okay, so I was finally able to memorize all the shapes for pentatonic and diatonic scale so that I am able to play the Cmaj/Amin on the entire neck, and transposing them too.

Now I'm trying to memorize the degrees at each specific degree on each shape, but I don't know if I should be memorizing them according to the mode I'm in or what they are relative to the major scale.

Like for example in Cmaj,

I could call the A note, I, if i am in Aeolien, or also VI according to the major scale.

(I might be breaking my head for nothing here, modes really confuse me. )
I would study both. Know the name of the notes and the scale degree for each key and chord.

The A in Cmaj would be a maj6th up from the Root(note C) or the 13th when stacking thirds.

The A in the chord A is the root. and so on and so on.

It's not difficult, it just takes time and it's a fundamental skill to have.
You'd call the note A the root (1) if the key were A minor and you'd call it 6 if you were in C major. Also, Roman numerals are typically used for chords, not notes.

And when you're working in a minor key or in a mode, the relative major scale doesn't really matter at all. Except to check if you're not actually in it instead of the mode. As a beginner, you're probably going to think a lot of things are in modes when they're actually in their relative or parallel majors or minors. (I hope that made sense.)
Last edited by sickman411 at Dec 28, 2013,
Honestly, I've found it more useful to simply know the intervals of a given scale/mode well enough to use that information wherever I want to play on the guitar, rather than looking at the various "shapes" and remembering it the whole way across. The only 'shape' (as in, the way a beginner's lesson or book will teach you to see a scale) that I have memorized is the minor pentatonic because it was so ingrained in me by the time I was learning actual theory. I just find it far less practical than to remember a series of box patterns spanning 12 frets (and then repeating) than to simply know where I'm at by understanding the intervals involved.
Last edited by Macabre_Turtle at Dec 28, 2013,
Oh, also, you might not be ready for modes yet. You should probably learn how to work with keys and chords thoroughly before you go into modes. I didn't say that in the other post because I figured someone else would and I wanted first of all to answer the question. Maybe MT has changed a bit since I was kind of a regular...
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Honestly, I've found it more useful to simply know the intervals of a given scale/mode well enough to use that information wherever I want to play on the guitar, rather than looking at the various "shapes" and remembering it the whole way across. The only 'shape' (as in, the way a beginner's lesson or book will teach you to see a scale) is the minor pentatonic because it was so ingrained in me by the time I was learning actual theory. I just find it far less practical than to remember a series of box patterns spanning 12 frets (and then repeating) than to simply know where I'm at by understanding the intervals involved.

This. This is pretty much my story as well. I Memorized the major and minor pentatonic scales, then after than I learned the notes on the neck and all the notes in the major and minor keys, and the latter is a much better way to do it in my experience.
What I was thinking of doing is, since I've learnt the shapes for the diatonic scale and pentatonic vertically, I thought of learning what degrees are the notes, so I can be comfortable with the neck laterally too with the formula 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, (wwhwww) and in the end I'd be proficient with the neck. (so if i can find the fourth, there are 3 major 2nds after it, then a minor 2nd leading to the root followed by 2 major 2nds), but I don't know if memorizing the formula for modal and being able to locate myself around its root would be useful also which is my question.

Are you guys suggesting I should learn what the note is for every individual fret?? that's like 6x24 things to know. :S .. I know all the notes in the first 5 frets though. My approach to music theory was learning everything relative to the root and not know any scale but the Cmajor and use that as template for intervals, would that be wrong??

also, i don't want to learn songs anymore, I've had a guitar for 3-4 years now, and all I've done was read tabs and chords. it's gotten me nowhere except I've got a decent technique foundation and i know all my basic chords up to seventh and a few extended.. without knowing a single scale with has held me back so. much.

conclusion : ok, just spoke to a friend who's enrolling in music school about this too. TIME TO GET MEMORIZING! D:
Last edited by yuming.feng at Dec 28, 2013,
Quote by yuming.feng
What I was thinking of doing is, since I've learnt the shapes for the diatonic scale and pentatonic vertically, I thought of learning what degrees are the notes, so I can be comfortable with the neck laterally too with the formula 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, (wwhwww) and in the end I'd be proficient with the neck. (so if i can find the fourth, there are 3 major 2nds after it, then a minor 2nd leading to the root followed by 2 major 2nds), but I don't know if memorizing the formula for modal and being able to locate myself around its root would be useful also which is my question.

Are you guys suggesting I should learn what the note is for every individual fret?? that's like 6x24 things to know. :S .. I know all the notes in the first 5 frets though. My approach to music theory was learning everything relative to the root and not know any scale but the Cmajor and use that as template for intervals, would that be wrong??

also, i don't want to learn songs anymore, I've had a guitar for 3-4 years now, and all I've done was read tabs and chords. it's gotten me nowhere except I've got a decent technique foundation and i know all my basic chords up to seventh and a few extended.. without knowing a single scale lol .

