#1
I know all the major and minor scales and their pentatonics. Also, I know some blues scales. The question is, what other scales should I know and what should I know about the scales? I'm not that aware of theory.

Usually when I'm playing something like making some own riffs, I usually just find things by ear. If I used my amp's looper for some chords and then started creating a solo, I would be searching fitting notes by ear.

An extra question. Where could I find tabs for something like this: https://youtu.be/OzMpsrHUoN0

The part starting from 1:00. It sounds neat and something widely used blues. I really haven't been playing blues that much but riffs like this sound cool, just wondering, how to play?
#2
idk about the video, but if you're really feeling up to it, you could learn the scales Alan Holdsworth uses.

But really, I think major minor and pentatonics is really all you need for the most part.
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#4
Quote by Billie_J
I know all the major and minor scales and their pentatonics. Also, I know some blues scales. The question is, what other scales should I know and what should I know about the scales? I'm not that aware of theory


Do you know the modes of those scales (and how to use them?)
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#5
I don't know those, like mixolydian etc (If spelt correctly)

And also, isn't natural minor and Dorian the same thing?.. At least almost
#6
Quote by Billie_J
I don't know those, like mixolydian etc (If spelt correctly)

And also, isn't natural minor and Dorian the same thing?.. At least almost

1 interval is different. Dorian has a natural 6th, natural minor has a flatted 6th. And it's not even ALMOST the same. That one interval completely changes the feel of the scale. lol.

Aeolian and nat minor are the same or have the same notes. One implies modal harmony, the other implies tonal. If you're writing tonal music and not modal, you should talk about minor, not Aeolian.
Last edited by Elintasokas at May 3, 2015,
#7
Billie-J

It helps to be aware of the tone tendencies, and their strengths, in scales. In any scale that has a major or minor triad built off the scale root (e.g. C in C major scale, D in D Dorian scale), that triad's tones are stable (so, the 1, (b)3 and 5 of the scale). The remaining 4 scale notes are unstable. For example, in the major scale, the 6 sets up a gentle expectation in the listener that 5 is following (doesn't mean it will, though ... your call there). But 7 sets up a very strong expectation that 1 a semitone above will follow. You can use this to influence the ebb and flow of soloing, and melody.

Some chord types are accompanied by particular scales, especially where that chord is out of key, or there is no progression per-se, just that chord, until a key change. For example, in chords Am - Cm - Abm, this is not a progression from one key, and could use A Dorian, C Dorian, AbDorian. If this was A - C - Ab, then change Dorian to Lydian.

Some scale types are used to set up approaching chords ... typically scales with b7 and some kind of altered 5 and or 9. e.g. HM5, or JM7. These sound great, but depends on genre whether appropriate. E.g. A HM5 to Dm.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at May 3, 2015,
#8
Quote by Billie_J
I don't know those, like mixolydian etc (If spelt correctly)



Then I would pick one mode and just hang out with it for a while.

Learn maybe two of the standard fingering patterns for the mode on the guitar.

Practice these patterns (initially) by playing them along with the basic chord sound which comes from the mode.

Mixolydian is a major scale with a flatted 7th degree: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7.

Record a loop of yourself playing an E7 (or other unaltered dominant) chord, and play the scale patterns against this loop until your ear starts to become familiar with the characteristic sound of the Mixolydian mode.

Start on a different root when you get tired of 'E.'

Next, you can look at specifically Mixolydian chord progressions...
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#9
I don't know if I would suggest learning modes yet. Or it depends on TS's skills, and the music he wants to play. But they can be really confusing if you don't properly understand minor and major keys first.

I would say first learn to use major and minor scales. Then start learning about accidentals. Don't just play the scales up and down - learn to use them. Use your ears.


What should you know about the scales? You should know their sound. You should know how they are constructed. (Major scale is root, major 2nd, major 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, major 6th, major 7th - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; minor scale is root, major 2nd, minor 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, minor 6th, minor 7th - 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7. As you can see, what makes major and minor different is three notes - the third, sixth and seventh.)

