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#1
After searching, and reading a bunch of old threads, I've noticed your disdain of scales.
I don't know if you read my last thread here https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1504626&highlight=southfl79
but basically i just bought an electric guitar after playing rhythm acoustic for the past 3-4 years. I'd like to get into lead. I don't know where to start. The advice i got on that thread was to start learning others' solos and licks. And also to learn scales. Others' solos and licks is much funner than learning scales so far.

Most of what I have read in various other places points me to start with scales.

I don't mind putting time in, and realize nothing is gonna happen over night. I just don't want to waste time on something that is

"Modes and scales are dumb and useless. Stop learning them. No, seriously."

So I'm curious about your input.

Thanks


If anyone else that want to throw in their thoughts, feel free.
#2
There are these things called personal messages and profile comments that you might want to check out.
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#3
Sorry. I'm new. Mods can delete this if they need to. I thought maybe some other people may benefit from it as well. I apologize for wasting your mouse click.
#4
I'd like to see responses on this one though. I kinda like SouthFL79, listens to advise, ready to stay away from modes, wants to put in work. I do however think you should get the major scale down, all over the fretboard, every key.
#5
Actually, I want to see what he has to say as well.
Quote by korinaflyingv
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#6
what i perceive from his unique point of view is that scales and modes are useless and what i interpret that as (and have noticed myself) is that in the end its about the notes relationships to each other individually, i always joke with my friend and tell'em "man its not about the notes, it's about the space between the notes" because in the end it's kinda what it is. that being said i definitely think beginners benefit by learning scales, you use scales to set a kind of aural foundation of generally very consonant sounds and that helps you learn what kind of works and doesn't work. the more in depth you get into looking at motion within a set scale you see how notes form chords and melodies and how they sound against each other. obviously theres so much more to music than just this but like i said, it's a good foundation for people to start with.
#7
What am I, a whale? Are you calling me fat


Ok but basicallyyyyyy...

Scales are artificial representations of what pitches are possible in any given moment in music. Think of it as a mathematical expression that can fit a particular harmony. What you should take away from this is that we can use it to perceive music after the fact or in planning, but it's next to impossible for the human brain to calculate that kind of math in real time.

So yes, you should learn other people's solos, but really analyze those solos in terms of how they are handling the harmony. No matter what you play, there is a scale to describe the path that you're on, but when you're actually playing, you have to be relying on intuition and your ears.

Here's a more detailed explanation:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=28549841&postcount=3

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#8
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being said i definitely think beginners benefit by learning scales, you use scales to set a kind of aural foundation of generally very consonant sounds and that helps you learn what kind of works and doesn't work. the more in depth you get into looking at motion within a set scale you see how notes form chords and melodies and how they sound against each other. obviously theres so much more to music than just this but like i said, it's a good foundation for people to start with.

The only real benefit of playing scales is gaining physical accuracy and speed. On violin, I have my students play basic scales, not to know scales, but to get them to fine tune their intonation and playing.

But if it comes to improvisation or even writing, it just doesn't make any sense to try to internalize a scale. How many times have we heard this kind of thing "practice E dorian over an E minor chord to hear how it sounds." This is useless. How many pieces of music do you know only stays on one chord the entire time? Music is something that occurs through time. That's how we have to practice. Playing this scale over this chord is like freezing time. So how screwed are you gonna be when time starts back up again?

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Dec 21, 2011,
#9
learn your chord tones, they're your best friend in the entire world.
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#10
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There are these things called personal messages and profile comments that you might want to check out.


You just dont send private messages to demons! you summon them :P

Xiaoxi have you ever heard about Allan Holdsworth´s "Phonebook from hell" ?
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#11
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Xiaoxi have you ever heard about the phonebook from hell from Allan Holdsworth ?

nope

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#12
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nope



Skip to Allan Holdsworth

I like to think of him as your Nemesis.
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#13
Quote by Slashiepie
Skip to Allan Holdsworth

I like to think of him as your Nemesis.

lol I'm sorry, but this kind of thing has already been covered in set theory and serial music. And while Holdsworth may very well be aware of scales, he is someone who has already been very experienced with music. Scales inherently exist in everything that occurs in music.

