#1
I realize this is the most generic question I could possibly ask, but honestly I just don't get these scales. I've looked at a million lessons about scales on this very site and all of them make no sense to me. Can some please explain to me what the point of these scales are and which ones I should learn? I've read numerous explainations for scales and none of them really tell me anything. I've played a bunch of scales, but so what. I don't really get the point, and I don't know where to start. I also don't see how they will help. Anyone feel like giving this poor bastard some guidance?
#2
lol,

here man this is what i do...i dont know anything at all bout scales or chords im just using tablature and guitar pro 5 and am focusing on learning technique first rather than wasting all this time learning scales...

i figure ill learn scales n all that stuff when it is nessessary...im mainly focusin on solos by slash

this is just me though i am no expert on guitar.
#3
Learning scales isn't a waste of time, it will make you much better...
#4
of course its not its just a matter of preference of what you want to begin to learn.
#5
Yes, I've been playing for a year with no help and I figured I could just play without any theory but now I'm reading about how these scales will help you so much and how they are the most important thing you can learn on guitar, so I just want to be enlightened. I figure it's a good time to learn some theory, since I suck.
#7
learning scales is important because it improves your dexterity and speed. it would do you some good to learn one scale and to play it with a metronome. only set the metronome as fast as you can play the scale steadily without messing up. once you practice it for a while you start speeding up the metronome. learn more scales once you have got the one down. it willl be boring as hell but it will really help you. scales will help you with solos too because you can use theory and scales to improvise a solo.
#9
Quote by Unreal T
what have you been playing by the way?


I've been playing a wide range of things, from The Beatles to AFI to Opeth to Nirvana, etc. I don't have that much of a problem with playing, but I have ****ty speed and little sense of rhythm and I'm really not making any progress. I think i've realized that it's pretty much impossible to learn theory without an actual teacher beside you because I've read all these lessons online and I don't understand anything, I really don't know **** about music theory in any shape or form.
#10
if you get guitar pro 5 it will make it EXTREMELY much more easier to play ANYTHING...

all you do is d load the song tab from here and open guitar pro 5 with it. you can then see how exactly to play in rythm and even slow down the tempo so you can practice slower note by note...its an awesome program

yeah the other guy here said scales improve speed i believe that...
but for me i feel i can learn speed and rythm just by playin other ppl's solos first and eventually learning some nice soundin scales later on cause im sure im gona need to know em...this is just me tho so ya

and u gotta just FEEL the music and know it to play like ya hear it man!
Last edited by Unreal T at Jul 29, 2006,
#11
oh yeah go to the seventh paragraph Unreal T
Last edited by metal_skill at Jul 29, 2006,
#12
scales are used in music almost everywhere.
The major scale is possibly one of the most important things to know in music theory.

Scales are used to create chords, chord progressions, modes and much more.
You dont just come up with 3 notes and call them a chord, you have to work out its name using scales.


Learn scales!!!
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#13
Scales and chords are the foundation of music, and without knowledge of them writing and understanding music is almost impossible.

The first scale you should learn is the minor Pentatonic, learn where the notes are, then try to make licks and phrases from those notes. After a while it'll all make sense.
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#14
Try to learn the scales four boxes - This will help you a lot when you start to imrpovise solo's from them because you can move around the fret board, yet stay in key. You'll also then be able to switch key while playing scales if you start to learn more. It takes time though, not something that's gonna happen over night.
#15
Scales are the fundementals, if you learn them slash solos will come like water to a river. I realised this and i started learning scales yesterday lmao. Seriously it will make you a whole lot better. Theory is really useful too, all this may be boring but if you focus then you will become better in a shorter amount of time than if you didnt learn these things.
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#16
I come from a classical piano background so I don't have problems with theory. I HIGHLY reccommend getting a teacher if you are having trouble understanding music theory. Or, if you are old enough, you can take Music Theory I at most community colleges. If you're already in college you can take it at your college and use it as an elective. 3 fun credit hours! Basically, you should play this:

E-------------------------------5-8-----
B--------------------------5-8----------
G---------------------5-7---------------
D----------------5-7--------------------
A-----------5-7-------------------------
E------5-8------------------------------

^ That is the A Minor Pentatonic scale. Learn it WELL. Play it with a metronome for 10 minutes a day, with no mistakes, set at a low speed. It is much more important to play slow and perfect than quick and sloppy.

