So recently I've been trying to learn some music theory but I don't understand how you'd read something like:

1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 8

I have literally no idea what it means lol. I think the b's represent flat notes but I don't know what the #'s mean :\
# means sharp notes.

If you don't know how to read basic notation yet, then modes are out of the question. Stick to major and minor scales. You've got a ways to go in tonal theory before even attempting modes.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.

and the basics

Music-theory.net
There is tunes of stuff you can do with tonality before you get into more difficult things

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When you have a set of numbers like that it is indicating how to find a scale with reference to the major scale. eg. the blues scale is 1,b3,4,#4,5,b7. When i reference this from the C major scale which is C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C i take the root note, the flat 3rd, the fourth, the sharp fourth, the fifth, and the flat seventh. this will give you C,D#,F,F#,G,A#.
Quote by funky_monk94
When you have a set of numbers like that it is indicating how to find a scale with reference to the major scale. eg. the blues scale is 1,b3,4,#4,5,b7. When i reference this from the C major scale which is C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C i take the root note, the flat 3rd, the fourth, the sharp fourth, the fifth, and the flat seventh. this will give you C,D#,F,F#,G,A#.

Bb, not A#. other than that, this is the info you need.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Thanks guys What's a good place for me to really get some good practice with scales. I know the very basic minor and major shapes but that's about all I know and I want to learn more about how to play them. To be honest though, I don't really know what to know. I just know that the first step is scales, well at least according to you guys :P
Quote by scarhawk
I just know that the first step is scales, well at least according to you guys :P

Yep. You can learn your major and minor scales, then learn how to harmonise them to create chords and how they relate to keys. Upon doing this you'll be one of the better guitarists around. Add in accidentals once you're competent and you'll have the ability to play and analyse 99.9999% of songs.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
Thanks. What's the best site to learn all the scales and how they're used? I see sites with bits and pieces but not the whole deal, you know?
Quote by scarhawk
Thanks. What's the best site to learn all the scales and how they're used? I see sites with bits and pieces but not the whole deal, you know?

www.musictheory.net

If you do the lessons in order and make sure you learn them you'll be set.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
Yeah but that's in the context of the piano, so all the scales are played on one string if I follow exactly what they say. Because I don't know all the scale shapes of course.
Quote by scarhawk
Yeah but that's in the context of the piano, so all the scales are played on one string if I follow exactly what they say. Because I don't know all the scale shapes of course.

Music theory is music theory is music theory.

Learn you're fretboard, the notes and the shapes of intervals on the fretboard. Do you know what a m7 interval looks like on guitar? Or a b5?

Shapes are great for on the fly improv stuff, but understanding the shapes (and scales) will make you a much better musician.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.

Quote by scarhawk
Yeah but that's in the context of the piano, so all the scales are played on one string if I follow exactly what they say. Because I don't know all the scale shapes of course.

Music theory applies the same to all instruments. If you're looking for patterns, by all means use the CAGED method, but I would also recommend learning the theory behind "why" they make those patterns.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
Quote by AlanHB
Music theory applies the same to all instruments. If you're looking for patterns, by all means use the CAGED method, but I would also recommend learning the theory behind "why" they make those patterns.

Yeah I know that music theory applies to all instruments. But if I follow that lesson I will just be learning the scales on one string. Is that the first step I should take?
Quote by scarhawk
Yeah I know that music theory applies to all instruments. But if I follow that lesson I will just be learning the scales on one string. Is that the first step I should take?

Generally you work whichever way works best for you, but maybe you should learn all the notes on the fretboard first if you're unsure how the strings relate to eachother. For example if a scale has a C note in it, I know that this note is found on the 8th fret, low and high E strings, 20th fret on both strings again, 3rd fret A string, 15th fret A string, 5th fret D string, 17th fret D string etc. all the C notes on the fretboard.

