#1
I am trying to learn music theory from my teacher, but having a hard time integrating what he is teaching
vs. some of the vast information I read online (surprise!).

When talking about scales, he uses the term "shape 7" or "shape 3" to mean that "you are starting the
scale on the 7th (or 3rd) note of the scale.

So when playing A Major starting at the 4th fret (G#), it is Shape 7 because G# is the 7th note in the
scale.

So my question is, are "shapes" and "patterns" the same thing? It seems like these terms are not
used consistently everywhere. I also see that many people refer to the shapes by their CAGED
names, e.g. "C Shape". .

Here is a good example, from a site I like and trust:

https://www.justinguitar.com/en/SC-204-MajorScalePatterns.php

He refers to the patterns with number 1-5, even though within the text, he does refer to the
starting scale number (or mode) in a couple of places. But what he calls pattern 1, is, I believe,
what my teacher calls "shape 7", as I described above for A Major.

If anyone can suggest a place to tie together these concepts, I would appreciate it.

Also, I understand that not all starting notes are equally useful. My teacher said to use 3, 5, 6, 7, and 2.
Is the fact that there are 5 of these related to the 5 CAGED positions?

"My brain hurts" - D.P. Gumby

Mitch
Fender American Strat
1978 Alvarez Yairi DY57
#2
I never learnt CAGED, but self-taught scales and modes. The first thing I would point out is that "Pattern 1" that Justin Guitar is stating is confusing as it starts from the 7th note rather than the root - as you mention. It also ends on the 9th note, which is a bizarre way to look at it. I prefer to think from root to root - note to octave. But that's me, the beauty of guitar is you can approach this any way you prefer and come up with your own system - which I would encourage you to do - take what you like from others and then form your own approach by combining your favorite elements - that will help you retain the information, since you're creatively applying yourself, and it help you have your own sound.

There is no consensus on terminology or how to organize shapes or patterns- I found it easier to simply learn C major frontwards and backwards starting on each string to the next octave up, and then did the same thing for each of the modes of C major. In my view, if you don't know the modes, you don't know the scale, it's as simple as that.
#3
reverb66 Sounds like good advice. Being an engineer, I guess I naively hoped to find the one holy grail explanation! Thanks!
Fender American Strat
1978 Alvarez Yairi DY57
#4
this is one of those situations where guitar teachers convolute stuff so much to make it accessible that they only make life harder for you.

something tells me he doesn't understand what modes actually are and might be blowing smoke up your ass. there is virtually no reason to be practicing scales like that outside of familiarizing yourself with different intervals and warming your hands up
modes are a social construct
#5
Using only the root of the scale as a starting point in all position is yet another variation to learn the scale..and once learned well using other notes as starting points makes connecting different patterns easier..doing this in all 12 keys is yet another way to learn all the notes on the fretboard and the beginning of chord construction in different positions and their inversions
play well

wolf
#6
Quote by wolflen
Using only the root of the scale as a starting point in all position is yet another variation to learn the scale..and once learned well using other notes as starting points makes connecting different patterns easier..doing this in all 12 keys is yet another way to learn all the notes on the fretboard and the beginning of chord construction in different positions and their inversions


or you could just teach your student music then break it down from real world examples

every exercise should be in a musical context
modes are a social construct
#7
I made up my own pattern.
People learn differently.
I found I remember numbers easier.

So I use 357 357 4 for the G major scale, meaning the frets. Start with the G on the A string 3rd fret. It would be GAB on the low E string, CDE on the A string, and F# on the G string.

So on C major if you start on the 3rd fret of the A string it would be CDE then FGA on the D string, then B on the G string.

A major would be 579 579 6

If this confuses you, don't worry about it. Try something else.
It's whatever makes sense to YOU.
#8
There are five patterns with the CAGED. Every alphabet represents one pattern and in that pattern you can find the corresponding chordal shape. For instance in C-pattern (...which refers to pattern 3 in Justin's guitar and also pattern 3 in your teacher's system, since major third is the first note) you can find the basic C-shape (barred, unless played in open position) in there. Shape _here_ meaning all the notes that make up a triad (root, 3rd's and 5th's) and pattern being the shape of notes that include the whole scale (root, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

I think your teacher's way of naming the patterns is good, since it's good to know the intervals (where you are in relation to the root). Justin's method of naming with numbers is much used, but it's not a better way of identifying a pattern, just different.

