#1
Hi,

I was originally a singer/rythm guitarist in a band but we created a new band and I've changed to lead.

I don't quite understand how scale "patterns" work. I've read in places that there's five patterns but I don't understand how these relate to the fret board and which ones to learn/play? At the moment i'm just practicing the minor pentatonic scale "pattern 1", can I move this to any fret or do I need to change the pattern? Is it like a barre chord shape where you can move it up and down the fretboard? Like on the 9th fret would pattern 1 be C Sharp minor pentatonic? and on the 5th, A minor pentatonic?

Also, if anyone could help on what I should practice/read up on to try and improve as a lead player id appreciate it.

Thanks
#2
A scale is a series of notes not a series of patterns. Understand how scales work and you'll understand how these irrelevant patterns work.
#3
Well theres only one pattern that for the regular major and minor scales. It's often taught to beginners one position at a time, which is likely where the 5 came from.

It's important to understand that scales (or anything) are not about finger position patterns, but about pitch patterns. Learn your scales and chords as patterns of notes and you can apply them anywhere on the neck.

It sounds like you may be lacking knowledge of the fretboard and where all the notes are. If you're playing lead, I'd remedy that in a hurry. Just look up the major scale interval pattern and get cracking.
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 25, 2016,
#4
yes it is movable. It depends upon which key your in as to where you position pattern one. you need to know all five of the patterns. It is called the caged system. they interlock down the fret board. You are not going to effectively learn or play lead without the knowledge. the best place to learn is sixstring country .com. Tony has several lessons with tab and video on this. also start with his basic guitar course he has 101. And the scales should be basic knowledge. No insult intended. Even if you don't play country this site has lessons from Hendrix to e. Clapton.
#5
Sorry cdgraves. you are right. And it is taught in five patterns that all connect together. pattern 2 connects to pattern one ect... This is taught from the onset one pattern at a time. And should become instinct.
#6
Hi,

Thanks for your replies. I've been playing guitar for a couple of years but I've never ventured into lead when I was practicing on my own, I suppose I avoided it because of it being a bit overwhelming but now I'm in that position where I have to. And I didn't really need to learn it (or so I thought).

I'm going to look at the CAGED system first then try and move from there. Is that what you would do?

Thanks for all your help.
#7
Quote by vayne92
A scale is a series of notes not a series of patterns. Understand how scales work and you'll understand how these irrelevant patterns work.


I understand that, a scale goes all way up the fretboard. so is a scale effectively split up into 5 positions?
#8
CAGED is a fine way of organizing the fretboard. Just make sure you 1) know the names of the notes and chords, not just the shapes; and 2) can connect the shapes and use the neck horizontally, moving between positions.
#9
A scale can be found in 5 adjacent regions of the neck, covering 12 adjacent frets. Then it all repeats. This is due to the guitar tuning, and how octaves occur.

A scale is a recipe for locating intervals at various musical distances from some starting point you choose.

For example, the minor pentatonic scale is (1, b3, 4, 5, b7) ... or using semitones, is the pattern (0, 3, 5, 7, 10). To apply this pattern on the same string is easy ... choose any starting pitch (e.g. A at 5th fret, on bass string). Then the members of this scale, built from this fret, are found at frets

5+0
5+3
5+5
5+7
5+10

If you chose F, say on D string (3rd fret), then the scale for F minor pentatonic on that string is found at frets

3+0
3+3
3+5
3+7
3+10

It then repeats at
3+12 + 0
3+12 + 3
3+12 + 5
3+12+ 7
3+12 + 10

The 3+12 gets the F in the next octave (fret 15), and away we go from there.


This same idea applies to any scale, any chord. Of course using 6 strings, more string/fret possibilitioes open up for finding these same pitches, and their octaves.

If you want to minimise your learning, learn intervals, and understand how these are represented visually in scale and chord shapes.

See https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html and related lessons.

This stuff is very easy, so long as you can count. And you mostly avoid pitch names.