Also, learn about the chords that you get by harmonizing those scales. That way you know when to use what scale, and if all chords in your chord progression fit the key or if there are some non-diatonic chords. Learn about chord functions. Start with major and minor keys. After you understand the keys, you may want to learn about the modes.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#10
IIRC, he said he already knew the major and minor scales.
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#11
@Joel:

Holdsworth uses all the same scales we use, he just has his own names for every mode.

@OP:

Maggara's advice is really good. If you have your major scales down, start learning basic CST in order to learn what to do with the "modes" of each scale.

That'll get you through everything until you decide to go after MM, Hmaj, and HW/WH/WT
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#12
"what scales should i learn?"

"also, where can i get tabs?"

you can see most of what he's playing, and what you can't, you can hear, right?

i know this might sound crazy to you, but when you listen to music, you're not seeing numbers and shapes. try it out! you're actually hearing things! weird!

so how do you take those things you hear and make them into music?

if you give me $59.99 i can tell you the secret to learning the SECRET SUPER SCALES that are SHORTCUTS to learning how to listen to music and play what you hear! only IDIOTS make music by listening and reproducing what they hear! learn this stupid scale and give me your money cause you're a SMART guy! you know SMART guy things, like how everyone cares what scales you're playing and if you play a new scale run up and down for a minute the other 44 minutes of the set don't matter cause the audience is already gonna be SOOO impressed by you being so SMART and TALENTED instead of wasting their time with music!
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#13
I do agree with the general message Hail expressed with his comment. Music is a medium of the ears, and that is the best way to learn it. It is how you learned to speak, by listening and copying a bunch, music is no different in that way. The good thing about scales and music theory is that it gives names to the sounds you are hearing, so the question "Which scales should i learn" is a weird question to ask, because (at least in my opinion) you should go for the sound first and then the name of that sound. There are players out there that only play pentatonic scales, they have no need to know stuff like mixolydian b9b13, because their music doesn't call for it. So the most fitting question is does all the music you are learning/want to learn fit inside of the scales and arpeggios that you already know? If not, that is what you should learn, finding the name and theoretical explanation for something you've learned that you don't understand.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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#14
^Also this. Learn the vocab and language of the genre you want to work in.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#15
Quote by Jet Penguin
@Joel:

Holdsworth uses all the same scales we use, he just has his own names for every mode.

i was under the impression that he tok standard scales and modes and messed with them so they'd be his own thing. I'm probably wrong though because you know more theory than I do, and as much as I like listening to Alan, I'd never go through it to figure out the scale and chord progressions and etc lol
it's all just coming back
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#16
Quote by Tonto Goldstien
IIRC, he said he already knew the major and minor scales.

Yes, I understand, but it depends on what he means with knowing the major and minor scales. If it's just the fingerings, and he doesn't know about keys, then learning about modes would just confuse him. Also, knowing the fingerings doesn't mean you can use the scale musically. Having to ask a question like this gives me the impression that TS may not be ready to learn new scales. He needs to learn to use the scales he already knows, and to understand them better, he should learn about keys.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#17
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Yes, I understand, but it depends on what he means with knowing the major and minor scales. If it's just the fingerings, and he doesn't know about keys, then learning about modes would just confuse him. Also, knowing the fingerings doesn't mean you can use the scale musically. Having to ask a question like this gives me the impression that TS may not be ready to learn new scales. He needs to learn to use the scales he already knows, and to understand them better, he should learn about keys.


Yes, it wasn't clear to me from his OP whether he meant he knew just the fingerings for the scales or their harmonies as well.

If the answer is only the fingerings, then I fully agree re: the importance of learning diatonic harmony and key signatures first.

I know, as teachers, there's sometimes a compromise that happens between what the student says he wants to learn, and those topics we consider to be higher priorities.
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#18
^ Yeah. Many times people think they know the major and minor scales when they really only know the fingerings. There's more to scales than just fingerings.

Also, many times people ignore things like keys. They just learn scales and play them up and down without understanding how the notes in the scales work. I have been here long enough to pretty much know (or at least pretty accurately guess) if somebody really knows something or only thinks they know something. Usually the right answer to "what scale" questions is learn about keys, learn to use the major and minor scales and most importantly - use your ears. More scales doesn't really mean better music.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#20
I wouldn't say you should learn more scales.