The difference between his compilation (which isn't really just to point out scales, but how they can be constructed), and your average beginner guitarist is that he's making a very basic concept into something very advanced, and the beginner is overwhelmed by this seemingly very advanced thing that's actually very basic.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#14
Good stuff guys, really. Thanks for explaining it in layman's terms. Even back when i first fumbled around with the pentatonic scale on my acoustic, and after a month or two doing it thought, ok well I learned the first 3 shapes and can play them in A minor.
But wait, now I have to learn it in 6 other keys? And then I hear about these things called modes etc etc??

I see the first thing I need to do is learn the notes on the fretboard and learn the notes in the chords. Then on to chord tones.

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Are you calling me a sailor?
#15
Quote by SouthFL79
I see the first thing I need to do is learn the notes on the fretboard and learn the notes in the chords. Then on to chord tones.

do this
ok well I learned the first 3 shapes and can play them in A minor.
But wait, now I have to learn it in 6 other keys? And then I hear about these things called modes etc etc??

don't do this. no shapes. shapes are bad. modes are bad. learn your keys. learn your notes. learn your circle of fifths and chord theory. then you'll be good.
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#16
Quote by Hail


don't do this. no shapes. shapes are bad. modes are bad.


That's music to my ears. They were driving me crazy anyway.


Quote by Hail


learn your circle of fifths and chord theory. then you'll be good.


Suggestions online besides google?
#17
^ eventually you're going to learn that those chords are derived from the scales you're avoiding and that NOT having that foundation will put you at a real disadvantage.

and shapes are helpful! Being able to visualize a particular scale (or chord, or interval, or arpeggio.....), gives your mind more to work with. That's never a bad thing.


Quote by SouthFL79


I see the first thing I need to do is learn the notes on the fretboard and learn the notes in the chords. Then on to chord tones.




Notes in chords ARE chord tones. And those chord tones are derived from a scale, which can be seen as a shape or pattern on an instrument.

Regardless of what you heard here (and I should point out ONLY here)....

.Learn the Major scale 1st, as it will be a point of reference for everything else you learn theory wise. If you skip this part, you simply won't get the other stuff.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 21, 2011,
#18
Quote by Xiaoxi
Scales inherently exist in everything that occurs in music.

And yet you still suggest people don't learn them.
#19
Quote by z4twenny
And yet you still suggest people don't learn them.

That's like saying we need to learn to breathe.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#20
Quote by Xiaoxi
That's like saying we need to learn to breathe.



breathing is automatic. If it weren't we WOULD need to learn to do it.
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#21
Quote by GuitarMunky


and shapes are helpful! Being able to visualize a particular scale (or chord, or interval, or arpeggio.....), gives your mind more to work with. That's never a bad thing.


no they're not

learn your keys (major "scales" and minor "scales") and the notes within them. saying scale to a guitarist is confining them into a shape of diatonic notes that must be adhered to.

if you learn your triads/chord tones/whatever and can play them over a given progression, you have 4 notes out of 12 to choose from that will work well at different angles of the individual chord. from here, you can learn how to use the other 8 to emphasize, take away from, add tension, help resolve, whatever you want to do in addition to the 4 you have to work with in the beginning. staring at scales, you have 7 to choose from and it's "illogical" to use others when you think in shapes. knowing your intervals and chord tones and how to do what you want to do with them will do everything your shapes can do and then some and still have room to breathe.

yes, you should understand the major scale, but that can be approached on a theory perspective before you tackle it in your playing. people seem to operate with a "play first, learn later" attitude, but right here you should read things on musictheory.net or similar theoretical sites and figure out how to use those 4 notes out of 12 in your playing before you try to throw 7 at yourself at once. understand what it is and how to build it, but place as much emphasis as possible on how you build chords off of it rather than running up and down it. if someone had told me this 4 years ago, i'd be in a much better place musically. ymmv
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#22
Quote by GuitarMunky
breathing is automatic. If it weren't we WOULD need to learn to do it.

