#1
So i just learned all these scales
But how I use them?
Do i play the notes within the scale and add a few bends and what not. But stay with the notes of scale?
How can i use them to my advantage
Thank you
#2
improvise over a backing track
"ba doo doo ba doo doo ba doo daa"
- earth,wind, and fire
#3
Quote by hecks
improvise over a backing track

Good advice, but I don't believe it's enough.

juanbustos556: when you say you've 'learned all these scales', I suspect what you mean is that you've learned a bunch of shapes, and that's good; please don't let anyone tell you that knowing all these shapes and positions is a bad thing. It's only a good starting point though; a scale is not a shape, and learning a shape isn't the same thing as knowing a scale, not in any meaningful way anyway.

What you want to do from here is get used to the sound of these shapes. How do the notes relate to each other? How do you build chords out of them? What does it sound like if you play that scale over some backing tracks? Not even in terms of licks or anything like that, but how do these notes sound in context?

Basically, these shapes give you a good way of visualizing the fretboard, and that is incredibly valuable, but to really know a scale you want to know what sounds it will help you make. Use the shapes to help you build a picture of how notes relate to each other in terms of sound.

Really that's what they are, they're a collection of things (shapes, in the case of guitar) that will tell you how certain notes sound together or next to each other in time; they're a formal way of telling you that if you hear a certain sound then you should play these notes to get that sound yourself.
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#4
Hi juanbustos556,

as Zaphod_Beeblebr already pointed out, shapes are the key to improvisation on the guitar. There are 5 shapes for the pentatonic scale, but it's sufficient enough to start with one of them, like the 5th pentatonic mode (commonly also known as the minor pentatonic shape).

Next you have to learn a few motifs, sequences or licks. Think of them as building blocks that you can later use for improvisation by connecting them to each other. That's what basically most guitar players do. They have a selection of a few building blocks they use over and over again.

Once you have learned a few building blocks, start playing them over a backing track. At first, practice them individually. After some time try connecting them to each other. Once that works, you can start mixing in different shapes or moving between them.
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Last edited by fl.lettner at Jan 24, 2017,
#5
To construct a song you need to either:

1: start with a melody under which you can harmonise chords, or:

2: start with chord progressions / riffs over which you can write a melody.

Scale 'shapes' will help you to improvise a lead part or solo, where your fingers need to go to the right place quickly, but they don't (usually) help to write a full song.
#6
Thank you all for your help. But how can i use it to make a melody
For example G scale/shape
I know it
How do I use it
Do i just play the scale shape with the right backing track? Because it seems we would run out of music quickly like that.
#7
juanbustos556
yeah it would seem so. I guess you are out of luck. Just kidding.


In the case of soloing in 'Gmajor', you can solo anywhere there is an Gmajor.
However that is not the only case,
for example; it is also about seeing the relationships between scales.
You don't have to solo in Gmajor for the whole song, you can solo in the rMinor, Em!


I'd go on learning some guitar licks and try to combine them over a backing track. It's a good start that'll help you see the relationship between the lick and the scale.
"ba doo doo ba doo doo ba doo daa"
- earth,wind, and fire
#8
Quote by fl.lettner

as Zaphod_Beeblebr already pointed out, shapes are the key to improvisation on the guitar. There are 5 shapes for the pentatonic scale, but it's sufficient enough to start with one of them, like the 5th pentatonic mode (commonly also known as the minor pentatonic shape).

Next you have to learn a few motifs, sequences or licks. Think of them as building blocks that you can later use for improvisation by connecting them to each other. That's what basically most guitar players do. They have a selection of a few building blocks they use over and over again.

Once you have learned a few building blocks, start playing them over a backing track. At first, practice them individually. After some time try connecting them to each other. Once that works, you can start mixing in different shapes or moving between them.


Actually Zaphod was saying the complete opposite, shapes are NOT the key to improvisation on the guitar. The key to good improvisation is to forget the guitar and start approaching things musically rather than mechanically. Focussing too much on a pre-learned library of licks just leads to unispired, generic cookie-cutter solos -you should be choosing what to play based on the sound you want, not what "block" fits next.
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#9
Instead of scales you should focus on intervals. Learn patterns where you don't play the notes on the scale in order, but rather for example the first note of the scale, then the 4th, then the 2nd, then the 5th etc. You will instantly hear your phrases sound more musical than "excercisy". Experiment and learn what feelings different intervals invoke. That is a good start for you to start improve your melodic improvisation.
#10
Okay thank you all. But when i solo in g major for example do I only use the notes played in the G major shapes?
#11
Chords and scales are simply your musical vocabulary, like words and punctuation. Start telling stories. A great story = a great song or solo.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

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#12
fl.lettner I'm just going to echo what Steven Seagull said here and say that... no, I absolutely did not say that shapes are the key to improvisation at all. Knowing your instrument and building a link between the music in your head and the guitar is the key to improv, and scales help with that... but ultimately, shapes are incidental and knowing what sounds can be found where on the instrument is the important stuff.