But if you don't know where the C note is, this can cause some problems. It goes without saying that you'll have to learn every note on every fret to be able to construct the scales, or at least you'll learn them along the way by constructing them.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
I can find them (although slowly). But once I have that out of the way I don't know what to do with that knowledge. I don't really see how knowing all the notes on the fretboard will help me create skills, because I don't even know how I would go about constructing them lol. I know scales are just a collection of notes and that you've got root not which correspond with the scale name but that's about it.
Quote by scarhawk
I can find them (although slowly). But once I have that out of the way I don't know what to do with that knowledge. I don't really see how knowing all the notes on the fretboard will help me create skills, because I don't even know how I would go about constructing them lol. I know scales are just a collection of notes and that you've got root not which correspond with the scale name but that's about it.

This is obviously still not clicking with you.

You can learn how to make the major and minor scales through that link I gave you.

Once you learn how, you'll know things like the C major scale has these notes CDEFGABC.

If you know where these notes are on the fretboard you can play the scale.

If you learn how to make chords from this scale you'll know all the chords which belong to the key of C major.

By listening to songs with this knowledge you'll be able to figure out the key of a song quite quickly.

If you find a song is in the key of C major, you will be able to solo over it now, with that C major scale you've got there.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
I suggest you start with major scale, you can choose any fingering shapes which work for you the CAGED or Jimmy Bruno's 5 shapes etc. while playing the scale shape call out the notes this will help you memorize the notes on the fretboard. after you do that do the same but each time call out the scale degree. this should get you started.
Quote by scarhawk
Yeah but that's in the context of the piano, so all the scales are played on one string if I follow exactly what they say. Because I don't know all the scale shapes of course.
Honestly, I think you should absolutely NOT learn the scale shapes first. Learn how the scale works, how it's formulated and put together, THEN once you've mastered that the shapes will be obvious, and you have both skillsets. If you start with the shapes, that allows you to sort of "get away with" not understanding the scale, but that will hurt you in the long run.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Quote by food1010
Honestly, I think you should absolutely NOT learn the scale shapes first. Learn how the scale works, how it's formulated and put together, THEN once you've mastered that the shapes will be obvious, and you have both skillsets. If you start with the shapes, that allows you to sort of "get away with" not understanding the scale, but that will hurt you in the long run.

I see what you're saying and that seems to be the best path to take. So I'm sort of getting the hang of constructing scales.
Is the best way to memorize "Whole Whole Half Whole Whole Whole Half" for constructing the major scales, or is the better way to go about it? And I finally see how knowing the fretboard helps with making the scales lol. Takes me a while to figure what note I'm playing is. I have to resort from counting from open all the way down lol. Gets annoying when you're in 8th position or around there.

EDIT: Also, do I have to memorize the notes of each scale individually? It's not a problem if I have to though.
Last edited by scarhawk at May 12, 2011,
Quote by scarhawk
Is the best way to memorize "Whole Whole Half Whole Whole Whole Half" for constructing the major scales, or is the better way to go about it?
That could work, but I think it's really inefficient. Think about it: If you want the fifth, you have to count W W H W. C D E F G. That's kind of the roundabout way of doing it, because you have to figure out all the notes in between in order to just get that one note. You should learn the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (or R Maj2 Maj3 P4 P5 Maj6 Maj7) intervals. These are a lot more effective, because if you want the fifth note, you'll just know that a P5 from C is G. There's no counting, it's just right there.

Quote by scarhawk
EDIT: Also, do I have to memorize the notes of each scale individually? It's not a problem if I have to though.
Na. You'll eventually get to a point where you can name most scales without having to think about it, just out of repetition. But I wouldn't devote time to simply memorizing the notes, I think it's inefficient and a waste of time.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at May 12, 2011,
Quote by food1010
You should learn the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (or R Maj2 Maj3 P4 P5 Maj6 Maj7) intervals. These are a lot more effective, because if you want the fifth note, you'll just know that a P5 from C is G. There's no counting, it's just right there.

I really don't know what you mean by this. What exactly is a 1234567/R Maj 2 Maj 3 P4 P5 Maj6 Maj7 interval?
Quote by scarhawk
I really don't know what you mean by this. What exactly is a 1234567/R Maj 2 Maj 3 P4 P5 Maj6 Maj7 interval?
Those are just intervals.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 are the "natural" scale degrees, in other words the scale degrees in a major scale. These numbers stand for root, major second, major third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, major sixth, and major seventh.

