#2
If it helps you to start out, then it's great. It's detrimental if you get "stuck" in the patterns.

Many players get stuck playing patterns and not playing actual music, that's really bad. I think you should be able to see the patterns in different ways. CAGED, 3 note per string, intervalls, boxes, chord forms etc. But i don't practice playing them, i know they are there so i can have both a visual framework to work from and a theoretical framework to work from, so when i learn lines from actual music i can see how they fit in there.

So there is no harm in knowing them, but practicing scale patterns up and down might not be the best use of your time, cause you are never going to use that in actual music. You are better off learning actual music and see how it relates to these "patterns".
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#3
You need to know what notes you're playing and why, most of all. Patterns/boxes/shapes and such are only rough guides for organizing the scale so you can play it easily in a linear fashion.
#5
I am working on scale patterns as well and I am trying to find ways to go from one pattern to the next, if that makes sense? I am working on minor pentatonic and, maybe this is cheating, but I am finding the patterns that "meet" between two frets and using slides to get to the next pattern, but I am selective about playing notes, I just don't run the pattern on the next pattern. Occasionally I do to see if I remember the pattern.

Of course, I am starting to try to understand the theory for them. However, on a plus note, my ear is getting trained. If I do the scale in A, I can hear the A note and confirm it by a map on my cellphone, as well as learning the position of the note within that pattern. So I guess it can be beneficial somewhat? Crawling before running I guess.
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
w/ Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil Pickups
#6
No. Just learn the notes and how to play them position by position. No cell phone required.
#9
patterns exist in music, and i'm not even restricting my argument to the guitar fretboard. saying you can't use patterns on the fretboard is like saying you can't use a circle of fifths sequence or a I-IV-V in composition, and that's just bullshit. patterns exist; it is wise to be aware of that and to take advantage of them. very rarely does a truly skilled musician play a note or insert a harmony "just because".

problems arise when the patterns become a salient foundation upon which a musician's knowledge is based. for a guitarist to say that a different scale (or, dare i say, mode) needs to be played under each different chord is no different than a composer trying to fit everything he hears back into that circle of fifths sequence i mentioned earlier; it's convoluted, it's needless and fruitless effort, and, many times, it's simply not going to work.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#10
It's definitely useful! But you have to realize that you just can't play within the patterns and hope to make music. You should learn the musical phrases, interval patterns and general tendencies of whatever genre you are studying by ear, then see how the guitarist you like is using the scale on the fretboard. Replicate it, experiment with it and put your own spin on it.

The most basic unit of sound are the intervals, and as such, the major/minor scale is built from that. Rest of theory grows from there. There is a scale and that scale happens to form a pattern on the fretboard. If you cut the scale into boxes, it is easier to digest the entire scale to visualize. Try lots of approaches like playing in one position, make melodies on one string, learn intervals, learn 12 major scales, CAGED... but do it in bite sized pieces.
#11
I would say to learn the major scale formula, work out all 12 scales on paper, and then look at a scale chart just to see the standard ways of practicing them. I practice standard 3 note per string scales every day as a warm up, but when I play I rarely run more than a few notes at a time in strictly scalewise fashion.
#12
Helpful. They are reference points to the guitar that allow people to start playing and making things by ear, as a functional guitarist.

Consequential and observational, if someone wants to understand what they play, they can bring the other half of it in, and better "see" and understand the shapes and the intervals, but I'd call this a "late game" development. It can be limiting when trying to understand, and you need to evolve, past the shapes of things, even though they are underlying all this, and see the intervals and how things go together, to become a guitarist with understanding.

I teach for a living and have for over 10 years, and see no issues with shapes patterns and scales, but when you use them seeking to understand the guitar beyond a functional level, you're gonna miss the mark.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Mar 6, 2014,
#13
Quote by macashmack
Is it useful to learn scale patterns or is it detrimental?


It's highly useful.

scale patterns give a visual represenation of the patterns/formulas that exist within the scale itself. Being able to recognize this reinforces your knowledge because it gives your mind more to work with. Through experience your mind begins to connect the aural aspect to the visual, so it also ties into ear training. You'll know what a scale (or interval, or arpeggio…ect.) looks like, AND you'll know the sound as well.

They are useful at all levels, not just for beginners.


The problems I see people complaining about in regards to scale shapes, are actually rooted elsewhere. It's more a matter of learning inappropriate things, or learning things prematurely due to a lack of guidance, or an unwillingness to be guided.
This problem ties into practically everything, not just scale shapes.


