#1
A quick background, I've taught myself pretty much everything I know on guitar over the past 4 years or so. This being, the only thing I ever learned was how to be a good rhythm guitarist. If it involves strictly chords, I can learn it, to an extent.

When it comes to anything that involves scales, (or solos of any kind) I couldn't pick the song (no pun intended) if my life depended on it. This being so, I want to learn scales, and thus relating material. However, I know very little music theory. I didn't read music when I was playing an instrument other than guitar, so about the only thing I could tell you is the notes that are used in music. If you give me a minute or two, I could name each fret on the guitar.

While I look for an absolute beginner lesson on scales, I either get overwhelmed by the information or lost within the first few paragraphs. Can anyone either direct me toward a specific lesson here on UG, or give me somewhere to start?

TL;DR: -Absolute- Beginner lesson on scales and the like.
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#2
Get started with learning music theory so you view the scales as notes and intervals rather than just shapes and patterns on the fretboard. I'd recommend a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, but you can probably find some good lessons online. Also, make an effort to know all the notes on the neck quickly, so you can play any scale from any position.

That being said, make sure you also take whatever scales you're learning and try to improvise or write music with them. This will take them out of the context of being "just scales" and help you actually create music; remember that you don't learn scales for the sake of playing scales, you learn scales to help you make music.
#3
Quote by :-D
Get started with learning music theory so you view the scales as notes and intervals rather than just shapes and patterns on the fretboard. I'd recommend a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, but you can probably find some good lessons online. Also, make an effort to know all the notes on the neck quickly, so you can play any scale from any position.

That being said, make sure you also take whatever scales you're learning and try to improvise or write music with them. This will take them out of the context of being "just scales" and help you actually create music; remember that you don't learn scales for the sake of playing scales, you learn scales to help you make music.


This. If you view scales as shapes rather than a group of notes put together in intervals you will always just be running up and down scales rather than being innovative and making good music. Always make use of the scales you learn, for example, spend 10% of your time improvising rhythm (start with power chords) and 35% of your time improvising solos and writing phrases/songs licks. This will help you memorize the notes singularly better rather than only in positions.
#4
Okay, I'm looking into getting the Music Theory book. As far as learning the notes quickly, would having something like this as I practice, saying the note name as I fret it help? I really want to put something like the 21 day practice into effect (practice something slowly, precisely for 21 days is said to imprint muscle memory), be it with scales or a song or otherwise. Would doing this with scales at a slow beat on a metronome be of help or harm?
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#6
Quote by Phoenyx
Okay, I'm looking into getting the Music Theory book. As far as learning the notes quickly, would having something like this as I practice, saying the note name as I fret it help? I really want to put something like the 21 day practice into effect (practice something slowly, precisely for 21 days is said to imprint muscle memory), be it with scales or a song or otherwise. Would doing this with scales at a slow beat on a metronome be of help or harm?

Something like that link may be a useful reference on occasion, but in general it's more about simply getting more familiar with the neck. What a teacher of mine used to do with students brand new to the instrument is have them learn the notes horizontally rather than vertically; one string at a time instead of going across strings as guitarists generally do. He would give the students sight reading exercises for one string, but if you want to simply use your knowledge of intervals (after reading up on some theory) to work out the notes that's fine as well. Just think, if you get all the notes on your high E string down, you've got 1/3 of the notes across your guitar. It seems much more daunting than it really is. When I started out, I'd even just quiz myself randomly, thinking something like "what note is on the D string, 6th fret" (you can answer this if you want ). Much like anything, consistent repetition will lead to retention.

Also, I usually use the 21-day approach with a particularly complex song or solo since it's more about muscle memory and programming proper movements into your hands. I don't think that'd be necessary with scales; just start learning the theory and applying it to the instrument.
#7
Just fyi, if you can already name each note on the fretboard you are halfway there.

They teach that stuff in top dollar music schools. I imagine you will understand theory much better than most because of that.

I dont know alot about theory but I do everything I just based from the major scale. Learn that and learn it well in every key/position.

All the rest is tweaking certain notes
Reverbnation.com/offthewitness
#8
If you get the free ebook from next level guitar online, they have a chart showing a fretboard and the notes. It also shows you how to find the notes on the neck by following a system. High e low E same notes throughout, fifth fret low E is an A, seventh fret D string is also an A. this repeats all the way down. The A and G strings do the same. I use this and knowing where thr root note is when im in a pentatonic scale. I found it very useful.
#9
Cool. I appreciate all the help. :3 I can get the aforementioned music book from my library, so I'm going to do that and work through it.

I've already started on working on knowing the names, so.. it's good work until I get the book. I appreciate you all helping me know where to start with music theory.
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#10
I thought of one other thing, though (which probably sounds dumb, I just want to be sure).

I can apply scales to a bass guitar, can't I? I mean, I get that there are a lot of differences, considering I'm only playing a four string bass, but should I focus on guitar alone or can I practice scales and apply what I learn to bass also?
Fender Squier Strat
Fender Frontman 212R
Digitech RP90.
Unknown brand of my bass.
#12
in addition to the above, a good (technical) way to start working in scales is to learn some hendrix and similar guitarists - mixing the leads with the rhythms. the chordal parts aren't too hard, the lead parts aren't too hard, but putting them together will push you to understand clever note choice and will overall help you bridge the gap that everyone wants to make between 'rhythm' and 'lead'.

as for bass, learning your chord intervals (1st, major/minor 3rd, 5th, major/minor 7th) and learning to introduce rhythm and accidentals/chromatics to account for a progression will really help you 'get it' on guitar and will put you ahead of a lot of bassists who pound root notes. i picked up bass just running exercises to get finger strength up and applying rudimentary theory, and within 3 months i was the cat's pajama's
modes are a social construct
Last edited by Hail at Dec 2, 2011,