If you want to play a different minor pentatonic scale, just play the exact same pattern, but start on a different note on the low E string. For instance:

E-------------------------------7-10-----
B--------------------------7-10----------
G---------------------7-9----------------
D----------------7-9---------------------
A-----------7-9--------------------------
E------7-10------------------------------

^ B Minor Pentatonic

B------------------------------8-11-------
G------------------------8-10-------------
D------------------8-10-------------------
A------------8-10-------------------------
E------8-11-------------------------------

^ C Minor Pentatonic

It's much easier to understand this if you learn which note corresponds with each fret on your E strings. You see, the 8th fret on the E string is a C, so if you start the pattern with the 8th fret, you're playing a C scale. The 5th fret on the E string is an A so if you start there you are playing? An A scale!

I hope this has helped you understand music theory and scales a bit better. If not, just play the tabs I put on here to a metronome.
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#17
Oh yeah another thing, learn all the notes from frets 1-2 on the low E string (Althgough the notes are the same on the high E string), then it'll be much easier to stay in key. Plus if you learn the Minor Pentatonic scale pattern, and the notes on thee 12th fret, you'll immediately recognize what scale your playing, and it'll all go on from there.
#18
Scales are based on the modes and patterns of Music Theory.
You will probably get better feedback in the Musicians Talk Forum.
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#19
think of scales as the outline of music. 98% of successfull bands use scales and theory.
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#20
Here is why Scales are important-

For one, they help you in making your own songs and solos. You don't think guys like Clapton or Page, or Zakk Wylde or Petrucci just pull solos out of their asses do you? They are all based on scales.

Two, they do help you in playing other peoples solos in that you know the scale shape. For instance, when I first learned the Stairway to Heaven solo, it was really hard, because I didn't know why I was playing those notes or the real pattern they are from. Once I memorized the Minor Pentatonic scale, I had gone up and down it a hundred times, so the STH solo, which is out of the Minor Pentatonic scale, was cinch because I knew that shape so well.

Thrid, even if you make little solos without scale knowladge, it is IMPOSSIBLE to improvise without knowing any scale patterns. You can't just pull random notes out and make it sound good, you gotta know the scales.

Lastly, going up and down the shapes helps you infinitely with your speed and coordination.

Don't listen to anyone who just says "Play tabs and use guitar pro". Thats how bands like Green Day get started.
Last edited by CowboyUp at Jul 29, 2006,
#21
The mistake a lot of people do, is just memorize a scale and say...ok...I play this note, and I go two frets down, and then this string is 3 frets... etc...

of course im not an expert on this. But a scale is a series of notes that are a certain notes apart from each other. So while memorizing where you place your fingers does give you a scale. You need to know what note comes next, and where it is elsewhere on the fretboard to be able to fully use scales in songs.

Theres a program called freboard warrior or fret warrior, or something which is pretty cool for learning notes on a fretboard. Im still trying to learn them. But basically you know EADGBE Tuning, and you learn the 6th fret A# D# G# C# F A#, and I just count backwards or forwards depending on where its close enough..

I still need a lot of work...lol
#22
Ok, theres some ignorance as to what scales are in this thread. Im going to explain in detail exactly what scales are.

Lets begin with everyone memorizing this phrase:

"Scales are not shapes or boxes. They are a sequence of notes depending on an order of intervals"


Contrary to popular belief, the Pentatonic scales are not the first scales you should learn.
The Chromatic and Major scales are the very very basics.


The Chromatic Scale
On a guitar, you have frets. Each fret plays a different note. There are twelve notes.
These are the notes:


A -> A#/Bb -> B -> C -> C#/Db -> D -> D#/Eb -> E -> F -> F#/Gb -> G -> G#/Ab


Ok, lets explain this.
the symbol '#' means sharp.
the symbol 'b' means flat.

Every note of this scale, has a sharp, and a flat.
A Semitone, means going from one note, to the one next to it.
For example, going UP a semitone from A, gives you A#.
Going DOWN a semitone from A, gives you Ab.
A Semitone is also called a HALF STEP.


Understand?
Ok, now, lets look at "tones". These are also called WHOLE STEPS.
These are when you go from one note, jump over the next one, and get the one after it.

For example;
If we go UP a whole step from D, we miss D# and land on E.
If we go DOWN a whole step from D, we miss Db and land on C.

Get it?
Lets look at two pairs of notes.
The B and C, and E and F.

