I've tried doing a search on UG but I didn't get anything. Might've been the keywords though.

Anyway, just yesterday during guitar lesson, my teacher was talking about Eb major scale (We were messing around with Europa by Santana). During that time, the only major scale that I had memorized was the A major scale. So I just moved it up to the 11th fret and asked him it was correct. He said it was.

Then, yesterday night, I found this website: http://theguitarresource.com/scales-and-modes/moveable-major-and-minor-scale-shapes/

Here's my question: Technically, can I form any major and minor scale shape by moving the shapes talked about in the above website? Does it apply to harmonic and melodic minor scales too? Can I apply it to modes?
Yes, they will always have the same shapes. Make sure you know what the notes are too though.
Oh yeah.

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This works with every other mode too, not just the major and minor.
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That's what's great about guitar. Yes, those shapes can be moved up. Take an A major scale, move it up 2 frets, it's now a B major scale.
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that is correct. however, don't let that stop you from actually knowing the notes. not all instruments have scale shapes like guitar does -- if shapes were everything, no one would play any other instrument.

playing a pattern is one thing, anyone can do that. understanding the notes, the sounds, and the mechanics behind them, which requires time, effort, and patience, is the mark of a good musician.

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That's what's great about guitar.

that's what's bad about guitar, as well. for convenience, it's great -- but people tend to only learn movable patterns, and that's a poor substitute for actually knowing the notes and the sounds.

nothing wrong with doing both, though.
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Last edited by AeolianWolf at Jul 18, 2010,

If the shapes are moveable, why would I want to learn other shapes?

Does this also apply to melodic minor scales? As I understand it, going up and down the scale is different. I'm inclined to think this works too, but I think it'd be better to check.

For the modes specifically, let's say I'm on E Phrygian and I move up 1 fret, would that make it F Phrygian?

I seem to be concentrating on moving shapes a lot, but I think I'll probably be learning the different shapes eventually.
There's not really any such thing as a moveable shape, it's a bit of a misnomer - it's just that guitarists often only look at fragments of scale patterns rather than the whole thing. Every scale exists across the entire fretboard, if you're playing a scale in a particular key then you simply using one big shape that spans 20-odd frets.

Now, if you want to use the same scale in a different key because the notes are different but have the same intervals then the whole scale shape transposes. However, the "moving" only really occurs at that stage, to help you find where the scale lies. In practice you're not usually moving scale shapes themselves around, rather you're moving around through a static pattern. Moving a shape simply means using that scale in a different key, it's of little use to you when it comes to using a single scale effectively.

The problem with just learning shapes as you're doing is that you're not really learning much of anything. Shapes don't define scales, notes and intervals do - but what that means is that the same shape can actually be one of several scales depending on context. If you're literally just learning shapes all you're going to do is learn the exact same thing 7 times over in a convoluteds and roundabout way. So your shape isn't "The A major scale", it's "part of the A major scale that appears at the 5th fret" - those same notes and their octaves appear in other places on your guitar and that means the scale is there too.

It's a lot easier to learn things properly from the beginning than it is to spend a significant amount of time believing something, only to have to "unlearn" it at some point further down the line.
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