harmonic minor scale is to take the aeolian minor scale and raise the 7th degree. Dorian, take the aeolian minor and raise the 6th degree, etc.


Note that these are simply tricks to remember the intervals, not to understand the theory behind scales (which you also should do).