I'd ask these things from your teacher, since he/she probably can give you a good answer.
Last edited by Tim_Rock at Jan 30, 2017,
#9
Quote by mitchmcconnell1
I am trying to learn music theory from my teacher, but having a hard time integrating what he is teaching
vs. some of the vast information I read online (surprise!).

When talking about scales, he uses the term "shape 7" or "shape 3" to mean that "you are starting the
scale on the 7th (or 3rd) note of the scale.
Sounds reasonable... (better than calling them "modes" at least... )
Quote by mitchmcconnell1

So when playing A Major starting at the 4th fret (G#), it is Shape 7 because G# is the 7th note in the
scale.

So my question is, are "shapes" and "patterns" the same thing?
Well, I would use the term "pattern" for anything consisting of a whole scale. So I'd disagree with your teacher there.
Quote by mitchmcconnell1

It seems like these terms are not
used consistently everywhere. I also see that many people refer to the shapes by their CAGED
names, e.g. "C Shape". .
Yes.
This is because the CAGED system is based on chord shapes. A chord shape is also a "pattern" of course, but obviously most guitarists use the word "shape". Your hand is in a fixed position when playing a chord, each finger(tip) forming part of the shape. You could "join the dots" of a chord "pattern" and form a solid 2D shape.
When playing a scale, you don't hold every note at the same time. There are 2 or 3 notes in each string. Join the dots and you'd have a complex web, not a simple "shape". That's why "pattern" is better, IMO.

Distinguishing between "shape" and "form", OTOH, is a useful distinction between the sound of a chord, and the appearance of the shape on the fretboard. So you can play a "G chord" (sound) using a "C form" (on 7th fret). Of course, you could still get confused calling it a "C shape" (because it looks like the C shape/sound in open position).
This is the fundamental flaw with the (otherwise good) CAGED system, in that it uses names for its five shapes based on the arbitrary shapes that EADGBE tuning produces for those five chord sounds in open position. You need to be comfortable with the double-think required to look at a shape, see it as (say) "C shape/form" while knowing it's actually producing a "G" (or whatever) chord.

The CAGED system also extends beyond the chord forms themselves into the major scale patterns for each shape. E.g., the C major scale formed around the open position C chord forms the major scale for that shape wherever it is on the fretboard. The great advantage of the system is it maintains that link between scales (hard to remember "patterns") and chords (easy to remember "shapes") - with a proper musical link between them.
Quote by mitchmcconnell1

Also, I understand that not all starting notes are equally useful. My teacher said to use 3, 5, 6, 7, and 2.
Is the fact that there are 5 of these related to the 5 CAGED positions?
Yes. If I read that right:

Pattern 3 = C form
Pattern 5 = A form
Pattern 6 = G form
Pattern 7 = E form
Pattern 2 = D form

It may help to check them all out in open position: with 6th string E as lowest note in each one. That's the 3rd of the C major scale; 5th of the A major scale; 6th of G major; 7th of F major*; 2nd of D major. Notice how the scales fit around those chord shapes.

(*NB: the lowest note of the "7" pattern is one fret below the barre shape of the chord form - eg if playing the A major scale from the "7" pattern, you begin on 4th fret E string, but the corresponding chord shape - the "E" form - is a 5th fret barre. That's why that pattern gives you F major in open position and not E.

Justin's are probably the best guitar lessons online btw. As a teacher myself, I have no problem recommending them to my students (to check out between lessons), even though I've not checked through all of them. You should be able to iron out any semantic differences between his approach and your teacher's!
Last edited by jongtr at Jan 30, 2017,
#10
Quote by Hail
this is one of those situations where guitar teachers convolute stuff so much to make it accessible that they only make life harder for you.


I would agree with this.

It sounds like your teacher is really beating around the bush when it comes to actual note names and scale relationships. S/he is probably trying to teach you something that is immediately useful for playing real music, which is often necessary for beginning students, but taken too far, it becomes really confusing. It's likely that your teacher will start filling in those patterns with actual note names and explain the different relationships, once you have the patterns memorized.

You can also learn this stuff from the ground up, where you start with the raw information of how to build the major scale and work out all the scale positions for yourself. In my opinion that's the superior method, but it's pretty time consuming and takes longer to get the point of using the scales for real music.

If you're an engineer I'm sure you can handle the rigor of applying a formula to the fretboard, which is really all that scales are - repeating interval patterns. If you really want this stuff to make total sense in an organized way, just ask your teacher about the major scale formula. It's pretty simple, and if you have the patience you can derive all the same patterns, but with note names attached so you actually know what you're playing.