#1
Hey, I've been playing the guitar for about 2 years but very on and off... but very on the past few months and I've learned more than I did in the year before it, lol. I'm starting to really wanting to get into the "theory" bit of it. I can play my open chords, barre chords, and all and I can play some scale shapes (all 5 pentatonics and blues scales, and the Ionian scale).

My question is regarding what key I'm playing in. If I start off playing a minor pent scale on the 5th fret, I'm in the key of Am... I get that. But what if I play the 2nd pentatonic scale shape on the 8th fret low E:

e: 8 - 10
B: 8 - 10
G: 7- 9
D: 7 - 10
A: 7 - 10
E: 8 - 10

Am I still playing in the key of Am or am I now playing in the key of C?

Like I said, I'm really trying to learn the theory bit of playing guitar... I have to say though, it's very hard lol. I'm sure in a few months (hopefully) I'll look back at this post and lol at myself for being so stupid. Thing is I have to rely on the internet to learn as I don't really have any mates that play anything and I don't take lessons in person and don't really plan to.

Any help/advice would be much appreciated. Thanks, Julien.
#2
The key of the song should dictate what you're playing in the first place, not the other way round. Playing notes from another scale in the middle of a song doesn't change the key of the song, unless you intend for it to sound like a key change. You can solo the entire Am scale over an Am chord playing in F major if you felt like it, doesn't mean a thing unless you're going to intentionally emphasize a key change. Make any sense?
#3
yeah that is still in the key of Am. if you moved your first shape so where the A on it was in the shape is now a C, then it would be in the key of C. (tried to explain that simply but i don't know if it worked haha)

e: 11 - 13
B: 11 - 13
G: 10- 12
D: 10 - 13
A: 10 - 13
E: 11 - 13

that would be that shape with C as the root
Last edited by captainsnazz at Aug 3, 2010,
#4
well i guess i was wrong..
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Last edited by stellardude531 at Aug 3, 2010,
#5
Quote by voodoochild23
The key of the song should dictate what you're playing in the first place, not the other way round. Playing notes from another scale in the middle of a song doesn't change the key of the song, unless you intend for it to sound like a key change. You can solo the entire Am scale over an Am chord playing in F major if you felt like it, doesn't mean a thing unless you're going to intentionally emphasize a key change. Make any sense?

Kind of... I get that the song should dictate what you're playing, don't get the rest much though... soloing the Am scale over an Am chord playing in F major part mainly. Sorry I'm such a noob.


Quote by captainsnazz
yeah that is still in the key of Am. if you moved your first shape so where the A on it was in the shape is now a C, then it would be in the key of C. (tried to explain that simply but i don't know if it worked haha)

e: 11 - 13
B: 11 - 13
G: 10- 12
D: 10 - 13
A: 10 - 13
E: 11 - 13

that would be that shape with C as the root

That part I don't get at all... 11 E is D# so I don't really get how it'd be C unless you starting on the 10th fret of the D string.
Last edited by JuloMU at Aug 3, 2010,
#6
okay so look at this
e: 8 - 10
B: 8 - 10
G: 7- 9
D: 7 - 10
A: 7 - 10
E: 8 - 10
this is A minor, as you said. the 7 on the D string and the 10 on the B string are both A.

now look at this
e: 11 - 13
B: 11 - 13
G: 10- 12
D: 10 - 13
A: 10 - 13
E: 11 - 13
The 10 on D and 13 on B are both C, and they're at the same points on the scale as A was for the A minor scale, so this is a C minor scale.
does that make sense?
#7
No.

If you are just playing the notes of a scale, you are not playing in a key. You're also not changing in key if you start on a different position. The positions you've listed are all notes of the C major scale. Moving positions does not change to a different "scale". You're still playing the same scale, just starting on a different note.

However, they are just the NOTES of the C major scale, they are not in C major unless they are played in the context of C major. And while the C major scale contains the same notes as the A minor scale (C D E F G A B), in music theory they are completely different. You won't be playing in A minor if the song is in C major, just like you won't be playing in C major if the song is in A minor.

Bottom line: You are not changing key/scale if you change between positions of any scale. A scale is a scale without musical context. With musical context, the scale is determined by the tonal center. You play C major in a C major context. You play A minor in an A minor context.

You're simply learning patterns of notes, which is one way to conceptualize guitar playing. However you should definitely learn the theory behind what you're doing at some point.
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#8
Quote by captainsnazz
okay so look at this
e: 8 - 10
B: 8 - 10
G: 7- 9
D: 7 - 10
A: 7 - 10
E: 8 - 10
this is A minor, as you said. the 7 on the D string and the 10 on the B string are both A.

now look at this
e: 11 - 13
B: 11 - 13
G: 10- 12
D: 10 - 13
A: 10 - 13
E: 11 - 13
The 10 on D and 13 on B are both C, and they're at the same points on the scale as A was for the A minor scale, so this is a C minor scale.
does that make sense?

Yeah actually it does. So basically if I play C, D#, F, G, A#, no matter where I start I'm playing a Cm Pentatonic? And same with A, C, D, E, G being Am Pentatonic?
#9
Quote by Jimmy_Page_Zep
No.

If you are just playing the notes of a scale, you are not playing in a key. You're also not changing in key if you start on a different position. The positions you've listed are all notes of the C major scale. Moving positions does not change to a different "scale". You're still playing the same scale, just starting on a different note.

However, they are just the NOTES of the C major scale, they are not in C major unless they are played in the context of C major. And while the C major scale contains the same notes as the A minor scale (C D E F G A B), in music theory they are completely different. You won't be playing in A minor if the song is in C major, just like you won't be playing in C major if the song is in A minor.

Bottom line: You are not changing key/scale if you change between positions of any scale. A scale is a scale without musical context. With musical context, the scale is determined by the tonal center. You play C major in a C major context. You play A minor in an A minor context.

You're simply learning patterns of notes, which is one way to conceptualize guitar playing. However you should definitely learn the theory behind what you're doing at some point.

I actually understood that. What I'm trying to do atm is learn all the notes on the fretboard, I know some but not all and it's very daunting but I'm keeping at it until I've got them nailed down and can instantly name whatever note I'm playing.

I'm also trying to learn different scale shapes. I'm got all 5 pentatonic shapes down, just don't know when to use which.
#10
Quote by JuloMU
I actually understood that. What I'm trying to do atm is learn all the notes on the fretboard, I know some but not all and it's very daunting but I'm keeping at it until I've got them nailed down and can instantly name whatever note I'm playing.


Good. This is very important, and often people overlook this aspect of playing. If you're going to learn an instrument, you need to know where every note is on the fretboard to get the most out of it.

Quote by JuloMU
I'm also trying to learn different scale shapes. I'm got all 5 pentatonic shapes down, just don't know when to use which.


This is OK. Learning shapes is convenient, letting you rip through scale patterns quickly, and you will improve quickly. However don't get caught just memorizing the shapes. Know the theory behind every note. More importantly, learn and memorize intervals. I would hold off on the scale patterns until you're able to correctly identify any interval on the fretboard. Then you'll be able to better understand scale/chord construction, and be able to do it more quickly on the fly.
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