A major interval with a flat (b) is now a minor interval. Let's take a look at the minor scale:

1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7. 1 2 4 and 5 are all the same as the major scale, so we have root, major second, perfect fourth and perfect fifth. We have flats before the 3, 6, and 7. So now these are the minor third, minor sixth, and minor seventh.

This gives us root, major second, minor third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, minor sixth, minor seventh.

If you flat a minor or perfect interval, it becomes a diminished interval, and if you sharp a major or perfect interval, it becomes an augmented interval.

So bb2, bb3, b4, b5, bb6, and bb7 are all diminished intervals. Most of these are only theoretical (the only ones that are really used commonly are the b5 and bb7).
#2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 are all augmented intervals. #2, #4, and #5 are the most common.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at May 14, 2011,
Ahh ok. I understand it a lot better now.
But about that link you gave me. I don't know what any of this means:

A to A Unison
A to Bb minor 2nd
A to B Major 2nd
A to C minor 3rd
A to C# Major 3rd
A to D Perfect 4th
A to Eb Diminished 5th (Also known as a Flatted 5th)
A to E Perfect 5th
A to F minor 6th
A to F# Major 6th
A to G minor 7th
A to G# Major 7th
A to A Octave

And I don't perfectly understand those perfect and augmented intervals. Can you please clarify.
Thank you very much
Those are what the intervals are called.

Take a look at A to C#. It counts three letter names (A B C), so it's a type of third, and it's a Major third because it's four half-steps instead of three.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
I did a bit of googling to find out what you meant by that lol. And I found out that a major third is always 4 semitones up (which is the same as 4 half steps, or frets, I believe) and a minor third is always 3 semitones. But what about 2nds and 4ths, 6ths, and 7ths. Do they follow the same pattern?
So from A to Bb. I would look at that as A#. And it's a minor because I go one semitone or fret up so therefore it's a minor. But I don't see how "2nd" comes into play. Because that's 1 letter name up, A, right?

I understand most of the major and minors in the context of scales because I know that x degree of a major/minor scale will = y. For example I know that the third degree of the A major scale is C# so therefore the interval is a major third. I'm not sure if that's good to know or not but I felt it was worthy noting lol. But I still don't understand Bb. Because the 2nd degree of the A minor scale is B not Bb.

EDIT 2: I just wanted to say that I know that the intervals are ordered fret by fret. But for B I don't know why they'd say Bb but not A#. That confuses me.
Last edited by scarhawk at May 16, 2011,
Quote by scarhawk
EDIT 2: I just wanted to say that I know that the intervals are ordered fret by fret. But for B I don't know why they'd say Bb but not A#. That confuses me.
It's all about context. Take a scale for example:

C D E F G A B

You could write it C D E E# G A Cb if you wanted, but that doesn't look too nice, does it? So we write C D E F G A B, using each letter name once. Just like the Ab major scale is Ab Bb C Db Eb F G instead of Ab A# C C# D# F G. That just looks miserable.

Plus when you get into the theory of it, the second degree of a scale should, naturally, be some sort of second (so B or Bb in relation to A). Just trust me, it works out more nicely that way.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Oh I see. Thank you very much. You've been very helpful. I'll be sure to come to you if I have any more questions about theory

The last question I have about these intervals is the Perfect-Diminished-Perfect pattern
A to D Perfect 4th
A to Eb Diminished 5th (Also known as a Flatted 5th)
A to E Perfect 5th

Is the D a perfect 4th because there's a normal D in both the minor and major scales of A? How would I remember where the perfect-diminished-perfect pattern is? And why exactly is the pattern there (I'm not altogether sure of the perfects and have no idea about the diminished) and yes I did read your post about diminisheds and perfects but I don't really understand
Last edited by scarhawk at May 17, 2011,
Bump
D is a perfect fourth from A because the distance is 5 semitones.

it may be in both A major and A minor, but that's only coincidence.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Quote by scarhawk
I really don't know what you mean by this. What exactly is a 1234567/R Maj 2 Maj 3 P4 P5 Maj6 Maj7 interval?