#1
I've been trying to nail the CAGED system and linking scales practice and CAGED is useful. I'm also trying to learn how to use chord shapes in the CAGED system, but I don't have my guitar with me, so it's theory time right now.

My main question is: Why do we need different scale shapes down the fretboard, when we can just take the scale and move it to a different key just by moving the original shape.

For instance, take the major pentatonic. You can play it in the first shape and just move it up and down the board and it goes to all keys right? Why do we also have 5 separate shapes to learn it? Obviously I may be able to figure this out by playing and hearing it, but no guitar with me now =(
Last edited by Exodus04 at Sep 14, 2011,
#2
Quote by Exodus04
I've been trying to nail the CAGED system and linking scales practice and CAGED is useful. I'm also trying to learn how to use chord shapes in the CAGED system, but I don't have my guitar with me, so it's theory time right now.

My main question is: Why do we need different scale shapes down the fretboard, when we can just take the scale and move it to a different key just by moving the original shape.


Because you don't want to change to a different key all of the time.
#3
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Because you don't want to change to a different key all of the time.

So how is it different then? Is is just all of the same notes, but in a different pattern?

From my perspective, you could play the G major pent from the first G on the 1st position. Then if you wanted another G you would just go up an octave and do it higher with the same shape. Maybe I'm just missing something that you can't do by just shifting that you can with shapes?

Is it just that it allows you a slightly higher pitched version options, but not a full octave? Maybe I'm confusing myself.
#4
Quote by Exodus04
I've been trying to nail the CAGED system and linking scales practice and CAGED is useful. I'm also trying to learn how to use chord shapes in the CAGED system, but I don't have my guitar with me, so it's theory time right now.

My main question is: Why do we need different scale shapes down the fretboard, when we can just take the scale and move it to a different key just by moving the original shape.

For instance, take the major pentatonic. You can play it in the first shape and just move it up and down the board and it goes to all keys right? Why do we also have 5 separate shapes to learn it? Obviously I may be able to figure this out by playing and hearing it, but no guitar with me now =(


You're too caught up in the whole shapes thing, the shapes are incidental and arise from the locations of notes up and down the fretboard. The notes of the scales occur everywhere on the neck. Obviously as you get higher on the neck you get higher notes and different arrangements of notes in arpeggios and such.

Quote by Exodus04
So how is it different then? Is is just all of the same notes, but in a different pattern?

From my perspective, you could play the G major pent from the first G on the 1st position. Then if you wanted another G you would just go up an octave and do it higher with the same shape. Maybe I'm just missing something that you can't do by just shifting that you can with shapes?

Is it just that it allows you a slightly higher pitched version options, but not a full octave? Maybe I'm confusing myself.


You get smoother transitions between positions, if you want a massive three octave run up the fretboard then you could possibly do it up the two octaves in any one position and then move twelve frets up or you could switch between the positions more smoothly by using the different locations of the notes.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Sep 14, 2011,
#5
Quote by Exodus04
So how is it different then? Is is just all of the same notes, but in a different pattern?


Yes.

A different arrangement of the same notes on the strings will suggest different ways to connect the notes and different licks.

Also, sometimes you don't have time to jump up and down the neck. You might be playing a song where the lead veers from A pentatonic to E pentatonic. Sliding your hand up (or down) the neck takes time, and you might have to look down to make sure you land in the right spot.

On the other hand, if you can just shift box shapes, you can keep your hand where it is and transition much faster.
#6
Quote by HotspurJr
Yes.

A different arrangement of the same notes on the strings will suggest different ways to connect the notes and different licks.

Also, sometimes you don't have time to jump up and down the neck. You might be playing a song where the lead veers from A pentatonic to E pentatonic. Sliding your hand up (or down) the neck takes time, and you might have to look down to make sure you land in the right spot.

On the other hand, if you can just shift box shapes, you can keep your hand where it is and transition much faster.



Can you play any shape, anywhere on the fretboard as well? Right now I know Major Pentatonic in first shape only. I need to learn the other 4 shapes, but my question is can I play any of those 4 other shapes anywhere on the board just like shape 1? It would change keys by shifting it, but other than that it's still the same scale? By the way I found this guide to be pretty good, I'm about half way through: http://www.guitarhabits.com/the-5-pentatonic-scale-shapes-you-must-know/
Last edited by Exodus04 at Sep 14, 2011,
#7
I wish I understood what you Guy's are talking about. I know a few scales but I'm not yet to the point of tying them together so they sound anything like a lead. THey just sound like I'm doing scales in differant locations on the neck.