For example if I had a beginning student, that could barely switch between 2 chords and doesn't know any songs wanted me to teach them the 3 NPS versions of the *insert fanciest sounding scale here* (or any scale pattern for that matter), I would consider it inappropriate/premature. Learning that pattern may be appropriate for someone else though.

In the example above, you can replace "scale pattern" with many techniques or theory concepts like …. 2 finger tapping, sweep arpeggios, voice leading, phrasing, triads, neapolitan chords……… and I would treat it the same.

All of those concepts, including scale patterns are useful at the appropriate time, and within the appropriate context.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 6, 2014,
#14
Quote by macashmack
Is it useful to learn scale patterns or is it detrimental?


It's very useful! BUT, I think you should learn the notes in the major keys, and the note names on the fret board, and only then, apply the shape over top of them.

Here's why, NOT knowing the note names, or key scales, and moving the "box", amounts to simply the same thing as using a capo.

Knowing the note names and scales, imparts logic and reason to the notes you play over "XXX" chord. Whether you are playing, "inside the box", or, (you know this is coming), "outside the box"....
#15
Quote by Sickz
If it helps you to start out, then it's great. It's detrimental if you get "stuck" in the patterns.

Many players get stuck playing patterns and not playing actual music, that's really bad. I think you should be able to see the patterns in different ways. CAGED, 3 note per string, intervalls, boxes, chord forms etc. But i don't practice playing them, i know they are there so i can have both a visual framework to work from and a theoretical framework to work from, so when i learn lines from actual music i can see how they fit in there.

So there is no harm in knowing them, but practicing scale patterns up and down might not be the best use of your time, cause you are never going to use that in actual music. You are better off learning actual music and see how it relates to these "patterns".

Agree with all of this. Also, I'll just add that a lot of new players think that the scale is actually a pattern. What I mean is, they don't learn the actual scale, they learn the pattern. So, for example, the A natural minor scale we all know is A, B, C, D, E, F & G. But, due to misinformation (and sometimes bad teaching), a lot of new players seem to think that the A minor scale is the 5th position (or whatever other position) of the minor scale on the guitar neck. When, in reality, the A minor scale is all over the guitar neck. I often feel as if the guitar teaching community doesn't do as good of a job at emphasizing that scales are sets of notes, NOT shapes/positions on the guitar.
I'd rather just that guitar teachers said, "A scale is a set of notes. For example, the A minor pentatonic is the notes A, C, D, E, & G. You can play this scale ANYWHERE on the guitar neck. If you want, here are some examples, so that you can understand this idea." That would be more logical to me than a teacher saying, "Here's Aminor pentatonic. The shape is this, and it's in 5th position. Gminor pentatonic would be in 3rd position, and Bminor pentatonic would be in 7th position. But we're focusing on Aminor now, so 5th fret. And...now, here's a different shape for Aminor pentatonic..."

Also, I think it can limit creativity/understanding for some people. For example, Steve Vai tends to view the fretboard in a vertical way. He doesn't see positions; he sees notes along the neck. I'm the same way, and it was a lot harder for me to learn early on, because teachers were trying to shove box shapes down my throat. For some of us, there just comes a greater sense of musical freedom when we view the guitar as "notes along the neck".

Quote by Sean0913
I teach for a living and have for over 10 years, and see no issues with shapes patterns and scales, but when you use them seeking to understand the guitar beyond a functional level, you're gonna miss the mark.

I guess this is my major problem with box shapes/patterns, as far as people learning them. You said it much better, lol.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 6, 2014,
#16
Quote by cdgraves
No. Just learn the notes and how to play them position by position. No cell phone required.
Yeah well, I bet you can't learn music without an iPad, buster! (Oh, I'm kidding).
#17
I learned all scale shapes and stuff, but over time u view it as one big mesh (not mess);

I'd focus more on learning different motifs revolving around key notes..

For example I know/hear an Am chord come up, then I pick a place on the neck (A note or other note from the chord), and I visualize my own box around it with all the notes I like, or that I want to play over there, and how to get there.

Though I guess this only works if you actually know beforehand what you want to hear.

If you "guitar life" is still for the most part in the exploring phase, then by all means learn about chords, intervals, melodies and "tension and release".

And by exploring I mean you don't hear difference between a minor or major interval, or hear how inner notes change from chord to chord etc.

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#18
Quote by Sickz
If it helps you to start out, then it's great. It's detrimental if you get "stuck" in the patterns.




I don't buy this getting stuck business.

Breaking out of something is actually much easier when you know the boundaries of what that thing is.