I would say you should internalize the sounds of the scales you have ... including the accidentals. Get to the point where you're not looking for tabs.

Having a scale pattern on the fretboard memorized and moving around in it isn't really playing by ear, it's playing by finger. Playing by ear is knowing exactly what sound your guitar is going to make BEFORE you play it, and then choosing sounds, not finger positions.

You talked about "fitting notes" and that gives me pause, because it suggests that you're thinking of a scale, more or less, as an interchangeable series of safe notes. But the reality is that they each have their own unique relationship to the tonic note, and it's in manipulating those relationships that you create music.

So I'd encourage you to work on your ear. Transcribe melodies and solos, use the functional ear trainer, etc, rather than learn more scales.
#21
Quote by jerrykramskoy
+1.

Less is often more. You then have to focus on the sounds and note choice a lot more.

cheers, Jerry


It really depends on the individual.

The number of colors you need to have on your musical "palette" depends on what you're trying to express, how you want to sound, etc.

Some people need to learn every scale known to man while others only require one.

I like to think I'm somewhere in the middle.
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#22
Quote by Tonto Goldstien
It really depends on the individual.

The number of colors you need to have on your musical "palette" depends on what you're trying to express, how you want to sound, etc.

Some people need to learn every scale known to man while others only require one.

I like to think I'm somewhere in the middle.


True, Tonto. Me too ... I've long enjoyed mixing up touches of jazz with metal, rock, blues etc.
#23
@Joel:

Yeah, I've spent alot of time analyzing (read: worshipping) Holdsworth and his ways.

He uses all the standard scale systems we use (major/minor, MM, Harmonic Minor, WH/HW, Whole Tone, and Harmonic Major)

The difference is that Holdsworth also adds lots of chromatics and superimposition into his playing, and has a penchant for more "oustide" chord scale choices.

For example, Dorian #11 (4th mode of Harmonic Minor) over a m7 chord.

Holdsworth is also unique in that almost ALL of his music is modal, and follows an advanced modal framework that often "shades" his chords with Hmaj, WH/HW, and MM.

^Also I definitely lean toward the "learn 'em all" category. I like options.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#24
Alright... But just about the theory "part". Where should I start learning theory then? Buy a book? Use the Internet? Wat? I agree on the ear improving, I've been doing that but sometimes you just can't use your ears if you wouldn't even understand if someone said " Yeah the song uses scale X". So you must know things before using them. Might have fked up with the explanation but I think you got the point
#25
Billie_J,
Learn the intervals first (sounds, shapes) ... they are the basis of all sounds, so you'll literally see and hear them everywhere (scales, chords). Learn to recognise the 1, (b)3 and 5 of a key in a melody. That'll get you going.
cheers, Jerry
#26
Jet there are so many words there :o


but yeah he's pretty great. I tried learning one of his songs once (without solo cause lol yeah right nahmean) and man some of them are tough. I've got bigger than average size hands, but it's such a strain to try to get some of them lol

saw him live in a jazz bar in London. Such a good experience
it's all just coming back
it's all coming back

it's all coming back to me
#27
Quote by Billie_J
Alright... But just about the theory "part". Where should I start learning theory then? Buy a book? Use the Internet? Wat? I agree on the ear improving, I've been doing that but sometimes you just can't use your ears if you wouldn't even understand if someone said " Yeah the song uses scale X". So you must know things before using them. Might have fked up with the explanation but I think you got the point


There are a lot of ways to learn theory. Some are better than others, in my opinion. Have you ever considered taking private lessons, or getting a guitar teacher that can walk you through understanding it?

How well do you know the notes on the neck of the guitar? Can you play any string at any fret and call out the note, in real time, or instantly? That's a useful skill set to have, because if you want to apply what you learn to the guitar, you probably are hoping to be able to do so without too much stress or delay, right? If you "know" theory but can't actually "use" it as you like, then you more or less have an abstract understanding.

For example, let's say that you learn a cool chord like C# minor 9, consists of C# E G# B and D# and now you want to go play it. How long would it take you right now, to play it as a chord on the neck, say from the 5th string root?