I know that if I keep practicing and try and learn new and different song's, it will one day all make sense. Until then, I will just sit here, staring at my computer, slack jawed and amazed at your mastery and skill's of the inner workings of a guitar lead.
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#8
Quote by dngrsdave
I wish I understood what you Guy's are talking about. I know a few scales but I'm not yet to the point of tying them together so they sound anything like a lead. THey just sound like I'm doing scales in differant locations on the neck.

I know that if I keep practicing and try and learn new and different song's, it will one day all make sense. Until then, I will just sit here, staring at my computer, slack jawed and amazed at your mastery and skill's of the inner workings of a guitar lead.


I wish I knew it all too I still feel very much like a noob. My technique is still pretty sloppy, but that's because I'm not dedicating time to it every day. I just want to get the key concepts down so that I can jam with some of my buddies one day.
#9
Can you play any shape, anywhere on the fretboard as well? Right now I know Major Pentatonic in first shape only. I need to learn the other 4 shapes, but my question is can I play any of those 4 other shapes anywhere on the board just like shape 1? It would change keys by shifting it, but other than that it's still the same scale? By the way I found this guide to be pretty good, I'm about half way through: http://www.guitarhabits.com/the-5-pentatonic-scale-shapes-you-must-know/
#10
Like Zaphod said, don't fixate so much on the shapes because they're not really what's important - the notes are what matters.

If it's the right notes, it's the right scale - that's what is important, shapes are just incidental.
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#11
Quote by steven seagull
Like Zaphod said, don't fixate so much on the shapes because they're not really what's important - the notes are what matters.

If it's the right notes, it's the right scale - that's what is important, shapes are just incidental.


Right - I understand how it's the notes that matter, but right now in order to improve my playing I need to practice the scales and start to absorb it by feel first. I just need the exposure to playing with the scales rather than knowing every single note when I play it. That will come with time and when I start writing songs and using chord progressions. For now I just want to be able to improve my playing ability and understand the fretboard a little better.

I already understand how intervals work and how to find any note on the fretboard (counting up from the nut using intervals), but I have yet to start writing my own music so I don't necessarily need to know as much about those right now as just being able to play around on the neck and finding things that sound good together all over.

I'm pretty sure the only difference in the shapes is that you don't start on the root note with the other 4 shapes, whereas with shape 1 you do. That's why each one sounds slightly different because they begin and end on different notes, but still within the scale.

I definitely just need more practice using the scales (shapes) and identifying how they work together.

Basically the things I think I need to work on the most are: Learning some more chords, progressions, pentatonic in all keys (which is really the same just moved left or right), Pentatonic in all 5 shapes (just to know how they transition better up and down the fretboard), Major scale and minor scales.
#12
When you change the "shape" of the scale, you actually change the "mode".

For example E Pent (open) starts at low E and theoretically ends at e open on the first string. (In practice it ends @ G) When played in the third position, the E pent begins at G and ends at G. (In practice actually A, 5th fret, high E string).

So, you've gone from the E pent 1st mode, (Ioanian) to the 3rd mode, (the I forget whatchacallit) mode.

You can't have 7 modes in a pentatonic scale, that's where I get confused....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Sep 14, 2011,
#13
Quote by dngrsdave
I wish I understood what you Guy's are talking about. I know a few scales but I'm not yet to the point of tying them together so they sound anything like a lead. THey just sound like I'm doing scales in differant locations on the neck.

I know that if I keep practicing and try and learn new and different song's, it will one day all make sense. Until then, I will just sit here, staring at my computer, slack jawed and amazed at your mastery and skill's of the inner workings of a guitar lead.

Don't worry about it - everyone goes through that phase when they're learning. Then once you get past that phase, you just find new things to be amazed at and want to learn those too.

Like you said in the bit of your quote that I've highlighted - if you keep practicing, one day it will all make sense. The fact that you've realised it doesn't all happen at once is a good thing, each of us goes at a different speed, it sounds like you're prepared to work at it so you'll get there soon enough.
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#14
Quote by Captaincranky
When you change the "shape" of the scale, you actually change the "mode".

For example E Pent (open) starts at low E and theoretically ends at e open on the first string. (In practice it ends @ G) When played in the third position, the E pent begins at G and ends at G. (In practice actually A, 5th fret, high E string).

So, you've gone from the E pent 1st mode, (Ioanian) to the 3rd mode, (the I forget whatchacallit) mode.

You can't have 7 modes in a pentatonic scale, that's where I get confused....


No. No, no, no, no, no.

Shapes and modes have nothing to do with one another, ignore the modes and any discussion of them for now because you don't even understand normal diatonic theory.

If you're playing in E minor and you move up to the third position you're still playing in E minor, it's just a different place on the fretboard, it has nothing to do with modes at all.