If you look at the scale above, you'll notice, there isnt a B#, Cb, E# of Fb.
This is because:
B# = C
Cb = B
E# = F
Fb = E

These are called Enharmonics. Enharmonic means "Two names for the same thing"
Enharmonics are shown in the scale above, with a forward slash '/'.

This means, if you play A# and Bb, they will sound exactly the same. If you play G# and Ab, they are exactly the same. And so on.


The Major Scale
The major scale. The building blocks of chords, progressions, modes etc.
The Major scale can be constructed using a pattern of Whole steps and Half steps.
Remember those? Check out the section above if you cant.

Ok, so the pattern, to build the major scale goes like this:

R  W  W  H  W  W  W  H


What does this mean?
Well, R stands for the ROOT NOTE.
W stands for a WHOLE STEP.
H stands for a HALF STEP.

Whats a root note? The root note, is your beginning note. It can be anything you want. A, B, D#, Gb F# etc.

Ok. Lets start constructing our scale.
Our root note will be C. You'll see why in a minute.


R  W  W  H  W  W  W  H
C


Now, we have placed the C note under the R to show that this is the root note.
The letter following the R is a W, which means we have to go UP a WHOLE STEP from C.
Remember:
C -> C#/Db -> D

So, we can put a D note under the W.

R  W  W  H  W  W  W  H
C  D


If we continue to do this, you will eventually get this pattern:

R  W  W  H  W  W  W  H
C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C


This, is the C Major scale!
Ill show you another Major scale, so you can look at it, and work out how its done:


R  W  W  H  W  W  W  H
F  G  A  Bb C  D  E  F



Applications of the Major scale
The Major scale can be used in alot of things.

The scale on the fretboard
Ok, we have the notes: C D E F G A B C. This is the C Major scale, but what does it sound like?
Well, to know this, we will need to put those notes on the fretboard. To do this, you will need to know where all the notes on the fretboard are.


      1           2         3           4         5           6
e|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|
B|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|----F-----|
G|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|
D|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|
A|-A# or Bb-|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|
E|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|

      7          8           9         10         11         12
e|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|
B|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|----B-----|
G|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|
D|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|
A|----E-----|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|
E|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|


The numbers indicate frets.

Ok, first of all, lets put our root note on the LOW E string.
Remember, our root note is C. Therefore, find the C note on the Low E string.
Its the 8th fret.

Our tab so far:

e|-----|
B|-----|
G|-----|
D|-----|
A|-----|
E|--8--|


The next note in our major scale is D. Look for the D note on the Low E string. Its the 10th fret. Apply this to your tab:


e|---------|
B|---------|
G|---------|
D|---------|
A|---------|
E|--8--10--|


The next note is E. This note is more easily played on the A string, therefore, find the E note on the A string.
Its the 7th fret:


e|------------|
B|------------|
G|------------|
D|------------|
A|---------7--|
E|--8--10-----|


If you keep doing this for all the notes, you'll eventually get this tab:

e|---------------------------------8-10--|
B|----------------------------8-10-------|
G|---------------------7-9-10------------|
D|--------------7-9-10-------------------|
A|-------7-8-10--------------------------|
E|--8-10---------------------------------|


This is the tab for the C Major scale!


Other applications of the major scale include:
- Tabbing out scales
- Intervals are based on the major scale
- Chord are constructed using the Major scale
- You can build chord progressions based on the major scale
- You can create 7 more scales (modes) based on the major scale, these are:
- - Ionian
- - Dorian
- - Phrygian
- - Lydian
- - Mixolydian
- - Aeolian
- - Locrian
- Imrprovisation
- Soloing


Like i said, you should learn the Major scale before any of the pentatonics. Pentatonic scales are built FROM the Major scale.

If you need any more help on anything, just write back and ill do my best!
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#23
Quote by Logz
Ok, theres some ignorance as to what scales are in this thread. Im going to explain in detail exactly what scales are.


If you are talking about me, that's not what I meant when I said Scale shapes were important. I meant that the solo was easier to learn because when I read a tab of it I knew it was out of the pentatonic scale that I had played hundreds of times up and down and it was much easier to put together and play.
#24
Quote by CowboyUp
If you are talking about me, that's not what I meant when I said Scale shapes were important. I meant that the solo was easier to learn because when I read a tab of it I knew it was out of the pentatonic scale that I had played hundreds of times up and down and it was much easier to put together and play.