Quote by juanbustos556
Okay thank you all. But when i solo in g major for example do I only use the notes played in the G major shapes?

You can, or you can choose to you literally any note you want, that's the great thing about art; it's entirely up to you.
Again I want to emphasize two things:
  1. A shape is not a scale, it only tells you where to find a scale on the guitar in a specific tuning. That may seem like a silly semantic distinction but it's very important: the shape is purely incidental.
  2. The sound is the important thing. Don't just play a shape. Really think about the sound you want to make and how to achieve it. Don't worry if it takes you a while to get from the idea to the mechanics, that will speed up in time the more you play with thought about what you're doing.


It might benefit you to only play the notes of the key you're in when you're learning... but don't take that to be a rule. No one who matters will care what notes you're using, they will only care about the sound it all makes.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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#14
Hey Zaphod_Beeblebr, what I wanted to say is that scales and shapes are a great tool that you can use to put into practice what's in your head. As you said, it's all about telling a story, creating a feeling or particular sound. Shapes and scales simply can help to achieve that.
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#15
So i try to make a melody that stands out to me with the notes within the shape im using correct?
Thank you for your help its starting to sense
#16
Quote by juanbustos556
So i just learned all these scales
But how I use them?
Do i play the notes within the scale and add a few bends and what not. But stay with the notes of scale?
How can i use them to my advantage
Thank you


that's almost it.
over time you will find certain patterns or licks that you like in the scale that you will like.

bend notes, hammer on/pull off, clide up to then or down from then, vibrato ect. don't be afraid to use notes that aren't in the scale as passing notes either.

as far as songs/ chords go, same thing. generally, the chords come from the scale of the key that the song is in.
go to a live jam and jump up on stage with some experienced musicians. you'll soon figure it out. it worked for me anyway.
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Well, technically it could be done, but only in the same way that you could change a cat into a hamburger. It's an unpleasant process, and nobody is happy with the result.
#18
How in the bloody hell are we supposed to answer that question? Play your guitar!!!! Just play it!
#19
mobidguitar I don't know if you noticed but there are already plenty of good beginnings to answers in the thread

Seriously though, second post of yours I've seen and all you have to say is "just play", which isn't at all helpful, perhaps you could try thinking about what we do instead, just for a minute?
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#20
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
mobidguitar I don't know if you noticed but there are already plenty of good beginnings to answers in the thread

Seriously though, second post of yours I've seen and all you have to say is "just play ", which isn't at all helpful, perhaps you could try thinking about what we do instead, just for a minute?


It mean, pick up the guitar, put on some music and play along with it. Do it for many years. You cant just write a solo because you learned some scales. That's what im trying to say. You have to practice. Not sure what part of that is hard to understand.

It will just come naturally, so that way you don't have to ask people on the internet how to play your guitar for you.
#21
I actually find it a little ridiculous how many guitarists and teachers have a shape fetish, this doesn't happen with any other instrument. Learn to play in Key. Learn the notes of your guitar, learn how to work out what notes are in what key, and you'll have a far happier life, and you'll sound so much better. Learn some theory, if you've got a keyboard, or notation software, use that a bit, it'll help your playing so much more in the long run.
#22
Quote by CelestialGuitar
I actually find it a little ridiculous how many guitarists and teachers have a shape fetish, this doesn't happen with any other instrument. Learn to play in Key. Learn the notes of your guitar, learn how to work out what notes are in what key, and you'll have a far happier life, and you'll sound so much better. Learn some theory, if you've got a keyboard, or notation software, use that a bit, it'll help your playing so much more in the long run.

I'm gonna go ahead and +1 this...

Also, if you have any way to record what you're playing, do so, and use that to play over and come up with a melody/solo. Depending one your setup there are multiple ways to achieve this and there's some free software (I used Audacity for years... it's not the best but it'll work) to help you out. A loop pedal is ideal but they can get kind of pricey. Just record what you play, study your theory, and most importantly, use your ear! The shapes will help you get a sense of what the scale/key should sound like, but don't use it as a crutch. And at the end of the day, wrong notes aren't always wrong. If you make a "mistake" (aka an accidental) just repeat it the next time around and it'll sound like it's supposed to be there.
#23
juanbustos556,

What you are looking for is musical judgement, which means you are straight on course. This takes a while to develop because it is all about making selections and choices of what to play. The fundamental basis for this judgement rests on hearing in your head what it is going to sound like before you play something.

With time on the instrument, your fingers and ears are going to learn together how to do a pretty magical interaction - both the fingers and ears will learn that once you have played and heard a particular pitch, both fingers and ears will know the pitches of the frets/string positions around that pitch.

