Ok well i have been wondering, what makes a note flat? Example on the Low e string-
E F F# G G# A A# B C C# and so on. So lets say G and G#, would the G be flat?
G# and Ab, on an equal-tempered instrument like the guitar, are the same frequency. They're enharmonic. For all intents and purposes for you at the moment, they're the same note, but there is a difference between G# and Ab depending on context when you're talking music theory.

Ab = A, but flattened
A = A natural
A# = A, but sharpened
Sharp means up, flat means down. In relation to G#, G is indeed flat, but that doesn't mean that G is a flat note.
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Until you give it a key, it's totally arbitrary. Once you do choose a key, then it depends on whatever is simplest. For example, take the key of Bb. If you use sharps it's crazy. You end up with double sharps and stuff, it's just useless. Bb on the other hand has 2 flats and is a simple, easy key.

If you want to see what I mean, check out the circle of fifths. There's only one key where both alternatives are pretty much equal, and that's F#/Gb. G, D, A, E, B are sharp keys, and F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db are all flat keys.

On a side note, I find it funny how many guitar players ignore all flat keys. I had a friend who would tell you he's playing in A# instead of Bb. Don't be that guy.
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omg this is complicated lol, so the flat is higher pitch? so a A# would could be a Bb? im trying to learn the Phrygian mode - 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 and i just started learning theory so its all a bit wierd to me.
Last edited by Lalaporo at Sep 30, 2010,
Quote by Lalaporo
omg this is complicated lol, so the flat is higher pitch? so a A# would could be a Bb? im trying to learn the Phrygian mode - 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 and i just started learning theory so its all a bit wierd to me.

If you just started to learn theory then ignore modes completely; concentrate on learning the notes of the fretboard and learning the major scale really well, once you know those two you'll have a solid base from which to work with the rest of theory but even then modes won't be any use to you for quite a while.
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Well, a flat is a semi-tone down from whatever is being "flatted". It's not that complicated, it just takes a while to get through. Take your time learning it right. I wouldn't worry too much about phrygian mode when you're still getting your sharps and flats down, really. Start from the very beginning and don't skip ahead, IMO.

You need to start by knowing the intervals in C major really well. If you don't, how will you know that B# is the same as C because there's only a semi-tone between them? Hence why you almost never see B# (though there are reasons for it to exist).

So yeah, A# and Bb are exactly the same note. But depending on the key you'll call it one or the other. Here we're talking about actual notes. Your phrygian example is not dealing with specific notes, but rather scale degrees. A different context. Those scale degrees are relative to the major scale intervals.

For example, it has a flat 2. Normally the major scale has a major second interval, which is composed of two semi-tones. Flatting it makes it a minor second, which has a single semi-tone interval. It's all relative to the major scale. But that doesn't mean that all phrygian keys will use flats!

Phrygian mode will use the same key signature as it's relative scale. What I mean is that phrygian is the pattern of intervals you get if you start playing the major scale from it's 3rd scale degree. Like in C major, if you play the same notes (CDEFGAB) but start from E, you're playing phrygian (i.e. play EFGABCD).

So B phrygian, for example, contains the same notes as G major. G major has the notes G A B C D E F#, whereas B phrygian has B C D E F# G A. It has a sharp, not a flat.

I know you're probably a bit confused about this stuff right now. It's a lot of material. Start simple and go from there. Forget about modes for now. Start with the key of C major and learn the intervals in it. Then see how things change as you go to the next key over, say, G major or F major. Learn the circle of fifths. Let me stress that: Learning the circle of fifths will help you in a big way with this kind of thing.

You can seriously ignore modes as scales in their own right for a long time. Just look at them as the major scale starting from a different root note, for now.

Anyways, post away if you need clarifications or have trouble with something. I'm trying to explain as clearly as possible, but perhaps with mixed success. Luck!
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Once you join a band you'll see that you won't even use any of the modes just the pentatonics, minor, major, and blues scales. I can name three famous guitar players off the top of my head who used nothing but these scales. Dimebag Darryl R.I.P., Tony Iommi, and Kirk Hammett.

When you start out in a band you want to get noticed and get signed by a major label. Ergo, keep it simple but not to simp,e. You still want to sound good.
Quote by malmsteensolo
Once you join a band you'll see that you won't even use any of the modes just the pentatonics, minor, major, and blues scales. I can name three famous guitar players off the top of my head who used nothing but these scales. Dimebag Darryl R.I.P., Tony Iommi, and Kirk Hammett.

When you start out in a band you want to get noticed and get signed by a major label. Ergo, keep it simple but not to simp,e. You still want to sound good.

I HIGHLY disagree.

It all depends on which type of music you want to play, whenever I play in my regular band, I tend to stick to the Aeolian and Ionian scales a lot, but also some dorian amd Mixolydian.

Whenever I play jazz/fusion or compose music though, it's a whole different thing. Modes everywhere! So yeah, it all depends on your ambitions as a musician, do you wish to stick to blues rock, or do you wan't to play more advanced music?

Also, Dimebag and Hammet both sound like crap IMHO, nothing I would want to sound like personally. Not saying the blues scale is useless, I use it a lot myself, but you will become a better player if you learn to master the other modes.

Anyway...;

G#= Ab
C#= Db

And so on...
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Last edited by Penn100 at Oct 1, 2010,