#1
So I understand the modes and how they relate to (are) the major scale. I fairly recently learned the patterns for all of them starting on the root note...7 patterns working my way up the neck.

But I just came across the "5 major scale patterns." First off, I can't believe this is my first time seeing this. But in thinking about it...if I know where the root note is for a given scale/mode...is it even necessary to know the 7 mode patterns starting on the root?

Would seem I could cover everything with the 5 patterns?

May be a dumb question...but wanted to ask...
#2
The major scale contains 7 notes, therefore there are 7 different notes to start on which will form 7 different box patterns. What you have inadvertently learned as "modes" is really just the same major scale, only played in different positions. For example, if you play a C major progression & play all of those mode patterns over the top of it, then you are still just playing the major scale over it.

For the 5 pattern thing, I would assume that they are talking about just using only 5 of the 7 patterns, because some of them do overlap more than others.

Don't worry about the misunderstanding because it happens a lot to guitarists trying to learn theory (myself included) & there is a lot of misinformation out there on the subject. Modes is a subject of heated debate on this forum because it is an ancient concept that has permeated it's way back into music in various different forms so that now there are pretty much so many definitions for what people think they are that no one can agree on anything about them or their use in modern music.

My suggestion to you though would be to try not to think in modes. You can still call the patterns by their modal names, I do that a lot, but remember that the vast majority of the time you will be playing in the relative major or minor key, so all of those patterns would be easier to understand as being the corresponding major or minor scale just played in a different position. If you don't know about intervals or diatonic harmony then now is a good time to learn.
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#3
My post may not answer to the original question but...

The notes you are playing don't really matter. What matters are the chords you are playing over. They determine the key. I think the hate towards modes is because everybody thinks in scales that they play, not the chords they are playing over.

The different scale patterns really are the modes of the major scale but you aren't playing different scales if you use different positions over the same chord progression. This is why people are confused. On other instruments there are no "scale boxes" so nobody gets confused. So I wouldn't call the "boxes" with mode names because it just confuses you. Actually you are just playing the major scale in different positions. It doesn't matter which boxes you are using because they all contain the same notes.

And yeah, major scale has 7 patterns because there are 7 notes in the major scale. You can start the scale with 7 different notes. Again, this is not playing modally. It only has to do with the chords you are playing over. They define the key you are playing in.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 23, 2013,
#4
Thanks all. I realize all of these patterns are just different patterns of the major scale, and the mode depends on the chords played.

I guess what I'm trying to ask is the I learned 7 different patterns of the major scale working my way up the neck...each in a different starting in the position...one for each scale degree. So I learned 7 different positions. But now that I've come across the 5 major scale patterns to cover the fretboard...is it really necessary to know the patterns in the 7 different positions I previously learned?

Seems the 5 patterns would cover all of the same notes as the 7. What's the benefit to playing the 7?

Hope that makes sense...

And yes Jdawg - the 5 patterns overlap with the 7.
#5
I think a better way to get a firm grasp on modes is not to group them by patterns, but by the by the function of each specific note. Memorizing all notes in terms of their function such as the root, third, etc will give you an understand of why a mode sounds the way it does, why it's played commonly over certain harmonies, and how to use it in context.

I would group the modes into "Major" and "Minor" modes, based on deciding intervals such as the root, third, and fifth of each mode.

So then, it's easier to picture each mode as simply a major or minor scale with slight changes.
The Ionian mode is melodically identical to the Major scale.
The Dorian mode is a natural minor scale with a major 6th interval.
The Phrygian mode is a natural minor scale with a minor 2nd interval.
The Lydian mode is a major scale with an augmented 4th interval.
The Mixolydian mode is a major scale with a minor 7th interval.
The Aeolian mode is melodically identical to the natural minor scale.
The Locrian mode is the odd one out, due to it's melodic structure, not meeting the requirements for a major or minor scale similarity.

Although it's not, each mode should be treated as a separate scale/key, and requires more effort to keep the tonal center consistent due to it's instability. Modal harmony is dysfunctional harmony, and is different from tonal (functional harmony).
#6
Quote by Mole351


Seems the 5 patterns would cover all of the same notes as the 7. What's the benefit to playing the 7?