What you're playing in has nothing to do with shapes and it doesn't matter what note you start and end on. The scale is determined by the notes that the backing resolve to. If it resolves to E minor then it doesn't matter what you do, you're in E minor.
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#15
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
because you don't even understand normal diatonic theory.
2-2-1-2-2-2-1.....Am I getting warm?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Sep 14, 2011,
#16
Quote by Captaincranky
2-2-1-2-2-2-1.....Am I getting warm?




No.
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#17
Are you sure you do?

Let me see, a Major scale is a diatonic scale. It is formed using the following template of note spacing; (2 = a whole tone, 1 = a half tone) So...2-2-1-2-2-2-1 will get you to any major diatonic scale. Then you form chords based on these notes. Your simple condescending "no" doesn't really even merit as much typing as I've done thus far.

That being said, do you really need all those congratulatory quotes in your sig?

There's quite a few conclusions one might derive from such a behaviour.
#18
Quote by Captaincranky
Are you sure you do?

Let me see, a Major scale is a diatonic scale. It is formed using the following template of note spacing; (2 = a whole tone, 1 = a half tone) So...2-2-1-2-2-2-1 will get you to any major diatonic scale. Then you form chords based on these notes. Your simple condescending "no" doesn't really even merit as much typing as I've done thus far.

That being said, do you really need all those congratulatory quotes in your sig?

There's quite a few conclusions one might derive from such a behaviour.


I'm sure there are but this isn't the thread or technically the right forum for me to educate you about theory. I'm more than well aware of the construction of a standard major scale but as far as diatonic theory goes that's not even taking an atom off the surface, let alone scratching it. Simply knowing a few scales isn't anything like learning theory properly, learning scales is just the beginning.

I could start trying to explain theory to you but since there are a good few very well written articles on this very site I suggest you check those out. "The Crusade" in the columns section is a good starting point.
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#19
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I'm sure there are but this isn't the thread or technically the right forum for me to educate you about theory.

I could start trying to explain theory to you but since there are a good few very well written articles on this very site I suggest you check those out. "The Crusade" in the columns section is a good starting point.
I actually know a bit more than you're giving me credit for. The pseudo-pre-retracted offer of music theory lessons on your part was totally unnecessary. Well, now that I think about it, a trifle pedantic as well.

So let me see if I understand intervals. If I put a capo on my guitar at the third fret, then I should be able to sing Carrie Underwood's, "Inside your Heaven", a sixth down, instead of trying to sing it the full octave down, as would be the case if I tried to play it in the G Major open position as it appears on the record.

And yeah, yeah, about the capo. Oddly, the only people who don't think it's undignified to use one, are the people making a s** pile of money doing so.

BTW, I do intend to finish "The Crusade" article that you linked. Thanks for that. Still in all, it isn't just one revelation after another for me.

Should I add a whole bunch of gratuitous emoticons, or would that just play into your shtick? Signing off for now, 42 and all that.

Quote by Exodus04
For instance, take the major pentatonic. You can play it in the first shape and just move it up and down the board and it goes to all keys right? Why do we also have 5 separate shapes to learn it? Obviously I may be able to figure this out by playing and hearing it, but no guitar with me now =(
If you think about, by learning to play the e minor pentatonic scale at the 3rd position you can go higher, (up to the A), and all the open string values are still available to you. This allows unison drones with open strings, more multi finger positions with 2 or three strings, and also describes different chord inversions. It would of course, be a different "shape" to learn.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Sep 15, 2011,
#20
^ I hate to break it to you, but scale formation and intervals are basically the equivalent of spelling words and remembering the letters of the alphabet. Tonal theory would be about the grammar of words and their meanings, which is obviously a lot more involved.

You really don't want to start bringing modes into discussions on CAGED or scale shapes, because it honestly isn't relevant, and your first post makes it pretty clear that you don't understand that.

There's no reason to get cranky about it, you're taking it too personally.
#21
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I'm sure there are but this isn't the thread or technically the right forum for me to educate you about theory. I'm more than well aware of the construction of a standard major scale but as far as diatonic theory goes that's not even taking an atom off the surface, let alone scratching it. Simply knowing a few scales isn't anything like learning theory properly, learning scales is just the beginning.

I could start trying to explain theory to you but since there are a good few very well written articles on this very site I suggest you check those out. "The Crusade" in the columns section is a good starting point.


