#1
I am having trouble understanding scales.

I can play them, but I believe it is more important to understand the scales, because without understanding, I cannot create music.

I know that there are scale 'forms' that can be moved up and down the neck.
I know that there is a way to know how to play a scale in a certain key, but I cannot figure out how.

When looking at the neck right now, to me, I do not see the scale pathways, and when I try to solo, I have no knowledge so I am just playing random notes.

How do I know where each root note/scale is so when I make a song in a certain key, I am playing a correct scale in that key as well.

Thank you
#3
Either you memorize patterns or you memorize the notes in each scale and all the notes in the fretboard. From personal experience either you're really resilient or the first method is the best. I compose and I use the first method.

It has some advantages and some disadvantages. The main advantage is that it will give you a tool to write and improvise that's really easy to learn (if you practice a couple of hours a day you can get your pentatonics down in a week or less; they take a lot of time to master though). The major disadvantage is that you don't really learn music and so when writing at first it will be quite hit and miss. In the long run though as you start to master this you'll be hear trained to recognize some stuff that works best. You'll see.

So in conclusion I'd say learn your pentatonic patterns. There are five and they work on every scale based on the root. Then practice your improvisation and start writing little chord pieces and build up from there.
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#4
Thanks for the great words guys! It is totally helping me understand more already. One last question. How come there are one F, G#, A#, C, D#, and F in the pentatonic scales. What about E and B?
#6
Because pentatonic means five notes (instead of like 7). It can be very rock( see Paul Gilbert) or Japanese. All the black keys on a piano is pentatonic. It takes a while depending yr brain abilities. I've memorized scales for decades and still have to wait for the Polaroid picture to develop when I picture the map of notes I want.
#7
Lets say I am playing a song in E. How do I know where to put my hand to create the correct E scales. Or if I am playing a song in B, how do I know where to create a scale so I am not playing a song in B and a scale in C?
#9
Quote by f33db4ck
Lets say I am playing a song in E. How do I know where to put my hand to create the correct E scales. Or if I am playing a song in B, how do I know where to create a scale so I am not playing a song in B and a scale in C?


Look at the scale/s you know and identify the root note. The root note is the key that the song is in.

For example, say you have an "E shape" minor pentatonic box, and want to play in the key of B minor. You would start this pattern at the 7th fret, because that is B, and the root note is the first note in the pattern.
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#10
Exactly if u wanna jam over E minor start at the 12th fret with your pentatonic scale...if G start at the 3rd fret or 15th....but you can expand on this over time so you can use the whole fretboard but that should get you going bro
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#11
Quote by f33db4ck
Lets say I am playing a song in E. How do I know where to put my hand to create the correct E scales. Or if I am playing a song in B, how do I know where to create a scale so I am not playing a song in B and a scale in C?

RE: the earlier post which you seem to have missed.

You. Have. To. Learn. The. Notes. On. The. Fretboard.
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#12
Knowing the notes makes it a lot easier. Then rather than memorizing scales in your head you can just remember the intervals (i.e. major scale is root note then one whole note up, one whole note up, one half note up, one whole note up, one whole note up, one whole note up, on half note up, then back to the root. That's often written as WWHWWWH for short.)

Either way, knowing the notes across the board makes everything easier.
#13
Quote by f33db4ck
Lets say I am playing a song in E. How do I know where to put my hand to create the correct E scales. Or if I am playing a song in B, how do I know where to create a scale so I am not playing a song in B and a scale in C?


There are two ways to do this....

The "in real time" way:
For this you need to know the notes on the fretboard. Pick a scale, so lets say E, learn the notes on that scale (only take a minute, I'll give you a tip later). Then hit ONLY those notes from that E scale... doesn't matter what order, doesn't have to start at the root, just make sure you don't hit anything other the notes in the E scale and you'll be playing in key.

The "pre-determined" way:
If you don't want to learn the notes on the fretboard, learn just the scale instead. For example, say you want to play E major, search the internet for a scale chart like this. See all those yellow dots? Those are just the notes from the E major scale. Looking at that chart with your guitar in your hands, play just those notes. Keep playing them until you eventually memorise them. You don't need to know the note names, just the locations. Now whenever you want to play E major over the whole fretboard, your brain automatically knows which frets to point your fingers to. Do this for any scale/key you want. This is similar to learning chords from chord diagrams; it won't teach you how to construct chords, but you'll know how to play an Cmaj or Am chord if you need to.

Now for that tip on memorizing scales quick... the main primary scales have 7 notes in them, those notes are C D E F G A B, OK? Now some scales have some of those notes flattened or sharpened. For example, CDEFGAB is the C major scale... no shaps or flats, this is the scale everything else builds off. Then you have G major, where the notes are G A B C D E F♯. So basically just sharpen the F to F# and you get G major. So what's the quick way to play a G major scale? Just play a C major scale, with an F# instead of F. So in other words, all you need to memorize is that a G major scale has an F# in it To create a C major pentatonic scale you just use 5 notes from the full 7 note C major scale (I think someone else above has told you which 5 to use).
#14
I asked my father. He showed me. It was the same as what you guys said but this is how he showed me.

He played an E on the guitar.

He then hummed that E.

And found a matching note on the frett.

and placed corresponding notes while he sang DO RE ME FA SO LA TI DO. moving down the frett.

Makes sense to me.
#15
Exactly, learn the notes on the fretboard.
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#16
I'd learn the notes on the fretboard...

I did.

Although it's been years since I could read music, but I know the notes, can determine a key in a song and immediately find the root and work out the rest from there. Whether that means playing minor pentatonic in G, for example, I know I can start off from anywhere I can play a G on the board, be it sixth string at the third fret or 15th, fifth string at the 10th fret or fourth string at the fifth fret. Same note, different octaves, different possibilities.

And so concludes my music theory knowledge.
#17
@ #9
Scales don't have root notes.
Chords have root notes.
Scale notes are referred to or designated by degrees. Tonal scales start on their TONIC note. Tonal system also uses terms such as tonic, subtonic, supertonic, leading tone, mediant, sub mediant etc for scale degrees
Suggest OP gets good book or good teacher. Too often it's blind leading the blind on the net.
Last edited by R.Christie at Aug 24, 2010,
#18
Quote by R.Christie
@ #9
Scales don't have root notes.
Chords have root notes.
Scale notes are referred to or designated by degrees. Tonal scales start on their TONIC note. Tonal system also uses terms such as tonic, subtonic, supertonic, leading tone, mediant, sub mediant etc for scale degrees
Suggest OP gets good book or good teacher. Too often it's blind leading the blind on the net.



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#19
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#20
If you wanna add some flavor to your soloing then this mode on for size. B Dorian
B C# D E F# G# A. You'd be surprised what you can do with the Dorian mode.