Good luck
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Feb 26, 2016,
#10
Quote by Joelellis0114
I understand that, a scale goes all way up the fretboard. so is a scale effectively split up into 5 positions?


Not quite. Those are "box shapes" that a lot of people learn for pentatonic scales (pent = 5). The major/minor scales start on every position on which there is a scale tone. C major, for example, can be played in open position, 1st position, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 17th, and 19th. That's because each of those frets has a C major note on it, and you can play scale starting on any of its notes. After all, a scale is just a set of notes, regardless of order.

But thinking in terms of positions makes things way too complicated to start. The most straightforward way is to l look up the major scale interval pattern and play the scales as 3 note per string patterns. If you start with C major on the open E string, that 0-1-3 to start.

Learn the notes up and down each string, too. Play scales entirely on one string once in a while.

Remember scales are just sets of notes. They are often written and played in alphabetical order just as matter of organization, but it's very important to understand them as more than a specific order of finger placements.
#11
Those positions or boxed shapes may seem like a convenient place to start, but do not rely on them too heavily. Because of how the guitar is laid out and where the notes fall, it's quite easy to play a scale without moving your hand around the fretboard. But that is precisely why I hate them. A lot of people get too used to how easy they are and have a lot of trouble moving around the fretboard effectively. What I think you should be focusing on is learning a bit of theory. Specifically, the notes of the fretboard, the intervals of the major and minor scales, and chord construction. Supplement that with hand-on practice while learning songs and doing exercises while trying to use any new things you learned in the field of theory. So for instance, if you learned some chord construction, take any chord and try to find a different way to play it. Or similarly if you are working on memorizing the fretboard, pick any 3 notes and see how many different places on the neck you can play them as a chord.
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#12
Quote by Junior#1
Those positions or boxed shapes may seem like a convenient place to start, but do not rely on them too heavily. Because of how the guitar is laid out and where the notes fall, it's quite easy to play a scale without moving your hand around the fretboard. But that is precisely why I hate them. A lot of people get too used to how easy they are and have a lot of trouble moving around the fretboard effectively. What I think you should be focusing on is learning a bit of theory. Specifically, the notes of the fretboard, the intervals of the major and minor scales, and chord construction. Supplement that with hand-on practice while learning songs and doing exercises while trying to use any new things you learned in the field of theory. So for instance, if you learned some chord construction, take any chord and try to find a different way to play it. Or similarly if you are working on memorizing the fretboard, pick any 3 notes and see how many different places on the neck you can play them as a chord.


If you have intervals nailed, everythng else falls into place. You know the octave pattern, you can find the same note anywhere. Agree on the boxed shapes, once you've learned them, their convenient for visualisation, but shouldn't be constraining.
But these shapes should not be learned as just shapes.

Those shapes need understanding by the individual interval (shapes) present in that box shape, and the sounds each pf these produces. That is what you are dealing with when making music. They are the core of music (for note choice). And there are so few interval shapes to remember, they can be mastered in a few short days, 10 minutes a day, .. they then back up your knowledge if you forget a chord shape or shape briefly.

Horizontal playing along string(s) can be visualised as passing through adjacent boxes on whatever that (those) string(s) are, and hence the visualised intervals simple reminders, for navigating without getting lost.

I definitely don't recommend learning 3 nps initially, nor being driven by note names. They both hide the essence of what's going on (interval usage, within the scale, chord, tonality ...)
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Feb 27, 2016,
#13
Quote by jerrykramskoy
If you have intervals nailed, everythng else falls into place. You know the octave pattern, you can find the same note anywhere. Agree on the boxed shapes, once you've learned them, their convenient for visualisation, but shouldn't be constraining.
But these shapes should not be learned as just shapes.

Those shapes need understanding by the individual interval (shapes) present in that box shape, and the sounds each pf these produces. That is what you are dealing with when making music. They are the core of music (for note choice). And there are so few interval shapes to remember, they can be mastered in a few short days, 10 minutes a day, .. they then back up your knowledge if you forget a chord shape or shape briefly.