I don't think there is an advantage to the 7.

The five patterns work nicely because each one has a root on a different string. This makes it very easy to visualize your arpeggios (there are also five arpeggio patterns for each chord), for example. It also means you can switch scales easily without having to move your hand. (eg, if I'm playing in C, and need to modulate to G, I just go from pattern 1 to pattern three in the same place).

That being said, remember that eventually your goal is to move beyond patterns.

I happen to think learning the "mode patterns" is confusing and contributes to the huge amount of misunderstanding regarding modes. We frequently get posts from people here who think that they're playing modally because they're using a modal shape.
#7
My opinion would be that both are important. When it comes down to just trying to memorize scales or whatever, use whatever you find most effective. But different patterns or shapes will open up different phrasing options within the same key, so don't totally disregard either. Like mentioned above, keep in mind that the eventual goal is to move beyond patterns. If you have all the notes on the neck memorized, then you don't even have to worry about using those patterns. As far as advantages or disadvantages, I think it's really just a matter of preference. Learn as much as you can, and find what works for you. Cheers.
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#8
The 5 patterns allow you to have an equal amount of notes in the scale on each string (3 on each). This makes really easy to shred, but also really easy to sound like a shredder
#9
The 5 "pet" pattern approach is a good way to get around the fretboard if you view them as set of related patterns in a given key when you're starting out. Boxed positions are versatile because you can use them for single note playing, double stops, chords, or a combination of these. As you advance in your playing and soloing ability, you might want to try other approaches in visualizing the fretboard such as one string or diagonal patterns when improvising.

The 7 mode patterns of Joe Satriani look totally different from the 7 mode patterns of Frank Gambale and I can't be too sure what you're references are. But whether you opt to memorize 5 or 7 patterns or more, the important thing is you can use fragments of them to create melodies/harmonies instinctively in a real musical situation "without thinking" or "with your eyes closed", just like the common minor pentatonic blues box that most guitarists start with.
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Last edited by ha_asgag at Mar 25, 2013,
#10
If the article I read on the 5 patterns is correct then, wasnt it all just the same scale and thus the seven modes from the major - ionian relation. I can see its concept, but as mentioned a little before my post, its one of those mindless pattern to end up noodling around. (aka shred) Yes arpeggios can be formed out of that but again, arpeggios can be formed out of the 7 patterns the same way if not easier. Not saying its redundant or anything, I just dont see a clear line between the two. (although I might have read the wrong article.)
#11
Honestly dude, you're overthinking it. It's good to practice your scales in as many different positions as possible, but music isn't visual patterns. It's sound. What you really need to do is learn some music by ear so you can actually internalize the sounds of these scales. Once you do that, patterns become irrelevant, because the fingerings will eventually become second nature.
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#12
Quote by Mole351
So I understand the modes and how they relate to (are) the major scale. I fairly recently learned the patterns for all of them starting on the root note...7 patterns working my way up the neck.
Well first, the whole modes discussion isn't going to fly here. But, the broad concept of "accepted modes" simply starts any major scale on each of its notes.

With that said, if you learn any major scale 'shape', you should learn it over two octaves.

That way, all seven modes are contained with the scale pattern. So, if you're playing a C major scale, and you start on "D" you're technically in "D Dorian".

After that, you should put the whole "mode' issue to bed. Modern music is, for the most part based in tonal harmony, keys, and 'harmonic cadences', (resolving chord progressions), that don't translate to modal harmonies.

If you were to simply play "D Dorian", using the chordal harmonies derived from the C major scale, you'd be playing in C major, and looking around or a damned C major chord to 'wrap the whole thing up'!

Modal concepts and 'innuendo' are sometimes "alluded to" in modern music, but oftentimes it's just a nod, wink, and nudge, while the piece is still actually in a key.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 23, 2013,
#13
The patterns have nothing to do with modes. It's just a different physical way of playing/learning the same notes. Some people like 5 some people like 7, some people dont ever like patterns.
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#14
Quote by food1010
Honestly dude, you're overthinking it. It's good to practice your scales in as many different positions as possible, but music isn't visual patterns. It's sound. What you really need to do is learn some music by ear so you can actually internalize the sounds of these scales. Once you do that, patterns become irrelevant, because the fingerings will eventually become second nature.



