#1
Hi All,

Ive just been looking into learning scales recently and ive found myself going round in circles trying to understand them.

Playing them is no problem at all, but its more the theory side that im struggling to get to grips with.

Ive learned the Major Scale, and just wondered does it have to be played in certain keys, or can i play this on any key at all, im not sure if there is some kind of musical rule to this or not.

Its the same with the Pentatonic scale, I know this has to be played in 5 keys (for what ive read), but is it only restricted to those keys?

And what are modes?

Myabe im just getting it all wrong, but i just want to understand the whole concept behind it so i can graps it then move on, its just a long, painful and unpleasant learning curve.

Are there any scales that I should start out with, i normally play rock music.

Im just at a loss here, and going knowhere fast ;-(

Davie
#2
you can play them in any key, there are 5 positions not keys. Each position is a different place you can play the scale in the same key on the fretboard.

Dont worry about modes. Learn how to construct the major and minor scales and understand how they relate to each other.
#3
Ok, so im getting mixed up between positions and keys then.....

So lets say I play the pentatonic scale, the 5 positions basicly mean that there are 5 different variations of that particular scale and I can play those in any key at all?

Sorry for my supidity it is probably so obvious to you guys.......
#4
What makes a scale is not what notes are played, but the difference between one note and the next. Major scales have seven different notes then repeat the first note in an octave higher. Pentatonics have five and repeat the first note, again as an octave. You can start on any note and as long as you follow the correct intervals it's a certain scale. The intervals for MOST not ALL scales will be whole or half notes. Half notes would be one fret up, whole are two.

Major:
w-w-h-w-w-w-h

Minor:
w-h-w-w-h-w-w

Some scales like the pentatonic don't have seven notes so the intervals must be in excess of a whole step. In this example 1.5 mean one whole note and one half note added. On the guitar it's three frets up.
Pentatonic:
1.5-w-w-1.5-w

Just get this for now. Modes come MUCH later.
#5
*5 positions in the CAGED system*

Look up the caged system dude, to put it quickly if you know your roots on the 6th and 5th string you'll be able to get it (with the exception on the D position, which is root 4th string)

There is a CAGED system for all scales (Major, harmonic, melodic minor, blues, diminished, ect.)
You have to memorize 5 positions, and they move all around the finger board to fit all twelve keys, learn it, its very simple

There are also other systems, for example Levitt (berkley) have 12 positions

*yes to answer you question, 5 positions that can play in any key as long as you start and end on the root of that particular key and are playing the right position*

http://www.guitartools.co.uk/lessons/theory/the-caged-method-of-learning-the-fretboard
^This is just one of hundreds out there on the internet
Last edited by sar8777 at Jun 7, 2011,
#6
there is only one variation of each scale, a major scale is always tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone( search semitone in wikipedia if you dont now what it is)

positions are just how they are played on the guitar, you need to learn where the root notes are in the scale then youll see the pattern and it will start making more sense

a pentatonic scale is a major or minor with certain notes omitted, the 4 and 7 for major, and 2 and 6 for minor
#7
the pentatonics have 5 box like positions, which you move around the fretboard.

Example : 5th fret, Low E String is the note A... Its also the starting point for the A Minor Pentatonic scales first position...

So if we move up to the 7th fret, now, its the note G, and this can be used as the start position for the G Minor pentatonic scale. This is an example of how you can take the same first shape, but apply it to a different key.

Memorise the 5 shapes of the Minor Pentatonic scale in the key of A (starting fret is the 5th), as you can find on www.justinguitar.com and then learn to move it across each key (a, b c d e f g).

Any help?
Dom, look... I Caught a PWOPER fish
#8
Try this, look up a backing track. Preferably in major, you can find them all over youtube. Try playing the 5 positions in that key. Say its a C major backing track, use the 5 variations. Notice that they all work. Because its still the C major scale, you just started on a different note. Now, if you change the position of these variations, youll get different keys. Move the C major scale up two frets, and youll have D major.

The pentatonic is what the name implies. Penta meaning 5, and tonic meaning notes. its a 5 note scale. If you are playing Cmaj pentatonic, you are playing the C major scale, but you arent using 2 notes. Not sure if thats what you were asking
Schecter C-1 Classic in Seethru blue <333
Schecter Damien FR
Roland AC-60 acoustic amp
Boss GE-7 EQ
Line6 Ubermetal Distortion
Sigma Dx Acoustic
#9
while we are talking about scales i have a question (prolly a noob question) but can someone explain this (not the scale in particular but how to read these types of diagrams)

do i just play each note it shows and move down or up to each string for practice and learning the scales?

and the black dots indicate the root note (which would be the C in this case) right?