Also, learning 1 thing doesn't prevent you from learning another. often times, such as the case with scale patterns, it will HELP you. The relationships you learn about in theory are that much more obvious when you can see how they are laid out on your instrument. Learning the note names is easier as well. If you know where a C is, and the C major scale pattern, it becomes very easy to find D, E, F, G, A, & B


The patterns themselves aren't the cause of anyone getting stuck. It's a sad trend to see them become the scapegoats for the lazy and complacent.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 7, 2014,
#19
Quote by GuitarMunky
I don't buy this getting stuck business.

Breaking out of something is actually much easier when you know the boundaries of what that thing is.

Also, learning 1 thing doesn't prevent you from learning another. often times, such as the case with scale patterns, it will HELP you. The relationships you learn about in theory are that much more obvious when you can see how they are laid out on your instrument. Learning the note names is easier as well. If you know where a C is, and the C major scale pattern, it becomes very easy to find D, E, F, G, A, & B


The patterns themselves aren't the cause of anyone getting stuck. It's a sad trend to see them become the scapegoats for the lazy and complacent.


What i mean by getting stuck within the patterns is simply that, getting stuck in patterns. I have had many students and fellow musicians who have had this problem. They have learned scales for example as only a patterns that can be moved around, not which intervalls the scale is made up of, how to harmonize it, which notes of the scale that fits over which chords, playing the same patterns within the scale patterns etc.

I am not saying patterns are harmful, i'm saying they have the potential to be harmful. That's why i listed many ways to view things in my original post. Learning to view (to stick with the theme) scales as three note per string patterns, the CAGED system, the intervalls that make up the scale, chord shapes etc helps even this problem out so you are not stuck in playing scales as three note per string patterns all the time, or only playing of the CAGED shapes.

I am saying, instead of looking at things from one angle, learn to view it from all different angles.

Also, my comment on getting stuck playing shapes is very true. Many people become metronome warriors that sit around practicing scales up and down all day. And when you call for a jam that's all they can play, scales up and down that sounds more like an exercise than music. I stand for what i said, learn the patterns but don't practice them up and down all day, learn actual music and see how it fits inside the scale patterns.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#20
Quote by Sickz
What i mean by getting stuck within the patterns is simply that, getting stuck in patterns. I have had many students and fellow musicians who have had this problem. They have learned scales for example as only a patterns that can be moved around, not which intervalls the scale is made up of, how to harmonize it, which notes of the scale that fits over which chords, playing the same patterns within the scale patterns etc.


so what stops them from learning those things?

Quote by Sickz

I am not saying patterns are harmful, i'm saying they have the potential to be harmful.


that's a contradiction.


Quote by Sickz

That's why i listed many ways to view things in my original post. Learning to view (to stick with the theme) scales as three note per string patterns, the CAGED system, the intervalls that make up the scale, chord shapes etc helps even this problem out so you are not stuck in playing scales as three note per string patterns all the time, or only playing of the CAGED shapes.


that is all good information for a guitarist to learn. I don't see how learning a scale pattern would prevent a person from learning that stuff as well.


Quote by Sickz

I am saying, instead of looking at things from one angle, learn to view it from all different angles.


I would say that is a good way to see it. The mistake, and contradiction, is implying in anyway that one of those angles is "detrimental".


Quote by Sickz

Also, my comment on getting stuck playing shapes is very true. Many people become metronome warriors that sit around practicing scales up and down all day. And when you call for a jam that's all they can play, scales up and down that sounds more like an exercise than music.


Yeah, I've seen that from time to time as well. I don't blame the scale patterns.


Quote by Sickz

I stand for what i said, learn the patterns but don't practice them up and down all day, learn actual music and see how it fits inside the scale patterns.


I agree with that.
#21
@GuitarMunky:
Why do you refuse to acknowledge that learning solely patterns (not the notes or intervals of scales, which is the method many guitar teachers use) can be a temporary stop point for many young guitar players? It's like many players are taught to learn these shapes, without knowing the why.

Yes, it's a teaching problem. And that's the whole damn point. If students were taught to view scales as being across the whole neck, then it would eliminate this issue.
#22
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
@GuitarMunky:
Why do you refuse to acknowledge that learning solely patterns (not the notes or intervals of scales, which is the method many guitar teachers use) can be a temporary stop point for many young guitar players? It's like many players are taught to learn these shapes, without knowing the why.

Yes, it's a teaching problem. And that's the whole damn point. If students were taught to view scales as being across the whole neck, then it would eliminate this issue.



In my experience one things leads to the other. If the student doesn't have the patience to get to the why, it's their own fault.