Horizontal playing along string(s) can be visualised as passing through adjacent boxes on whatever that (those) string(s) are, and hence the visualised intervals simple reminders, for navigating without getting lost.

I definitely don't recommend learning 3 nps initially, nor being driven by note names. They both hide the essence of what's going on (interval usage, within the scale, chord, tonality ...)


I've been reading your lesson(s) on intervals and it's a really good insight. However, I've kept reading it over the weekend and I'm struggling to understand how that can help my lead playing? Do you think you could explain it to me in laymans terms? I understand what an interval is and the different names for them, I just don't see how they fit within a scale? I understand the construction of chords fits into them, minor 3rds in a minor chord etc. It's fitting it into the scales I don't quite understand and how it can help my writing ability?

Great articles though.
#14
A scale is written as a series of intervals. WW H WWW H is the major scale.

Knowing what intervals are in all of the scales and chords helps you understand them as actual sounds and notes, not just finger positions.

For example, if you know a particular "shape" is a major 6th interval, you can find that interval elsewhere even when it's not the same shape. This allows you to move your chords and melodies around without being restricted by the physical patterns you know.


Example

e-------------------------0--------
B--------------------0-3----------
G---------------0-2---------------
D----------0-2--------------------
A-----0-2-------------------------
E-0-3-----------------------------

e---------------------------------
B-------------------------------
G----------------------7-9--------
D---------------5-7-9--------------
A--------2-5-7---------------------
E-0-3-5----------------------------



These two scales (Em pentatonic) are the exact same intervals/notes, but are played very differently. Knowing your fretboard by note and interval helps you discover, practice, and play ideas without having to look them up.

Using the major scale formula, you can work out all of the basic 3 note per string scales in every position, all over the fretboard. Doing that foundational work will give you the knowledge you need to play without reliance on piecemeal, context-less information.
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 29, 2016,
#15
Quote by Joelellis0114
I've been reading your lesson(s) on intervals and it's a really good insight. However, I've kept reading it over the weekend and I'm struggling to understand how that can help my lead playing? Do you think you could explain it to me in laymans terms? I understand what an interval is and the different names for them, I just don't see how they fit within a scale? I understand the construction of chords fits into them, minor 3rds in a minor chord etc. It's fitting it into the scales I don't quite understand and how it can help my writing ability?

Great articles though.

An interval just describes the "difference" between two notes, in terms of sound - not physical distance. They aren't simply a guitar term, they're a fundamental concept in music.

Obviously when dealing with the guitar specifically then it's easiest to describe terms in terms of how they physically appear, but it's the sound that's important.

For example, if you take a note on your guitar, any note at all, then play the note 7 semitones above it that interval is a perfect 5th. Move up 4 semitones from a note and that's a major third. Intervals are the building blocks of scales and chords, and understanding the relationships between notes is a big part of being able to compose things that sound pleasing.


Now on the guitar each fret is a semitone step so you can simply move up the corresponding number of frets, but you need to remember that the same note appears in multiple places on your guitar. That's why we can play chords - for example a major chord is comprised of a root note, a major third and a perfect fifth. It's the sound of those intervals together that gives that "major chord" sound, most importantly the major third.

However if you play through a major scale you'll also find those intervals in there, in fact the major scale is how we get the names of them - the major third is the distance between the root note of your scale and the third note in the scale, whilst the perfect fifth is the difference between the root and the fifth note in the scale.

However, the most important thing to understand is simply that an interval can describe the distance between any two notes, and that difference is always the same - so the note 4 semitones above another note will ALWAYS be a major third, the note 7 semitones above another note will ALWAYS be a perfect 5th etc.
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#16
Quote by Joelellis0114
I've been reading your lesson(s) on intervals and it's a really good insight. However, I've kept reading it over the weekend and I'm struggling to understand how that can help my lead playing? Do you think you could explain it to me in laymans terms? I understand what an interval is and the different names for them, I just don't see how they fit within a scale? I understand the construction of chords fits into them, minor 3rds in a minor chord etc. It's fitting it into the scales I don't quite understand and how it can help my writing ability?

