#1
I don't think I can express this title properly without posting my example


Lets say you're told "Alright, I want you to do a D [natural] minor scale anywhere you want, go", how would you do it?

1) You know all the notes, you sit there and find out where each note is, then piece it all together one by one (ex: Okay D is fret 10, then E is fret 12...etc)


2) You know the major shape across the board. You hop to D on your 6th string. Assuming E standard, your stretch would go like this:
...
A: 10 - 12 - 14
E: 10 - 12 - 14
Now that you know the major scale intervals, you remember that it has a flat 3rd, flat 6th, flat 7th.
You take the third note and drop it down by one giving you
A: 10 - 12 - 14
E: 10 - 12 - 13
And then do the same for the 6th and 7th


3) Other?


Which one of these numbers would you use to create a scale off the top of your head? How do you do it?

I'm able to find any note I want on the board in about 5-6 seconds using memory markers and stuff, but it sucks because then it takes me like 30 minutes to construct a scale. Hyperbole aside, the only time I can get a scale going is because I know the "CAGED" shape from just pure repetition.
Does that mean I should be able to just pick a note on the guitar and know what note it is?
How would you handle that? (or rather: how do you handle that if you can handle it)
#2
You just need to practice more dude, over time you'll think less about the actual construction of the scales and just play them. In D minor, those notes and positions will always remain right where they are on the fretboard. Once you know them back to front, then you will not think about construction. It necessary to know how it works, but it's the theory behind applying, rather than the actual application itself.

And just for your info (FYI sounds arrogant), you don't usually come across a position where somebody says "play the D minor scale" except in an exam situation. Instead you recognise that a song is in the key of D minor, so you know that you can use the D minor scale to improvise over it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
You're overcomplicating it way too much. To play a scale in any given key, the easiest way is to remember the scale shape and then start on the root, so for example if you were asked to play A minor pentatonic, you'd play exactly the same shape as you would in E minor but you'd start at the 5th fret rather than the 12th
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#4
i think a lot of players just feel it out. like personally i just get a feel for the song and its like second nature to know what key its in and i just go from there, i don't actually think ok this song is in the key of b minor so i'm gonna play this scale into this arpeggio unless i'm going for a really neoclassical sound with sweeps and everything. also i don't think in terms of notes but intervals and numbers instead, that kind of thinking helps if you play in a lot of different tunings like me.
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#5
i know the formula is 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7
i know that it is diatonic to the key of F (containing all natural notes except 1 flat)
i know the solfege syllables for it (La, ti, do re, mi, fa, sol)
I've practiced it in 1, 2 and 3 octave fingerings, using anywhere between 1 and 6 strings.
i know where the notes sit on the fretboard.
Does that mean I should be able to just pick a note on the guitar and know what note it is?
How would you handle that? (or rather: how do you handle that if you can handle it)

yes. i handled it by learning to read, by making a bigger effort to think about the notes I play when I'm playing, and by practicing single string scales.

EDIT:
and i know what it sounds like.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
Last edited by tehREALcaptain at May 9, 2011,
#6
I just... know. I can't play my D Major up two octaves, but once I get improvising I'll figure everything out. I end up thinking about a string in terms of a mode. Usually it's either the A or E strings, cause I now those best, and once I have that all figured out I just use octaves to figure out the other strings.

It just... happens I play and it gets there.
#7
I believe you should just try memorizing the shapes for all the modes or scales that you need (for example, E major and E minor), then simply moving your hand up or down the neck until you get to the root of the scale you want (10th fret for D; you would use the shape of an E scale, but be using 10th fret instead of open). Nobody is expected to know a note by ear, although it is very helpful if not necessary to have a feel what frets are where.
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#8
One of the great things about improvising is that if you hit a wrong note, you can just hold it then shift it up or down a semitone and you'll be back in the scale. If you practice this enough, it'll sound like it was on purpose and boom, you're now artistic.

Edit: And for now I think you should just focus on the major and minor scales instead of modes.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#9
Since you are asking this in Music Talk I imagine you might want to know a bit about the notes as well.

D minor is the relative minor of F major -- if you know your cycle of 5ths (you do know your cycle of 5ths, right?) there is exactly one flat in D minor -- Bb.

So the notes are D E F G A Bb C.

So where can you play that on the beck? Anywhere you can find those notes -- I believe an important part of learning guitar and music is to learn the fretboard as well as you can. This means knowing what notes you are playing, knowing the relationship between those notes, having a good sense of the sound of those relationships and, finally, seeing and knowing by muscle memory where to play the major and 3 minor scales all over the neck and how to construct chords by understanding their function within the scales they relate to.