Just as breathing is automatic, scales are automatic in music.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#23
Quote by Xiaoxi
Just as breathing is automatic, scales are automatic in music.



scales aren't automatic for people that don't learn them.


Quote by Hail

learn your keys (major "scales" and minor "scales") and the notes within them. saying scale to a guitarist is confining them into a shape of diatonic notes that must be adhered to.


It's a pattern in the 1st place, the shape is just that pattern as it appears on the guitar. It is what it is. There is no confining.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 21, 2011,
#24
Quote by GuitarMunky
scales aren't automatic for people that don't learn them.

I said they were automatic in music, not people.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#25
Quote by Xiaoxi
I said they were automatic in music, not people.


Not in a persons music that didn't learn them.
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#26
Quote by GuitarMunky
Not in a persons music that didn't learn them.


you will find that you're wrong

even if you learn everything by year, you'll end up on a scale eventually, as it's just a pattern of notes

just because the notes make a pattern doesn't mean you can justify using fretboard patterns to lean on because you're incompetent, though
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Last edited by Hail at Dec 21, 2011,
#27
I'm with GuitarMunky on this one. It's only confining if you never push or teach yourself to go outside the pattern. If you use your ear, practice the notes all over the neck, and use your ear you can use the scale as a general outline to help you get an idea. (Yes I said ear twice, important thing there!)

Look at a Neapolitan chord, it is built off a lowered Supertonic or II scale degree that is built as a major (DOES NOT MEAN IT'S MAJOR! [Ex: Bb-D-F] ). Is it diatonic? No. Does it sound good when used correctly? Yes. So think of a scale as a outline, In theory I could use a lowered second and it would sound good. The scale doesn't confine you unless you think it does, and frankly, that's what most guitarist think. "Gotta stay in the scale, then I sound like Vai!". We just need to change our attitude and think "This scale will give me my feeting, and I'll start climbing with one note at a time that is good with this Chord (Or in our mountain climbing metaphor, Cliff.), and in the end when I find all my desired notes that convey my emotion or what I want to express, I'll have climbed to the top successifully and quite well with my ear, logic, basic knowlegde, and my experinces!

Over time all my effort to find my unique playing (climbing) style will help me progress with my improv., ear, and knowledge.

Just don't let that scale be your Master!

EDIT: After getting some sleep and re-reading, my point is more towards Xiaoxi. Just mine invovles scales as an outline and I don't mention chord tones at all. Sorry GuitarMunky
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#28
The thing is those "limitations" are what define things like scales and chords.

For instance the Major scale follows a specific pattern of whole and half steps. if you change the pattern, it's no longer the Major scale. A thing is what it is. Yeah, you could say that's limiting, but at some point you have to get over it.


Quote by Hail
you will find that you're wrong

even if you learn everything by year, you'll end up on a scale eventually, as it's just a pattern of notes



because when you learn by ear, you learn from music which utilizes scales.

That doesn't make me wrong.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 21, 2011,
#29
Quote by GuitarMunky
The thing is those "limitations" are what define things like scales and chords.

For instance the Major scale follows a specific pattern of whole and half steps. if you change the pattern, it's no longer the Major scale. A thing is what it is. Yeah, you could say that's limiting, but at some point you have to get over it.

accidentals are to tonal music as limitations are to modal music


because when you learn by ear, you learn from music which utilizes scales.

That doesn't make me wrong.

it does when you're trying to disprove that scales are an automatic part of basically all music ever
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#30
Hail I wish I had your mental endurance to keep up.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#31
Quote by Hail
accidentals are to tonal music as limitations are to modal music


it does when you're trying to disprove that scales are an automatic part of basically all music ever


What do you mean by automatic? Like does the music write itself?
shred is gaudy music
#32
Quote by SouthFL79
That's music to my ears. They were driving me crazy anyway.
Suggestions online besides google?