"Positions around that pitch" may appear to look like patterns, shapes, scales, and fingerings, etc.; but these are really just expressions of the underlying sound of what you want to hear when you play. This connection one develops with time between the sounds made by the fingers and the sounds heard in one's head before, during, and after playing a sound is sometimes called "muscle memory", but eventually, when you are naturally singing from your mind's ear through your fingers to play what you want to hear, it is more like "muscle melody". That is really what it feels like when singing through your fingers.

As you learn to do this your "range" within which your fingers and ears can hear in advance the pitches around where you are playing on the finger board becomes broader and more extended, admitting many more possible ideas to play, so musical judgement becomes increasingly important.

The advice to "Play your guitar!!!! Just play it!" is actually the best; everything comes from exploration, discovery, listening, and inventing methods of grasping and integrating what is going on with the guitar and the music.

Hope this is helpful.
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#25
hecks I would start with a good melody and a chord progression that fits your scale.

I learned alot from randy rhoads, he was such an amazing player. Emulation and improvised practice is the way id go. You can learn how someone else has done what your asking and throw good licks you know in there and see if it fits or not.

Tieing everything together for me was the hardest part. A great solo has a good beginning, middle, and ending. I always try and remember that
Last edited by ShredderMan1 at Feb 10, 2017,
#26
I usually just come up with some notes that work for a melody then using those notes and other chords I make a chord progression to go with the melody
#27
For using scales for songrwriting purposes, check out the F#m scale in 2nd position and compare it the main riff in "Crazy Train". Good example of using a scale for a riff. Also notice the first little lead fill in the Back in Black riff is just going down the Em pentatonic scale in open position. Check out all the tasty licks in between the riffs in Sweet Home Alabama, it's all just the G major pentatonic scale. The song is in D Mixolydian which is the same as G major so that scale works great. The main riff of Seven Nation army is just an Em scale on one string. Nearly every song you can think of with a riff is coming from scale tones plus or minus a few notes. As you learn more songs, analyze the key and see how they're using the notes of the scales and in what position or positions they're coming from and these things will start to reveal themselves to you
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#28
A scale is not ,usually a solo.Take a moment to let that sink in before you gasp at how incredibly underwhelming a statement this is.Take a second moment to get over the sarcastic replies that are filling your head as well.And then think how do you go about practicing solos.Many guitarists don't really practice soloing at all.They practices scale and think that they are practicing solos.At their heart,the great solos we remember are like miniature songs ,songs within songs.
#29
Quote by Johnclair24
At their heart,the great solos we remember are like miniature songs ,songs within songs.


Very nice. Like the songs within which they appear, solos are musical messages. Scales don't convey musical messages; but their notes can form messages by choosing notes melodically, playing them rhythmically, and phrasing them expressively. Solos don't come from scales; they come with having something musical to say...
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#30
I've been working with year 5/6 (9-11 year old) school children this half term and we've learnt how to play a simple one octave G major pentatonic scale. We've used it to improvise and compose short melodies. I always remind the children that they can use as many or as little notes from the scale as they like as well as other musical devices such as repetition, using inverted or retrograde sections (they love doing this). They experiment with rests and different durations of notes and the results are actually quite good. We use sol fa and explain the notes from the pentatonic scale in relation to the major scale and then put the pieces on the big screen for the whole class (30+ pupils) to play. Some of the titles of the compositions are hilarious!
Last edited by Majicmanmaj at Feb 11, 2017,
#31
Quote by spacepizza125
I'm gonna go ahead and +1 this...

Also, if you have any way to record what you're playing, do so, and use that to play over and come up with a melody/solo. Depending one your setup there are multiple ways to achieve this and there's some free software (I used Audacity for years... it's not the best but it'll work) to help you out. A loop pedal is ideal but they can get kind of pricey. Just record what you play, study your theory, and most importantly, use your ear! The shapes will help you get a sense of what the scale/key should sound like, but don't use it as a crutch. And at the end of the day, wrong notes aren't always wrong. If you make a "mistake" (aka an accidental) just repeat it the next time around and it'll sound like it's supposed to be there.

Bob
+1too-also the advice to record.

I also agree that picking your guitar up and playing is essential but not blindly and rather in an organised way, e.g, practice what you want to hear in your playin (licks and ideas) then put in a backing track and try to get the idea into your playing. Also, spend time working on your ears (ear master and transcribe are both great ways of doing this). Do this early! Learn your intervals. One thing that really helps when you first start out is working out the notes in a chord (G = G B D) and come up with a short phrase or lick which uses those notes. Find a backing track which repeats a G chord in a progression and only play your luck on the G then repeat. See my website for some further advice on apps and technology and how to practice - https://tunein-toneup.com/apps-technology-and-practice-time/ and also my last podcast episode is called a crash course in blues improvisation: https://soundcloud.com/tunein-toneup/guitar-lesson-7-a-crash-course-in-blues-improvisation-and-soulful-jamming