Allow me to try to further explain how I visualize the fretboard. I never learned any 'box patterns' besides the minor pentatonic. Instead, I almost right away simply learned the interval construction of each scale, and then realized that I didn't need to have any sort of box patterns to help me see where I could go. So for instance, I start playing in the key of C. I don't see any box patterns. I just look for a C, and I see the intervals, root, second, third, and so on, and I typically visualize that pattern as a three string run (A string, 3, 5, 7, D string, 3, 5, 7, G string, 4, 5), and then I can easily visualize that pattern an octave higher (either on higher frets, or on higher strings) and this is all I need to be able to play the C major scale anywhere on the neck. Now, the one flaw with leaving it at that is that I could have a problem with creativity if I'm always visualizing the same tiny little shape. To rectify this, I use my knowledge of modes and their intervals. Maybe I don't want my melody or riff to keep me stuck on the third fret of the A string. Maybe I want to start a run on the seventh fret of the A string. Well, I know that this fret would be the third of my major scale, or alternatively, the start of a phrygian scale (root, minor 2nd, minor third, so on). I can visualize this as A string, 7, 8, 10, D string, 7, 9, 10, G string, 7, 9, and then I can easily move that visual to higher and lower octaves. I can try this with any mode and easily and swiftly get myself around anywhere on the neck, simply by knowing 1) The intervals of each mode and 2) Knowing what mode to start visualizing if I start at a certain note of another mode. To me, this is significantly more useful (and musical, for that matter) than memorizing the five or so complete box shapes that exist for each scale.

I hope this makes sense. This was my first attempt at trying to explain how I see the fretboard, and it may look like total gibberish to anybody but me.
Quote by sickman411
You'd call the note A the root (1) if the key were A minor and you'd call it 6 if you were in C major. Also, Roman numerals are typically used for chords, not notes.

No, you would call the "A" the tonic of it's key, or the root of it's chord.

Roman numeral don't mean anything if you don't know what chord and notes it represents.
No, you would call the "A" the tonic of it's key, or the root of it's chord.

Roman numeral don't mean anything if you don't know what chord and notes it represents.

Ok, I did mess that up. (Or did I? Anyone?) In my native language we use the same word, that's probably why.

Not sure I got you on the roman numerals bit. TS said that the note A was the VI of C major, and roman numerals aren't really commonly used in that context.
Quote by yuming.feng
Are you guys suggesting I should learn what the note is for every individual fret?? that's like 6x24 things to know. :S .. I know all the notes in the first 5 frets though.

yes, there's really no reason not to know where to find a given note on any string

it's also a lot less than it sounds like. work horizontally so you learn a string at a time rather than the usual vertical guitar shapes. take your first day and learn all the notes across the e string and voila, you're done with 1/3 of the guitar
Say (better yet sing) root, major seccond... outloud as your running through the scale. As for modes avoid them till you master tonal harmony for they are a musical dead end for many a guitarist.
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Say (better yet sing) root, major seccond... outloud as your running through the scale. As for modes avoid them till you master tonal harmony for they are a musical dead end for many a guitarist.

do this but do it more effectively.

Chromatic scale:
DO RA RE ME MI FA FI SO LE LA TE TI

Major scale:
DO RE MI FA SO LA TI

Minor scale:

DO RE ME FA SO LE TE

do is root
ra is minor second
re is major second
me is minor third
mi is major third
fa is perfect fourth
fi is tritone
so is perfect fifth (DO - SO may be the most common melodic interval ever)
le is minor sixth
la is major sixth
te is minor seventh
ti is major seventh
Put shapes and names of things to one side for a second - do you know what things sound like?
Actually called Mark!

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I can tell minor and major perfectly; I've had a pretty tedious experience with classical piano. from a couple of lessons, now I am able to tell major chord sevenths, except minor chord with sevenths because its third-fifth and seventh happen to form a major triad so it sounds like a major thing for me.

i'm working on my intervals by learning the intervals of licks that I have stuck in my head, but I've only got down like a few so far.

I got an idea for memorizing the fretboard, I could work in p5 intervals, that way it's more random and i'd be able learn what p5 intervals is for each note.
Quote by macashmack
do this but do it more effectively.

Chromatic scale:
DO RA RE ME MI FA FI SO LE LA TE TI

Nope.

Chromatic Scale Up:
Do Di Re Ri Mi Fa Fi So Si La Li Ti Do

Chromatic Scale Down:
Do Ti Te La Le So Se Fa Mi Me Re Ra Do.

That's to differentiate between ascending and descending intervals.

An augmented 5th up from the Do is Si
A diminished 4th down from Do is Le.

Same note, different interval.
Nope.

Chromatic Scale Up:
Do Di Re Ri Mi Fa Fi So Si La Li Ti Do

Chromatic Scale Down:
Do Ti Te La Le So Se Fa Mi Me Re Ra Do.

That's to differentiate between ascending and descending intervals.

An augmented 5th up from the Do is Si
A diminished 4th down from Do is Le.

Same note, different interval.

That's true, but sharp scale degrees (augmented intervals) aren't that common. Flat scale degrees on the other hand are used a lot. Sharp fourth (Fi) is the most common sharp scale degree. Though they are used when you use secondary dominants.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Dec 29, 2013,
Nope.

Chromatic Scale Up:
Do Di Re Ri Mi Fa Fi So Si La Li Ti Do

Chromatic Scale Down:
Do Ti Te La Le So Se Fa Mi Me Re Ra Do.

That's to differentiate between ascending and descending intervals.

An augmented 5th up from the Do is Si
A diminished 4th down from Do is Le.

Same note, different interval.

That's actually a lot better than the way I do it. Thanks man!
The idea is that each scale degree has a distinct name.