#1
So I've been learning several scales, forwards, backwards even inverted... Now my questions are:

1. Just how important is it, learning all these scales?
2. Does one have to learn them all and practice playing them all in order to become a great guitarist who can play solos and include techniques like sweeping and/or others?
3. Do legendary guitarists even know all of these chords?

4. So there several different type of scales from Minor to Phrygian...
If they are not all so crucial, then which ones should be learned and which ones can be left alone?
#2
It is crucial,

know these all and you can improvise on any song just like my teacher o_O

I would learn it if I were you Most solos use scales. I found that out right after I was using scales. Fade to Black i.e. (last solo) uses these scales, you can see it very clearly.
#3
Theoretical physicists and theoretical musicians don't contribute to the economy lol.
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#5
don't bother with modes or scales at all

they're all bullshit

BULLSHIT
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#6
Quote by KelbeyW
It is crucial,

know these all and you can improvise on any song just like my teacher o_O

I would learn it if I were you Most solos use scales. I found that out right after I was using scales. Fade to Black i.e. (last solo) uses these scales, you can see it very clearly.



Thanks and I know most solos are based on scales... There are so so many variations of scales that I thought once you've got the ear for the guitar.. So I mean when you can hear what notes would best follow the current sound then you can also improvise weather or not you use a scale which you've already learned... Or does that not work that way???
#8
Quote by Devilish Dave

1. Just how important is it, learning all these scales?
2. Does one have to learn them all and practice playing them all in order to become a great guitarist who can play solos and include techniques like sweeping and/or others?
3. Do legendary guitarists even know all of these chords?

4. So there several different type of scales from Minor to Phrygian...
If they are not all so crucial, then which ones should be learned and which ones can be left alone?


1. It depends what you want to do with guitar. However it is not imperative to a lot of applications of the instrument.

2. Learning scales won't help you sweep pick, only pick which notes to do it with. And it depends on what your definition of 'great guitarist' is.

3. Some do, some don't.

4. They all fit better into different styles of music. So depending on what you play, it may be more important to learn some more than others.

EDIT:
So I mean when you can hear what notes would best follow the current sound then you can also improvise weather or not you use a scale which you've already learned... Or does that not work that way???


In my experience that is exactly how it works, and is often a better way of writing music than trying to hash it out from a scale you know. If you hear the next note in your head, so will your audience, so go there. This may mean working outside of any scales you know, but will ultimately mean you write more relatable solos.
Last edited by willT08 at Mar 5, 2012,
#9
It's better to learn why the different modes and scales exist, rather than just memorizing all the shapes. Just getting a basic grasp of theory will help your improv and song writing immensely, as well as allow you to convey ideas effectively to other musicians of all instruments.
#10
Quote by laid-to-waste
don't bother with modes or scales at all

they're all bullshit

BULLSHIT

This, so much this.
#11
Don't learn modes unless you know the mechanics behind them. Otherwise, you need a few scales to start out with. Major, minor (technically a mode), and the major and minor pentatonics. I think that's all you need to be a functioning guitarist. Trying to learn a shit-ton of scales all at once won't get you anywhere and knowing the scales doesn't mean you can apply them.
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#13
Learn what you want to play and think sounds good. Shredders and technical prodigies are boring.
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#15
The best thing to do is drop your pants and batter the fretboard with your penis, which should also be on fire.
#17
They are nice to know. It helps when you are writing a song, or improvising.

Some genres demand particular scales in order to make up the genre, or to provide the notes to form the chords with.

You don't nessecarily need them if you are just a small-time acoustic player who plays nothing but chords, but you will run into them eventually anyway. Why bother waiting ? Learn them now, saves you time in the future.
#18
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#20
Inb4 Xioaxi.
Or however you spell his name.
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#21
Quote by skylerjames13
Inb4 Xioaxi.
Or however you spell his name.


He probably is the only one that deserves to post in this thread.
#22
They're quite important. I noticed I have less problems coming up with new licks after I learned a few scales and arpeggios.
Not sure if a sig is a necessity.
#23
Here's a useful lesson regarding scales, especially for guitar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkaqfgSqtHg

Own the scale, don't let it own you. Scales are not a bunch of rules set in stone that you must obey. They are a roadmap of the musical universe. While learning them can help you find your way around, scales alone will not make you a better musician.
#24
Ok so I've been getting this kinda question through private messages a lot, so I'm just gonna copy and paste my standard answer here:


Hey dude

Don't get me wrong, I used to be all about scales/modes. I can name any scale you throw at me, but I'd end up with shitty music similar to what our brilliant friend go0ber was getting at. I realized that in the end, it's a hindrance to musicality. In math, you can plot any points on a graph and there will be an equation that describes that curves and slops that passes through those points. Scales/modes are the musical equivalent of those equations. However, an artist wouldn't be drawing with equations in mind. He's focused on the overall frame and how things will be spaced and proportioned, as well as the specific details of the picture. In music, we should be doing the same thing.