I think Logz recognised that, but that was not the point he was making.

If you hang around the MT forum for a while, you'll see that there are numerous threads on scales, normally based around one problem - 'What the fuck?' - Why?

Because they've been taught as fingerboard patterns, so when the theory aspect of them comes into light, or expanding them across the whole fretboard comes in, people are just completely confused.

It's easy enough teaching a scale as a fretboard pattern, and it's easy enough learning a scale as a fretboard pattern - and of course, there's absolutely no harm in doing so, it's just most people will get confused and think of scales as only finger patterns - which is wrong.

'Scale shapes are important because it was much easier to put together and play' - Sure, no problem. But what's even easier and alot more creatively expanding is knowing the scale, it's scale degrees and intervals - that's when the scale becomes more than a finger pattern.
#26
Quote by CowboyUp
Well...you got me there. JohnLJones just owned me


I didn't own you, nor was I trying to.

The method you described was completely valid, but only up to an extent.

Sorry if I came across rude/conceited.

#28
Thank you everyone for your help and patience, and to Logz: I really appreciate the lengthy lesson, it helped me out in a lot of aspects and made things slightly clearer, but just one problem: When you refer to notes as C and D, etc. it means nothing to me because like I said, I know nothing about music theory. As far as instruments go, I only understand tabalature. So if you still feel like helping me, keep that in mind because I'll just get ridiculously confused. I want to learn all this music stuff but for that I'll need to get an actual teacher but I don't know when that will be... there's no way I can learn music on the internet, believe me, i've tried. For now I'm just trying to wrap my brain around different ways to improve my guitar playing, and i'm convinced that these scales are very important. So far, from all the help I've received, I've come to understand WHY these scales are important and what they're used for, and why I should learn them. But unfortunately that's all I've been able to thoroughly grasp...

Also, through my experience in teaching myself through trial-and-error, I've learned that going from certain notes on the fret board sounds ****ing terrible. It is my understanding that that's what these scales are for, for teaching you which note progressions make "sense". My understanding of this could be all wrong, but this is what I've gotten out of all this so far.
Last edited by serpent_sun at Jul 30, 2006,
#29
Ok, well, pick up your guitar and take a look at the fretboard.

Play this tab:

e|-----|
B|-----|
G|-----|
D|-----|
A|-----|
E|--0--|


Very simple.
Now, in music theory, we need to explain what this one fret sounds like. How do you explain a sound?! We give it a name.

We have 12 different names for ALL of the notes on the fretboard.
These names go from A to G.
Each name has a sharp (#) and a flat (b).
So in total, you have these names:
A -> A#/Bb -> B -> C -> C#/Db -> D -> D#/Eb -> E -> F -> F#/Gb -> G -> G#/Ab.

Now, where it says, for example:
A#/Bb the forward slash just means, they are the exact same thing.

e|-----|
B|-----|
G|-----|
D|-----|
A|-----|
E|--2--|

This sound, is commonly known as F#. But it can also be called Gb, because they are both the same. This is called enharmonic.


Ok, lets use a few examples:

e|-----|-----|--2--|-----|-----|-----|
B|-----|-----|-----|--1--|-----|-----|
G|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|--12-|
D|-----|--8--|-----|-----|-----|-----|
A|-----|-----|-----|-----|--4--|-----|
E|--5--|-----|-----|-----|-----|-----|
    A     Bb    F#    C     Db    G     


In this tab, i have played some random frets, then told you what that sounds name is.

So in the first part (5th fret Low E string) that sound is called an A.
8th fret D string is called Bb - and so on.

Now you know this, we can go back to the fretboard diagram i posted last time:

      1           2         3           4         5           6
e|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|
B|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|----F-----|
G|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|
D|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|
A|-A# or Bb-|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|
E|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|

      7          8           9         10         11         12
e|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|
B|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|----B-----|
G|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|
D|----A-----|-A# or Bb-|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|
A|----E-----|----F-----|-F# or Gb-|----G-----|-G# or Ab-|----A-----|
E|----B-----|----C-----|-C# or Db-|----D-----|-D# or Eb-|----E-----|


This gives every sound on the fretboard a name.
The fret numbers are wrote above the lines and go from 1 to 12.

They only go from one to 12, because after the 12th fret everything repeats itself.
So the 13th fret is exactly the same as the 1st fret.
14th = 2nd
15th = 3rd and so on.
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