In general, I would argue that it's not so much a teaching issue, but rather the opposite. It comes from a lack of guidance, or an unwillingness to be guided. With all of the "information" on the internet, people are teaching themselves from random videos, lessons, and opinions in forums. They draw their own conclusions before they have the experience to do so properly. Before the internet it was snippet lessons and tabs from guitar magazines, so this issue is not new.

Another factor is that people are often impatient, and vain. Their desire to get to that point where they can wow all their friends often robs them of common sense. They gravitate towards whatever convinces them will get them there, and fancy named scales and speed often become the main focus. They spend all day practicing scales to a metronome but neglect to do anything else. It's silly, but then again that's what they learn from their Paul Gilbert and John Pertucci videos, articles, lessons ect. I would argue again though, that their inability to see past that stuff is just that…. their inability. It's not caused by learning a scale pattern.


Lets face it, there is a lot of things to learn about music and playing the guitar. You can't learn it all at once. if you stop, or get stuck at some point, it's your own fault. Blaming other people isn't a good way to move forward.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 7, 2014,
#23
Quote by GuitarMunky
In my experience one things leads to the other. If the student doesn't have the patience to get to the why, it's their own fault.


In general, I would argue that it's not so much a teaching issue, but rather the opposite. It comes from a lack of guidance, or an unwillingness to be guided. With all of the "information" on the internet, people are teaching themselves from random videos, lessons, and opinions in forums. They draw their own conclusions before they have the experience to do so properly. Before the internet it was snippet lessons and tabs from guitar magazines.


There is a lot of things to learn about music and playing the guitar. You can't learn it all at once. if you stop, or get stuck at some point, it's your own fault. Blaming other people isn't a good way to move forward.

Yes, because the standard teaching method can't be revised at all...

Guitar is one of the few instruments where most teachers don't teach the why and the how simultaneously.
#24
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Yes, because the standard teaching method can't be revised at all...

Guitar is one of the few instruments where most teachers don't teach the why and the how simultaneously.



You're mistaken to generalize like that. Teachers are individual people. They don't all teach the same way. It's not like they follow a curriculum like in a school district.

You have to keep in mind that many students don't give a shit about the why and the how, and you can't force them to. If you do they'll just quit and then go online and post about how their teacher sucks and wouldn't teach them what they want.
#25
Ok, that's fair.

Still, I feel like refusal to teach "the why" is often a problem. I suspect a lot of teachers feel that if they go too deep into "the why", then their students will quit, which would cost the teacher revenue.

Looking back on when I took lessons, it would have benefited me a lot more if my teacher had told me the why. Granted, I was 16 and impatient as hell. (I basically wanted to be a combo of Randy Rhoads and Steve Vai, without learning everything it would take to get there. lol) I guess it just bugs me that we have so many young guitar players who seem to view scales (or even modes) as a bunch of positions without understanding them fully.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 7, 2014,
#26
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Ok, that's fair.

Still, I feel like refusal to teach "the why" is often a problem. I suspect a lot of teachers feel that if they go too deep into "the why", then their students will quit, which would cost the teacher revenue.


again your generalizing and casting blame based on your own cynicism.


Quote by crazysam23_Atax

Looking back on when I took lessons, it would have benefited me a lot more if my teacher had told me the why. Granted, I was 16 and impatient as hell. (I basically wanted to be a combo of Randy Rhoads and Steve Vai, without learning everything it would take to get there. lol)


It may have benefited you, but as you admit, and as I've already stated, the real problem was impatience and vanity.

maybe you're teacher would have got you into that if he thought you were ready and willing.


Quote by crazysam23_Atax


I guess it just bugs me that we have so many young guitar players who seem to view scales (or even modes) as a bunch of positions without understanding them fully.


we'll you'll have to get over it, because it will always be that way. You're certainly not helping things by blaming teachers or scale patterns.


I suggest not playing through this pedal anymore…

Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 7, 2014,
#27
^


What I'm getting at is, if all teachers taught the big picture in this area, maybe there would be less confusion and misinformation.
#28
Quote by Killsocket
I am working on scale patterns as well and I am trying to find ways to go from one pattern to the next, if that makes sense? I am working on minor pentatonic and, maybe this is cheating, but I am finding the patterns that "meet" between two frets and using slides to get to the next pattern, but I am selective about playing notes, I just don't run the pattern on the next pattern. Occasionally I do to see if I remember the pattern.

Of course, I am starting to try to understand the theory for them. However, on a plus note, my ear is getting trained. If I do the scale in A, I can hear the A note and confirm it by a map on my cellphone, as well as learning the position of the note within that pattern. So I guess it can be beneficial somewhat? Crawling before running I guess.