I see you like country and rock. Learn your CAGED shapes. Shapes are good. Reinforce your knowledge of these with theory.
#33
Quote by Xiaoxi
lol I'm sorry, but this kind of thing has already been covered in set theory and serial music. And while Holdsworth may very well be aware of scales, he is someone who has already been very experienced with music. Scales inherently exist in everything that occurs in music.

The difference between his compilation (which isn't really just to point out scales, but how they can be constructed), and your average beginner guitarist is that he's making a very basic concept into something very advanced, and the beginner is overwhelmed by this seemingly very advanced thing that's actually very basic.


Thanks for clarifying it
(writing around 15,000 scales down to me is a total overkill anyways)

Ive been working on your approach for the last days and i admit it is pretty gratifying.

However shouldnt a teacher know scales and modes like the back of his hand even if it is only for educational purpouses ?

Or opt for a "imma have to interrupt you but Xiaoxi had one of the best posts of all times" kid **** your phrygian harmonic minor scale shape ?
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#34
Quote by GuitarMunky
What do you mean by automatic? Like does the music write itself?

if you want to word it that way (i wouldn't) then yes
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#35
If you get the major scale down good, I do it in 5 positions, CAGED style, but feel free to use whatever form feels comfortable to you, you'll see that you can find arpeggios and chord tones inside it. I get the feeling most people here are preaching the same thing, just with different names. Nothing bad with shapes imo, you got to learn it the right way though, study pdf's = bad, learn the shape by yourself through theory = good, you will get to the point where it comes naturally our of your fingers.
Last edited by Ulfe at Dec 22, 2011,
#36
Quote by Hail
if you want to word it that way (i wouldn't) then yes


Why don't you just word it how you want then?

and describe the process of how music writes itself.
shred is gaudy music
#37
Quote by GuitarMunky
Why don't you just word it how you want then?

and describe the process of how music writes itself.


people wrote music hundreds of years ago

we listened to it

made more music from it

the next people listen to it

make music off of it, either by deviating from certain conventions or running towards them

this is how music grows and changes over time on the long spectrum

it's a cycle

just because a certain composer may have done more than another, or participated in another field than another doesn't change the cycle

music continually grows (as a whole) due to contributions of the individuals over time, so no individual person causes the growth of music as a whole. to say "music writes itself" is a mislabeling to make me look stupid, but to act like each person is a special little snowflake discredits the musical advancements we've made as a whole over hundreds of years in hundreds of genres.
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#38
Well I'm going to focus on learning the fretboard and the notes that make up chords.
I need to practice my accuracy so I will use scales to do this, however I dont think I will slave over learning as many scales as possible. Maybe the major and minor scale for starters.

I like the varied opinions on this subject, and can respect both sides of this.

I have noticed even from the little bit of messing i did around with the pentatonic scale, I find myself almost "stuck" in those shapes when I try to play around the notes in the chords.
I'd like to get away from that.

On the other hand, when I focus on just hitting chord tones (which is a slow process not knowing the fretboard) I realize sometimes those chord tones fall into those same familiar shapes.
#39
Quote by SouthFL79
Well I'm going to focus on learning the fretboard and the notes that make up chords.
I need to practice my accuracy so I will use scales to do this, however I dont think I will slave over learning as many scales as possible. Maybe the major and minor scale for starters.

for technical mastery, this is probably a good idea

On the other hand, when I focus on just hitting chord tones (which is a slow process not knowing the fretboard) I realize sometimes those chord tones fall into those same familiar shapes.


once you know the 'strength' of each chord tone aurally and how they relate the the tonic of the chord, you can start putting in the other 8/9 notes of the chromatic scale in to whatever effect you might like. add all the techniques possible on guitar and the versatility of rhythm and you can make any sound combination you put your mind to.

this is a good little lesson to consider, aurally and improvisationally. it's for bass, but really made me think about my playing on guitar as well.
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#40
Quote by Hail


this is a good little lesson to consider, aurally and improvisationally.



Good stuff.

I'm guessing those "mistakes" that Wooten talks about are what they refer to as accidentals?
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