Fortunately you don't have to sit down and memorize all the places you can play a Bb on the fretboard before you can start playing songs and improvising. But you always spend a little time analyzing what you are playing and increasing your knowledge.

I have a quick and simple video about learning the natural notes on the fretboard that seems to help some folks : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci6aTve_fAU ... perhaps the next time you are riffing over a scale you can stop and say, "Oh -- I know all the notes in this scale because I know the notes under my fingers." It can't hurt. It can be helpful.

Also -- the CAGED system is very practical and very effective in getting the diatonic scale under your fingers in every key in many positions.

Cheers!
#10
Know your stuff really. There's a lot of ways to do it, as others have said.

As for me, I know the entire neck, I know all chords, all keys and all the notes on the neck, and I know all my scales, arps, chord tones, etc. I suppose you could say I know my shapes, in the same way that I acknowledge the entire neck, and where the notes are.

Sean
#11
you think too much in shapes and scales...as far as I read out of your post....

What was your goal with this post.

learn the notes. then learn the notes which are in d-minor e.g. and then look at the shapes.

for any key use a shape...or just remember the notes....


My status is:
Tell me a key. I look for the notes it contains and I play the frets...
I will usely start on the root. as the shapes of minor and major are visual from there and then head for notes of the next chords....

the rest is: I jump to any note, that I know is inside the scale....
and let creativity work!!!!
depending on a conservative playing view I uses this always....
for jazz you have to be more free...


Did I hit his/your point.?!?!...hope it was useful
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IF YOU READ 'H' I MEAN 'B'

GERMAN H = AMERICAN B

#13
Awesome responses in this thread.


I know all the common diatonic shapes like the back of my hand, but the reason I ask is that I saw Chris Broderick going through his "This is a 2nd inversion tetra-octa-tonic sub-phrygian dominant arpeggio leading into an F# diminished lydian root 94". I know that makes no sense, but the thing I was trying to get across there is he seems to just whip it out of mid-air like he knows it so perfectly and fluently. He knows where each note is and seems to construct chords on the fly.

I don't need that to play music, but some part of me just wants to be able to do that.

Maybe he just played so much that he knows [literally] all the shapes?
That seems to be the general consensus from this thread [and it worked, at least for me]
#15
Despite my many ramblings on patterns. I actually still believe playing more by ear and instinct gives a much better sound. However it helps to know the notes within a given scale. If you know your fretboard then it is easy if you dont well.....

Another way is to learn patterns and then transpose them as and when you want. This helps you learn quickly playable movements but in itself is purely an exercise the soul of music comes from the player.

For Dm you could break it up into tabable patterns or just get a quick visual. this image might be helpfull. Just keep in mind you should know your fretboard already but sometimes it helps to refresh your memory. Do it for any new scale if it helps. But TBH you should not need something like this. If you want to pull it out of thin air you need to know it intimately to begin with.

#16
What you should probably do is learn a scale system. There is this system that I use called the C A G E D system, where the entire fretboard is seen as essentially a giant pattern. All scale modes can be approached with this system, and the system can be used with many types of scales from blues to three on a string. This website will show you an example as to how this system works- http://www.cagedguitarsystem.net/.
#18
Quote by AtomicBirdy
Maybe he just played so much that he knows [literally] all the shapes?

well I wouldn't say he knows all the shapes, I'd say he knows all the notes on the fretboard, this allows him to use whatever notes he wants in any combination.

he can say look I'm gonna use the notes A B C D# E F F# G A and here is every one of them on the fret board, then show you where everysingle one of those notes are in every spot on his fretboard. then someone can say well how about Bb C D# E F Gb and A, then he can do that. it's much easier than remembering shapes cuz there is really only 22-24 frets and 6-8 strings (well in most situations) plus you only need to memorize up to the 12th fret since it just repeats again after that.

so on an average 22 fret six string guitar you only have 72 things to remember, if you think in terms of patterns there is 7 for major and natural minor then another 7 for harmonic minor plus 7 more for melodic minor then there are 5 for major/minor pentatonics then there are 6 for blues scales so far thats 32 patterns, now you need to realize that everytime you run into a new scale such as bebop or hungarian minor or anything else you need to memorize more patterns, if you know where all the notes are you only need to memorize the notes in the scale....
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#19
Quote by tehREALcaptain
EDIT:
and i know what it sounds like.
I think this is probably the most overlooked advice on the topic. The more you play a scale, the more you internalize it. Once you get to a point, you don't just think, "I'm going to play the D major scale here," you just hear notes internally and play them.

Quote by DiminishedFifth
I just... know. I can't play my D Major up two octaves, but once I get improvising I'll figure everything out. I end up thinking about a string in terms of a mode. Usually it's either the A or E strings, cause I now those best, and once I have that all figured out I just use octaves to figure out the other strings.