Just for fun, try it now. How long did it take? 5 minutes? For most it's like trying to run, but...while wearing bricks on their feet; they can get there....eventually.

A good approach to learning theory, is also finding ways to express/apply it on your instrument.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at May 9, 2015,
#28
I can find the notes on the fretboard. But the chord you told me to find. I can't find any handy fingerings for. I may find 4 of the notes and then notice that one is missing and it's nowhere close. Also IMO some chords simply sound "shitty". Something like those 11th chords that just don't sound good. Maybe if connected properly but alone, no way.
#29
^Yeah Joel, my hands are pretty large too (I'm 6' 4") and I have some challenge with the music too.

A teacher of mine once played a gig with Holdsworth and said when they shook hands, Holdsworth's fingers wrapped completely around his hand; he could touch his thumb and index finger WHILE shaking someone's hand!

To be productive:

OP you gonna want a working knowledge of three main topics.

1. How Keys and Key changes work, and how chords behave in them.

2. How chords are built.

3. How scales are built and (the part everyone blows) HOW they relate to #s 1 & 2.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#30
You already have a huge wealth of knowledge if you learn how to wield it properly. I barely use any more than that, and I don't run into situations where I really wish I knew some other scale. However, the next one I'd learn if I was you, would be harmonic minor.

Still though, if you feel that what you know now, is really not enough, then I would concentrate more on using what you know, rather than adding more scales.
#31
Absolutely. Major, pent, and harmonic minor will get you through 90% of everything.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#32
Isn't, let's say, a Cm9 a Cmaj9 if we change the ninth note a half step from D to D#? So the 9th note determines whether it's a major or a minor?

Wait no. Nvm not like that. It's always the 2nd and 3rd (?)
Last edited by Billie_J at May 11, 2015,
#33
The third is what determines If a chord is major or minor. Flat 3rd for minor and regular 3rd for major. I don't believe the 2nd has anything to do with that at least from what I have learned.
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Last edited by NougatOfficial at May 11, 2015,
#34
^ Yeah, both m9 and maj9 have a major 9th in them. It's the third and seventh that make them different (minor 3rd and 7th in m9 chord and major 3rd and 7th in maj9 chord).

Cm9 = C minor + minor 7th + major 9th, Cmaj9 = C major + major 7th + major 9th.

Start with simple triads. They are way easier to understand than extended chords.

C major = C E G, C minor = C Eb G, C diminished = C Eb Gb, C augmented = C E G#.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#35
^This.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#36
Quote by Billie_J
I can find the notes on the fretboard. But the chord you told me to find. I can't find any handy fingerings for. I may find 4 of the notes and then notice that one is missing and it's nowhere close. Also IMO some chords simply sound "shitty". Something like those 11th chords that just don't sound good. Maybe if connected properly but alone, no way.



You bring a good point up about fingerings. Sometimes you have drop 2 voicings, and maybe have to switch intervals by an octave. A lot of times, the 5th can go if it's unaltered. On guitar you have 4 fingers and 6 strings (unless you use your thumb). So you can make some intelligent decisions. The bottom line, though, is you know the notes on the neck and can apply things. That was the question. If you found a R b3 b7 and 9 that would be fine

For example:

x 3 1 3 3 x C Eb Bb and D - Great voicing because the 9th is clear in the upper voice. Notice I didn't use a 5th in this. That's not a big deal at all.

I could also use b3 b7 and 9 - and leave the root to the bass. That's done all the time, stripping down chords to their "essentials" .

Point I was making, is if you're good with notes on the neck, you're already well ahead on your way to understanding - kudos!

On your other follow up question: I teach my students "a 9th is a 9th" Doesn't matter if it's major or minor. If you raise the 9th from D to D#, you've made an *altered* 9th, for example, Cm7#9. If you lower the 9th a half step to Db, you're a Cm7b9 for example.

Now if you had Cmaj9 and Cm9 and wanted to switch between them, then you'd mess with the 3rd (and modify the 7th as well).

C Maj 9th C E G B D
Minor 9th - C Eb G Bb D

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at May 11, 2015,