#1
Hi there, I am having trouble deciding what scale I should fully learn for a sort of 80's hard rock / metal sound and a classic rock sound, I have been playing the pentatonic scale for years and would like to move to something else, I was thinking learning all the shapes of the blues scale or all the shapes of the aeolian mode which I think is a mode of the minor scale right? I know I should learn all the notes and theory behind the scales, I know how to construct them but I find it very hard to remember so many notes and where they are, its easy for me to learn the movable shapes..so what should I use for that hard rock sound..that high energy fast shred.. please help, thanks.
#2
the aeolian mode is just the natural minor scale (root, major 2nd, minor 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, minor 6th, minor 7th)

blues scale is used a lot in the stuff you're talking about

you'll actually find that an awful lot of hard rock/classic rock/80s rock uses a sort of hybrid type of scale- sort of combining the major and minor pentatonics and the blues scale (and with an odd chromatic note thrown in too).

root, 2nd, minor third, minor third bent slightly sharp (from blues scale), major 3rd, perfect 4th, flat 5th, perfect 5th, major 6th, minor 7th.

the major 7th is sometimes thrown in as a chromatic passing tone as well.

the problem is you kind of have to use your ears to hear where those notes all work, since it's sort of a hybrid scale you kind of have to use your ears to figure out when it sounds right and when it doesn't.

but even the minor pentatonic or blues scale alone should get you a fair bit of the way there. an awful lot of those classic and hard rock solos are either entirely pentatonic or blues-based, or at least mainly so.
#3
If you already know the pentatonic scale all over the fretboard, add some notes to it. It depends on the song but sometimes you want to use the minor 6th and sometimes major 6th. Just listen to the sound. Also, add major 2nd to your scale. I think dorian scale is used a lot in hard rock. Don't let the name confuse you. It's just a name. It's the minor scale with a major 6th instead of a minor 6th (ie A minor with F# instead of F). It sounds kind of bluesy too because it also mixes major and minor.

But yeah, add major 6th and major 2nd to the pentatonic scale. And in some songs minor 6th sounds better and major 6th wouldn't even work that well (you need to listen to the chords and also learn the difference between major and minor 6th). You could also add the major third to the scale. It sounds bluesy when you mix minor and major. But remember not to play the major third over a minor chord (I mean, if you are in A minor, don't play a C# because it will sound bad because the chord already has a C natural in it).

You don't really need more scales to sound better. You can play great solos with just five notes. It's not that much about what notes you use. It's more about how you use them. I used to have a quote in my signature that said "There are no boring scales, just boring players".

Also, remember that a scale doesn't make a genre. I would recommend learning the basic major and minor scales because they are used everywhere - and they are the "basic" scales. Learn how to construct them. Again, you already know the pentatonic so you can just add notes to it. Minor pentatonic is five notes of the minor scale and major pentatonic is five notes of the major scale. Add the other two notes and you have the whole major or minor scale.
#4
Aeolian and Mixolydian were used a lot, as well as the usual pentatonics and blues scales.

If you learn visually, I suggest you take a brief detour and learn interval shapes ... you'll see them everywhere once you know them, and hence you can reduce you're learning effort. You may find this lesson I wrote useful: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html.

Personally I find it way too much effort to think in note names. I know where they are, but I play visually and aurally ... I know the scale and chord shapes in all the regions, but as I use them, I'm vaguely thinking about landing intervals (either against a chord, or against a tonal centre), never about note names. With chord progressions, similar. But I think a lot about phrasing.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Nov 16, 2014,
#7
^ I can't guarantee I didn't miss something, but a cursory look at it suggests it's correct, yeah. At least more or less.

Quote by MaggaraMarine
If you already know the pentatonic scale all over the fretboard, add some notes to it. It depends on the song but sometimes you want to use the minor 6th and sometimes major 6th. Just listen to the sound. Also, add major 2nd to your scale. I think dorian scale is used a lot in hard rock. Don't let the name confuse you. It's just a name. It's the minor scale with a major 6th instead of a minor 6th (ie A minor with F# instead of F). It sounds kind of bluesy too because it also mixes major and minor.

But yeah, add major 6th and major 2nd to the pentatonic scale. And in some songs minor 6th sounds better and major 6th wouldn't even work that well (you need to listen to the chords and also learn the difference between major and minor 6th). You could also add the major third to the scale. It sounds bluesy when you mix minor and major. But remember not to play the major third over a minor chord (I mean, if you are in A minor, don't play a C# because it will sound bad because the chord already has a C natural in it).

You don't really need more scales to sound better. You can play great solos with just five notes. It's not that much about what notes you use. It's more about how you use them. I used to have a quote in my signature that said "There are no boring scales, just boring players".

Also, remember that a scale doesn't make a genre. I would recommend learning the basic major and minor scales because they are used everywhere - and they are the "basic" scales. Learn how to construct them. Again, you already know the pentatonic so you can just add notes to it. Minor pentatonic is five notes of the minor scale and major pentatonic is five notes of the major scale. Add the other two notes and you have the whole major or minor scale.


yeah just to clarify, when I said what I said there, I meant to add the notes to what you already know, rather than learning a whole bunch of new stuff from scratch.

And yeah the major 6th doesn't always sound good (and nor does the minor 6th). It's normally pretty obvious when it clashes, though. You can sort of acquire the taste for it, though, just because it technically clashes doesn't necessarily mean it's "wrong", either.
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Nov 16, 2014,
#8
Another "what scale for X" thread (like those never get old). My answer will be Aeolian/Minor (it's versatility makes it like a Swiss-army knife of scales and good for almost anything). Sorry to sound bitter but I've given up on these kind of threads.

Other good scales include Phrygian and Phrygian Dominant (good for a dark yet exotic sound), Lydian (very surreal alternative to Ionian/Major), Pentatonic Minor (common scale for guitar solos), Harmonic Minor, and maybe Dorian (brighter version of Aeolian but also good for pirate-like music). Also try C Purvi Thaat (C Db E F# G Ab B C) and C Ahira Lalita (C C# E F F# A A# C). The last two are Indian Ragas and sound amazing yet are tragically underused.

Over all Metal works with almost any scale if done right. Use what the music calls for and conveys the necessary emotion. Hope I don't sound rude and actually helped a little.

Edit: Oh you meant 80's Metal and Hard Rock, I'm sorry and admit to not reading your post all the way. I suggest practicing techniques like Trills, HoPo (Hammer-on and Pull Offs), two handed tapping, pinch harmonics, and sweep picking. Those were all huge in the 80s and to an extent, today. Also listen to/learn more Hair Metal and Metallica.
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Nov 16, 2014,
#9
Quote by Frenetixx
I am going to learn these blues scale shapes: http://www.coniferguitar.com/Blues_scales_for_guitar/Em_sixnote_blues_scale/Em_sixnote_blues_scale.html could any one confirm these are correct? I dont want to spend hours learning some thing that is incorrect, thanks everyone


They're correct.

Those 5 patterns have broken a 12 fret block of the guitar into 5 regions (outlined roughly by the octaves of the key note (E in that web site's example). Suggest you nail a couple of neighbouring regions initially (playing out of each one only, and then moving between them.

But you need to explore the other scales and techniques being suggested in this thread if you want that 80s feel.

cheers, Jerry