It just... happens I play and it gets there.
Yep. Even musicians (and by that I mean practiced musicians) who have never learned a scale in their life will usually play a major/minor/blues scale or something simply out of instinct. Basically, they just play what they hear, and correct it if it's not what they hear.

Of course, I think you're talking more about naming/identifying the scales AFTER you've played/heard/seen them. This is all about just knowing your theory and (/or) training your ear.

What I do is I take the notes, find the root (usually just by ear, unless I know the key already), and then figure out the intervals, applying that to a name that I'm familiar with from years of studying theory and playing music.

For example, if I heard C D E F G A B, I would (if it's in the key of C) hear and/or deduce C as the root, then think 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (the intervals from the root). From that, I know that it's the C major scale.

As for all the modes and stuff, I think it's more accurate to just say "C major with a b7" than "C mixolydian," unless the harmony suggests modality rather than tonality.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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Last edited by food1010 at May 11, 2011,
#20
Lets say you're told "Alright, I want you to do a D [natural] minor scale anywhere you want, go", how would you do it?

1) You know all the notes, you sit there and find out where each note is, then piece it all together one by one (ex: Okay D is fret 10, then E is fret 12...etc)


2) You know the major shape across the board. You hop to D on your 6th string. Assuming E standard, your stretch would go like this:
...
A: 10 - 12 - 14
E: 10 - 12 - 14
Now that you know the major scale intervals, you remember that it has a flat 3rd, flat 6th, flat 7th.
You take the third note and drop it down by one giving you
A: 10 - 12 - 14
E: 10 - 12 - 13
And then do the same for the 6th and 7th


3) Other?


1, 2 and 3. The more methods you have for finding the notes you want the better, providing you're actually good at them.

In my case number 3 consists of knowing all the interval shapes from any given root, and knowing the intervals within the scale.

And obviously, #4 - I know what it sounds like.


Which one of these numbers would you use to create a scale off the top of your head? How do you do it?


Well, you can "create a scale" quite easily.

Pick notes.

Sorted.

If you mean "How do I choose the notes I want for the sound I want and find them on the guitar?" then you're talking about the following steps -

1. I imagine the notes I want to hear.
2. I use my ear and fingerboard knowledge to find them on my instrument.

Work on step 1 and step 2 until you are imagining cool solos and playing them without screwing up.
#21
i do it by knowing my intervals really well. if my root is here then my fifth is there my 3rd is over there etc.
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#22
Put simply, the best way for you to construct a scale on guitar is to learn the fret board.

When you're first starting out, learning patterns is the best way to go about it.

For example, here are two patterns in two octaves that you can play a G Major scale:

Ex. 1:

E||--------------------------|
B||--------------------------|
G||--------------------------|
D||--------------------4--5--|
A||-----------3--5--7--------|
E||--3--5--7-----------------|


Ex. 2:

E||-----------------------3--|
B||-----------------5--7-----|
G||--------4--5--7-----------|
D||--5--7--------------------|
A||--------------------------|
E||--------------------------|


At first, you practice the pattern, and become accustomed to playing it. Then you start improvising within the pattern. This is a great way to start off because it has the initial benefits of: improving your technique, teaching you the sound of the scale, and giving you something that you can apply to guitar solos.

There are numerous patterns one can learn, but once you know them, it is simply a matter of shifting the position of your root note in order to play that scale in a different key. For example, to play an A Major scale, simply play the pattern in Ex. 1 beginning on the fifth fret of the E string, rather than the third.

Again, this is a great way to start off, but it is extraordinarily limiting over time. As you're playing these patterns, take note of, well, the notes. Make a mental note as you play: "okay, third fret of the E string is a G, fifth fret is an A, seventh is a B..." and, being that you know your theory, you can quickly deduce that the eighth fret is a C, and the tenth is a D, and the twelfth is back to E (the octave). You also know the frets in between are the sharps and the flats.

Knowing intervals, once you have a decent idea of where to find notes on the fret board, you'll also be able to find intervals across strings.

Ex. 3:

       P5      P4     Octave
E||--------|--------|--------||
B||--------|--------|--------||
G||--------|--------|--------||
D||--------|--------|-----5--||
A||-----5--|-----3--|--------||
E||--3-----|--3-----|--3-----||


With regular practice you will be able to construct any scale that you want on the guitar, because you know where the notes are, and you don't have to research patterns, because you can make your own.

This also gives you a lot more freedom in your guitar solos, particularly when improvising. Because you can then move comfortably in and out of patterns to try new licks, riffs, and melodies, and most importantly, combine scales for a more interesting and unique sound.

Hopefully this is helpful to someone.

-A
Last edited by Mud Martian at May 14, 2011,