Last edited by ampoverload at Jun 7, 2011,
#10
the pentatonic scale is built up of 5 notes that sound good together

for example the below is the e minor pentatonic scale which is made up of e, g, a, b and d

http://www.theorylessons.com/pent002positions.php

you will notice that this has been split up into 5 positions which all fit together however these positions are only there to help you navigate the fretboard

if you wanted to play the f minor pentatonic scale you would just move everything one fret to the right

or to think of it theoretically you would raise every note one semitone higher so it would be f, g sharp, a sharp, C and d sharp

basically one semitone is the note one fret up from the original not for example one semitone up from g is g sharp and one semitone up from b is C

then a tone is two semitones so 2 frets up for example one tome up from d is e and one tone up from b is c sharp

this is the same for all scales for example what you have probably learnt as the major scale is this

http://guitar.about.com/od/specificlessons/ss/major_scale_pos.htm

this is in f sharp and the f sharp major scale consists of the root note which is f sharp

root-tone-tone-semi tone-tone-tone-tone-semi tone

or in this case

f sharp, g sharp,A sharp,B,C sharp, D sharp, F and then back to F sharp again

again if you want to change the key then you would move it up to g you would move it all one fret or one semitone

and this applies all up the neck

i have just read the above messages that were not there when i started writing this but i am going to post it anyway because i put the time in to write it

i believe this is all accurate but this is just my understanding of it
#11
Quote by thrasher_1972
Hi All,

Ive just been looking into learning scales recently and ive found myself going round in circles trying to understand them.

Playing them is no problem at all, but its more the theory side that im struggling to get to grips with.

Ive learned the Major Scale, and just wondered does it have to be played in certain keys, or can i play this on any key at all, im not sure if there is some kind of musical rule to this or not.

Its the same with the Pentatonic scale, I know this has to be played in 5 keys (for what ive read), but is it only restricted to those keys?

And what are modes?

Myabe im just getting it all wrong, but i just want to understand the whole concept behind it so i can graps it then move on, its just a long, painful and unpleasant learning curve.

Are there any scales that I should start out with, i normally play rock music.

Im just at a loss here, and going knowhere fast ;-(

Davie


The major scale can be played in any key. A, A#, B, C, C# blah blah to G, G#

The intervals remain the same. C major: C D E F G A B C
So: C to D, 2 semitones
D to E, 2 semitones
E to F, 1 semitone
F to G 2 semitones
G to A 2 semitones
A to B 2 semitones
B to C 1 semitone

If you apply this to another key such as A for example, the interval remain the same. The A major is as follows: A B C# D E F# G# A

K?

Now pentatonics, You can also play them in any key it doesn't matter. I'll do the minor pentatonic as it's pretty much the first scale you would have learnt.
In C Major the notes are: C Eb F G Bb

So 1 b3 4 5 b7 of the major scale make up your pentatonic. yeah???


Worry about modes after you have consolidated this knowledge. It's basically starting a different note of the major scale and applying that set of intervals, but don't worry yet.
You want some more seeneyj hate? WELL YOU CAN'T HAVE IT

You're all a bunch of f*cking slaves! - Jim Morrison

UG Awards
1st: Biggest Ego
1st: Most Likely To Become Famous
1st: Most Pretentious User
#12
Quote by thrasher_1972
Hi All,

Ive just been looking into learning scales recently and ive found myself going round in circles trying to understand them.

Playing them is no problem at all, but its more the theory side that im struggling to get to grips with.

Ive learned the Major Scale, and just wondered does it have to be played in certain keys, or can i play this on any key at all, im not sure if there is some kind of musical rule to this or not.

Its the same with the Pentatonic scale, I know this has to be played in 5 keys (for what ive read), but is it only restricted to those keys?

And what are modes?

Myabe im just getting it all wrong, but i just want to understand the whole concept behind it so i can graps it then move on, its just a long, painful and unpleasant learning curve.

Are there any scales that I should start out with, i normally play rock music.

Im just at a loss here, and going knowhere fast ;-(

Davie


What options are on the table?

Private lessons?
Paid Online Theory Lessons?
Free and easy to find articles online that clearly explain everything that will make it easy for the self-taught?

If I can help you, I will, but it would help to understand what's on the table, because answering these questions, are well beyond the scope of a forum post. You're right, learning this stuff is very hard, and if you're looking on the internet as well as here, then you already know what I'm talking about.

Best,

Sean
#13
Thanks for all those replies!!

Ok........well im only in the early stages of actually learning the notes on the guitar, and i now realise how important it is to learn these as far as scales go, so ill continue to work on that, ive not done to bad so far, im just excluded the sharps and flats for justow and concentrated on the full notes first, and when i have that down pretty well ill fill in the blanks. I do have a couple of questions about that, but thats for another time i wont over confuse myself!!

For the time being, Ill put the pentatonic scales toone side and focus entirely on the Major Scale and learning the notes on the fretboard, thats the best way forme to go justnow until i have that under my belt, too much too soon isnt a clever idea.

Most things made sense, some were over my head but now i understand there is a pattern to at all, and its becoming a bit clearer for me.

Im grasping the idea of the full and semi tones, ive actually learned a great deal of you guys in one night so thanks everyone!!

Sean0913:

As much as i would love that kind of guidance, unfortunately private lessons arent affordable for me at this time, but just a basic guide might be enough to get me going.