Quote by AlanHB
The patterns have nothing to do with modes. It's just a different physical way of playing/learning the same notes. Some people like 5 some people like 7, some people dont ever like patterns.

Yes, well said. This is basically what I was getting at with the whole "note function" thing. Every note, whether natural or an accidental has a certain function, and it takes a practiced ear to get to know them.
#15
learning scales in patterns is kind of silly, and modes have nothing to do with the way scales lay out on the fretboard.
what works for me for cohesive scale practice is singing the scale (play the root and sing the whole scale over it, then worry about doing it modally, droning the lowest note of each mode in the scale, for example with C youd drone C and sing up and down, then drone D and sing the dorian mode) then learning it in 6 one string fingerings (as in lowest to highest diatonic note on each string) a bunch of two and three string fingerings (starting and ending on each note of the scale, not just root to root, you can think 'modes' here if it helps you, but what you are doing is not modal) then through the full range of the instrument, form the lowest note on the fretboard to the highest (so if you were playing a standard acoustic guitar and doing the C major scale, youd start it on F on the first fret of the low E string and end on the G or A past the 12th fret on the top E string. Shift wherever its comfortable for you, but generally I like to grab 3-4 notes on each string and extend my pinky out to do so), then you can work on it in 10-12 positions on the E string (from every possible note you could start on, try to stretch 3 frets with your hands at all times), and start dealing with playing it in intervals (go stepwise first then leapwise, as in C-D-E,D-E-F,E-F-G etc. then C-E,D-F-E-G etc. if your a sadist you can do every interval through every scale but I honestly dont know who has time for that)
Do that (or something similar) and you'll have your scales and fretboard on lock. Learn scales in a pattern oriented and non systematic manner and you will not.
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Last edited by tehREALcaptain at Mar 23, 2013,
#16
Okay, let me clarify. I learned the 7 patterns for the major scale while learning the about the modes. I did not intend to start a mode discussion, as my question has nothing to do with modes themselves, but the patterns that I learn while learning about them. I realize that modes are nothing more than major scale. The title of the subject SHOULD have only mentioned scale patterns, nothing about the modes. My fault.
#17
Quote by Mole351
I realize that modes are nothing more than major scale.


Incorrect - what you mean to say is that the patterns you call modes (which aren't modes) are nothing more than the major scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#18
Quote by AlanHB
Incorrect - what you mean to say is that the patterns you call modes (which aren't modes) are nothing more than the major scale.



You know what I mean
#19
^^^ You can never be sure in this place.
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#20
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ You can never be sure in this place.



Understood. Wish I could have a "do-over" on this whole thread!
#21
Quote by Mole351
Understood. Wish I could have a "do-over" on this whole thread!
Will you settle for a "do over on my post"?

As I stated earlier, if you learn any scale over two octaves, you will also know the "7 accepted modes". So, I'm not entirely sure that's where you'd make the most gains with your (limited) practice time.

If you take scale practice, and use it in conjunction with learning the major keys, IMHO, you'll make more headway.

Music lessons usually have keys, "staged in", by virtue of the number of sharps or flats involved with the key.

So, they give us C major first, (no sharps or flats), then work towards B major (5 sharps), and Db major (5 flats).

In any event, (again IMHO) it's more advantageous to know the "differential" notes between keys (EG: G major takes away F natural and substitutes F#, but still has all the notes of C major otherwise). You can obviously develop patterns and positions to play them, as well as absorb the published ones.

The CAGED system attempts to place access to as many keys and chords in as little fretboard real estate as possible. So, to change keys without traversing the entire fretboard, you need to know the note names, the major scales, and hopefully be able to recognize key signatures from standard sheet music.

I hope that helps, or at least appears coherent to you.
#23
Google "CAGED system" and "three note per string major scale patterns." That should clear things up.