I think you'll find this video below handy, it shows you how to go from seeing 5 different shapes of the Pentatonic Scale to building a scale map using the Hopscotch Method.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_qw03-3gFg#t=0

Obviously that method can be used for any scale too.
#29
Is using scale patterns detrimental or helpful? Why or why not?

Scale patterns are very important to learn to understand the fret board and intervals. They`re a good way to practice general technique as well. They`re only detrimental if they become the sole focus of your playing - because that will generate boring and predictable solos.
#30
I agree with GuitarMuncky in most of what he said. Learn the patterns also because it's a quick way to start playing some leads. Just be sure to look into what you are playing and learn why a certain scale works over a paticular chord or series of chords. A lot of guitar teachers want you learn scales and proper reading right from day one. Is this the correct way to learn? Probably, but I taught beginners at a music store for a few years (It was not a pleasant experience) and I followed the stores requirements that I teach scales and reading right from the start. I saw students lose interest after a few weeks because they were not learning to play anything realistic or anything that appealed to them musically. It's great to tell a new player that you should learn a lot of theory and proper scales and we know that would be the correct way to learn but it's all use`less if they play for a few months then give up in frustration because they can't jam on something like "Johnny B,. Good" or some other simple song.
#31
What is also bad is when your knowledge base in theory is incomplete and you start to wonder things like why C Ionian and A Aeolian sound the same or how composers like Bach come up with cool progressions and know how to switch between harmonic, melodic and natural minor scales so well. And you eventually become a slave to methods and stop learning/experimenting and thinking for yourself.
#32
Quote by arv1971
I think you'll find this video below handy, it shows you how to go from seeing 5 different shapes of the Pentatonic Scale to building a scale map using the Hopscotch Method.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_qw03-3gFg#t=0

Obviously that method can be used for any scale too.



Thanks for this link. This helps quite a bit!!!!! Seriously. Eye opener for this beginner.
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
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#34
Learning and memorizing chords, inversions and scales is very (VERY!) important, but problems arise when you don't see the big picture and how everything is related. How chords are built from scales, etc. A big part of it is functional harmony and how tones resolve.

After you understand those things, scales and chords suddenly become a simple thing and it's easy to see how everything is related and form a bigger picture. Patterns also start making sense and you don't see them just as "patterns" anymore.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Mar 7, 2014,
#35
Its fine.

Its simply a tool to know where your scales/notes are in the very beginning.

I say the more ways you can think of scale the better off you will be.

Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Yes, because the standard teaching method can't be revised at all...

Guitar is one of the few instruments where most teachers don't teach the why and the how simultaneously.



Have you taught before man? I'm guessing yes.

Maybe you just have a higher class of students than Ive been getting, because Ive been teaching for a few years and most students:

a) rarely practice
b) practice poorly (sloppy, mistakes etc. despite being told not too)
c) the odd time they do practice, they don't practice what you told them too and just noodle around.

If you have students like this it makes no ****ing difference if they know the why and how, because they are not going to achieve anything.

If you have a student that wants and has the drive to learn this stuff and you explain the patterns as just fragments of a scale that goes the whole neck, I really don't see the harm. Most students will never even get that far. It is just a stepping stone.

Its a great way for beginners to get started with scales without being totally overwhelmed by the vastness and confusion of the guitar neck because, lets be honest here, the first time anyone picks up a guitar it seems like a maze and its very intimidating.
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Last edited by British_Steal at Mar 8, 2014,
#36
Quote by British_Steal
Have you taught before man? I'm guessing yes.

Maybe you just have a higher class of students than Ive been getting, because Ive been teaching for a few years and most students:

a) rarely practice
b) practice poorly (sloppy, mistakes etc. despite being told not too)
c) the odd time they do practice, they don't practice what you told them too and just noodle around.

If you have students like this it makes no ****ing difference if they know the why and how, because they are not going to achieve anything.


If you have a student that wants and has the drive to learn this stuff and you explain the patterns as just fragments of a scale that goes the whole neck, I really don't see the harm. Most students will never even get that far. It is just a stepping stone.

Its a great way for beginners to get started with scales without being totally overwhelmed by the vastness and confusion of the guitar neck because, lets be honest here, the first time anyone picks up a guitar it seems like a maze and its very intimidating.

Most of my experience was either teaching friends (most of whom are in their 20s or older) or talking with music people when I was a music minor. So, I haven't really run into those issues, no.

You make some very valid points though. This thread...I guess I'm viewing it as a personal learning experience.
#37
scale patterns are all that matter in music honestly
#38
Quote by Hail
scale patterns are all that matter in music honestly

Woah! You haven't been around lately.