Great articles though.


A piece of music is usually based om a choice of a scale (e.g minor scale), and a choice of starting note for that scale (e.g. C).

The scale is a pattern of intervals measured from the starting note. And that pattern itslef contains various chords within in it, whose chord roots are found at these different intervals from the scale start.

So, if we use the scale (1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7) this tells us how to locate the scale notes once we have chosen our start note. A "1" above C is coincident. A "b3" above C is 3 semitones higher, Eb. And so on. There is also a chord Cm and so on.

Now we have our scale notes and chord notes, we can write a tune. And we can solo over that tune using that scale. To keep matters simple, let's say you have a groove just on Cmin. Then you use the C min scale ... but the point is to think of the intervals it contains, relative to C, the start note. Equally importantly, to be aware of which intervals AREN'T present (the chromatic ones)

The reason is that these different intervals create different sounds, and different responses from the listener. So,play a b2 against a min chord is likely to get a grimace, at least. (so, this means, play 1 semitone (one fret) above the scale root (remember we're talking about using C minor scale and Cm chord) ... so, for C, this means playing Db). Intervals in the chord itself are safe (1,b3,5). (C, Eb, G in this case). The rest set up an expectation that they will "resolve" to one of these stable tones. Playing a chromatic note above a chord tone demands resolution down to the chord tone. Playing a chromatic note below is less demanding. If you jump to a chromatic note,especially from a previous chromatic note, this demands even more resolution. So, the name of the game is being aware of these different sound qualities found at the different intervals from the scale root, and controlling your solo with these. Do some fast legato and end on a stable note, or on a different scale note and maybe bend that to stable note.

For me, I almost never think of note names ... I just know the sounds of these intervals, and what their visual patterns are on the neck. I just use the note name of the key to get me orientated on the neck, and after that, it's all intervals ... e.g. if the chord progression is i iv v ... I know that the chords are located at 0, 5 and 7 semitones above the key. I know the intervals withn each chord type, and how to locate these relative to the chord root. If the tune is slow enough, I may start concentrating on each chord like this. Or, I may ignore the progression, and think of intervals in the scale relative to the key, and solo around the tonic chord tones.

Basically, a chord progression is subservient to the melody, not the other way around ... so clashes can and do occur ... but there's nothing wrong with that ... and again, can still be aware of the (mostly) safe notes which, for a progression, are the 1,(b)3 and 5 of the chord built off the scale root.

If you need yet more info, try and list a few specifics, and maybe I'll write another article.

Hope this helps a bit more.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Mar 1, 2016,
#17
The best thing you can do is get a good guitar teacher. Yes the information is out there but it's not the same as having someone guide you through the very large landscape of scales and how to use them effectively.
#18
After our singer brought a new song he'd wrote down to practice the other night with awkward chords it clicked in my head how much use these intervals can be, the concept sort of clicked in my brain. On with learning them now, one thing I don't quite understand is when you move down to the high e, say you play a root note on the high e, what do you do then? You can't go down a string?
#19
Quote by Joelellis0114
After our singer brought a new song he'd wrote down to practice the other night with awkward chords it clicked in my head how much use these intervals can be, the concept sort of clicked in my brain. On with learning them now, one thing I don't quite understand is when you move down to the high e, say you play a root note on the high e, what do you do then? You can't go down a string?


Not sure I understand. I think you're talking about what happens if you "drop off" a string? If you can give me as specific an example as you can (e.g. "I want to play an interval of 7 semitones below a pitch on the treble E string ... what happens if instead of E at fret 0 I want to play Eb with same interval") I can help you.