The thing is, no matter what notes you play, there will be a scale to describe what you did. The problem is that a lot of guitarists flip this around, and use a rigid equation to fill in the blank. This is problematic in several ways:
1. you're limited to around 7 notes
2. you become preoccupied with keeping in line with that scale, which distracts you from the bigger picture of flow, phrasing, and structure
3. you constantly have to think about which scale fits the next harmony, another distraction.

All of this is based on the oversimplified notion that a key contains 7 notes. This is false. Any key contains all 12 chromatic notes. It's just that those 12 notes function differently with each key. It's about developing a good intuition for how to use and approach all of those notes tastefully.

Another problem with scales is that even though they are written out across a staff, the abstract perception in our mind takes on a vertical form, as in we try to think about all of the notes simultaneously in blocks. But music is not vertical. It doesn't stay still. It moves and changes with time. It is a horizontal artform. Thus, when you think about music in vertical blocks, it's like you're standing in the middle of a busy highway. Ever notice that when people explain scales using examples, they always pick out a chord and play it over and over again while playing the scale on top of that? Since when does music just rest so complacently on one chord?

Lastly, consider the following:
1. Classical composition almost never emphasizes on concepts of scales and modes. It is by far the most forward moving type of music, never confined in chord cycles or limited progressions, with plenty of smooth modulations.
2. Many of the jazz greats didn't know a damn thing about scales or modes. They were using their ears.

I've come to the conclusion that the key to real musical understanding is counterpoint and melody. That's not necessarily intense Bach fugal counterpoint. Most music, even the simplest pop song, has counterpoint. The bassline created by a chord progression against a simple vocal melody? That's counterpoint in my book, and I think that's what people are really hearing, whether they know it or not. What makes the music compelling isn't the vocal melody itself. It's also not the chord progression itself. It's when the two comes together and you hear melody against melody, point against point. That's why I am eschewing common theory altogether, for it looks at music vertically and emphasizes so much on harmony, when we're actually listening to it horizontally and the magic is in the melodies.

I know this didn't really address things specifically, but I hope it got you thinking about a different perspective.

Hope this helps,
Xiaoxi

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#26
^Wow, Xiaoxi you just blew my mind.
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#28
Quote by Devilish Dave
Thanks and I know most solos are based on scales... There are so so many variations of scales that I thought once you've got the ear for the guitar.. So I mean when you can hear what notes would best follow the current sound then you can also improvise weather or not you use a scale which you've already learned... Or does that not work that way???


Maybe after a long time But once you know how the scales work well it will all go automatically. You will also need to work on hearing the notes. You should choose a random song and then try and find you in what note it is played. According to the note you can play a scale and find out if its a major or a mineur note. When you know that you will know for example it's in a Bm scale and you can play very easily with it.

Improvising in the song doesnt mean you have to do what it says, just do what is right Thats what I hate about people that dont know about scales, you do a note different than what it says on UG, and they complain it is wrong. No it isnt wrong because it fits in the scale Oh well some people dont know their scales well enough...

So I suggest learn them :P

EDIT:

MY answer doesnt beat the one of Xiaoxi lol

Edit 4:

It took me 3 times to get the name righ! ¬.¬
Last edited by KelbeyW at Mar 5, 2012,
#29
Violinist here. Boom.

Scales are extremely valuable in strictly a technical sense. It allows you to practice basic properties of guitar playing and refine your technique. It will be the fundamental of playing, and your technique will advance far slower if you just try to plow through things. As we are part athletes (we do very precise physical actions), they allow our muscles some breaks in repertoire, as playing the same thing over and over for months is actually detrimental to technique. Scales are a good opportunity to stretch beyond that and just do something different. Xaioxi definitely demonstrated that as far as advancing your ear and musical side, scales are garbaggio. However, unfortunately we have to work on our technique just as much, if not more so that we can actually execute what we want to play. Trust me, I've seen musicians that have learned scales and musicians that haven't, and it doesn't matter what you do, learning scales means sufficiently learning your instrument.

1. Use a metronome
2. 3 octaves or you're a pussy
3. Do the same fingering and picking pattern each time.
#30
They are good to practice in a strict technical sense, but they do shit all to improve your musicality.
#31
DashBlaster, I'm a violinist as well. While you definitely have a point in that scales play a role in technical proficiency, I would still eschew from playing an abundance of scales. Your basic major and minor scales (and their arpeggios) are sufficient, and the practice is really more for intonation than anything else. I'll throw my students a random key and they have to play the scale for that key, but again, that's for them to get the skeletal understanding of any given key and a feel for the intonation. I'd say it should be limited to physical warmups and regarded as nothing more.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#33
I learned the pentatonic scale. From there I just put some records on and worked some licks out, listening for the notes "inbetween" the pentatonic box. Does the job for me.
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#34
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Learn what you want to play and think sounds good. Shredders and technical prodigies are boring.



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#35
Quote by StewieSwan
Because you can't want to play shreddy technical stuff?


Why else would you need a blanket statement like that?