Ok going back to me, the topic starter, haha.... I've read through the Crusade. Best theory lessons I've ever read. I read all the way through it, but I probably need to read through it like 2-3 more times to fully comprehend everything in it. I learned so much valuable information by reading that column though. I feel like I'm at a point in my learning where I need to start focusing on playing more than theory because my technique is not where I want it to be. So everyone can stop getting side tracked on their ego's for now

I'm going to practice the Pentatonic in all 5 shapes first, get those down, and practice some transitions between shapes. Once I got that down, what would be the next step for me to improve my technique and muscle memory of the scales? (once again, I'm not really interested in doing the theory to figure out the scales, I just want to learn the scales and then realize that it all equals what my theory has been teaching me, if that makes sense). I really just want to start noodling around on the guitar to create my own sounds, and learning some patterns is the easiest way for me to do that right now.
#22
But learning to play through scale shapes is not specifically going to help your technique, certainly not as much as practicing something that's a bit more useful.

You don't NEED "muscle memory" for scales, because you don't play scales. You create stuff with them, you link the sounds together to create melodies and harmonies but that has sweet fa to do with muscle memory. Far from it, drilling your fingers on running up and down scale shapes is the complete opposite of what you want to be doing. All you're doing is getting your fingers used to mindlessly running through that shape which is ultimately not something you'll ever find yourself doing or wanting to do when you actually play the guitar -you'll rarely find yourself playing more then 3 or 4 notes of a scale sequentially. There are no "transitions between shapes", you simply choose your notes according to what sound you want, what's comfortable and what's convenient. By simply running up and down scale shapes for the sake of it you're not learning anything useful about the scale on a musical or theoretical level, nor are you learning anything particularly practical on a purely technical level -it's just a nothing exercise with no real benefit.

Scales ARE theory, theory IS scales - that's an inescapable fact. If you want to learn scales then you're learning theory and it's nothing to do with technique, if you want to drill technique then there's far more efficient and effective ways of doing so - have a look in the exercises thread.
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#23
Quote by steven seagull
But learning to play through scale shapes is not specifically going to help your technique, certainly not as much as practicing something that's a bit more useful.

You don't NEED "muscle memory" for scales, because you don't play scales. You create stuff with them, you link the sounds together to create melodies and harmonies but that has sweet fa to do with muscle memory. Far from it, drilling your fingers on running up and down scale shapes is the complete opposite of what you want to be doing. All you're doing is getting your fingers used to mindlessly running through that shape which is ultimately not something you'll ever find yourself doing or wanting to do when you actually play the guitar -you'll rarely find yourself playing more then 3 or 4 notes of a scale sequentially. There are no "transitions between shapes", you simply choose your notes according to what sound you want, what's comfortable and what's convenient. By simply running up and down scale shapes for the sake of it you're not learning anything useful about the scale on a musical or theoretical level, nor are you learning anything particularly practical on a purely technical level -it's just a nothing exercise with no real benefit.

Scales ARE theory, theory IS scales - that's an inescapable fact. If you want to learn scales then you're learning theory and it's nothing to do with technique, if you want to drill technique then there's far more efficient and effective ways of doing so - have a look in the exercises thread.


Hmm maybe what I really need then is some practice on playing by ear. I am really terrible at it. The main reason I wanted to learn scales is so that I could learn more about which notes on the guitar sound well together and where they are at (quickly rather than having to figure it out on the fly in my head). I know I can do all the intervals and the "math" to figure out which ones are which manually, but I was hoping for a shortcut because I lose motivation quickly while practicing.

I will check out the exercises thread, but let me know if you have any in particular that would be good for me to learn to grasp and comprehend the fretboard better and lend to my playing.

I still feel like I need to be learning these scales and shapes at least once. Every guitarist on this forum knows how to do them already, that is a competent one. Whether they came to that knowledge by just playing the shapes or by learning the intervals and figuring it out themselves I don't know, but it seems to me that the shapes are popular because they work at helping us remember this stuff easier.
#24
Quote by Exodus04
Hmm maybe what I really need then is some practice on playing by ear. I am really terrible at it. The main reason I wanted to learn scales is so that I could learn more about which notes on the guitar sound well together and where they are at (quickly rather than having to figure it out on the fly in my head). I know I can do all the intervals and the "math" to figure out which ones are which manually, but I was hoping for a shortcut because I lose motivation quickly while practicing.

I will check out the exercises thread, but let me know if you have any in particular that would be good for me to learn to grasp and comprehend the fretboard better and lend to my playing.

I still feel like I need to be learning these scales and shapes at least once. Every guitarist on this forum knows how to do them already, that is a competent one. Whether they came to that knowledge by just playing the shapes or by learning the intervals and figuring it out themselves I don't know, but it seems to me that the shapes are popular because they work at helping us remember this stuff easier.


There's nothing wrong with learning shapes but you do have to realise that they're not the be-all-end-all of playing like some people seem to. You can learn the shapes but you should still know them by ear and have a grasp on the theory, that's the important part. The real point is that until you know the sounds you're using and looking for then the shapes are entirely useless.
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