#1
so I've finally realized what makes a really good guitarist better than a crappy one even if the crappy one can play faster. I never really understood theory or how music was written, I just enjoyed playing a few songs but now that I've learned most of the important scales for my style Blues/rock the whole picture is emerging and I'm beginning to see what separates the amazing from the average. Now I do have one problem and I need some advice for it, how do you guys map out the fretboard for each scale/key in your head. I've got the notes on the fretboard about 95% meaning only a fraction of the time will I stumble and have to think what note I'm playing but I realize using the same method I've been using is going to take forever to learn everything. What I used to do is say to myself ok play A major for one hour, then after the hour play in E major, or just pick which key I feel weakest in and play in it. Then after that I'd play scales trying to map the notes of the scale to the key. I guess my problem is learning every scale in every key is going to take forever and I'm wondering if there are any shortcuts or if eventually the process will speed up. There is a lot of stuff I have learned that I didn't mention I just listed what is pertinent at the moment, for the most part chords treat me really well.
Last edited by farcry at Nov 15, 2007,
#2
um.... just play! youll do great! praise jesus!

oh and i concure on the speed comment near the beginning. i dont give a **** how fast you can play
#3
Practice, practice, practice. It's a cliche and redundant but it's the truth. When I was learning theory and scales, I wouldn't even use a guitar. I'd simply play the scale in my "mind" this helped me when I went back to the fret board immensely.
#4
personally (and i hate to say this because i shouldn't do this) but i think of the scale degrees, not necessarily the notes. i do know the notes and could tell them to you instantly, but when soloing i don't think "ok i want to hit the C" i think "ok im going up to the VI"
#5
Quote by z4twenny
personally (and i hate to say this because i shouldn't do this) but i think of the scale degrees, not necessarily the notes. i do know the notes and could tell them to you instantly, but when soloing i don't think "ok i want to hit the C" i think "ok im going up to the VI"


yeah I know what you mean, I was asking about the learning scales not for practical playing but so that when I am playing I have the pictures of the fretboard mapped out like a paint by numbers. When I am just goofing around I don't think ok this is C then hit F then G then C again or something like that it just helps me see the whole fretboard, I more see the notes as sounds and after enough practice I can pretty much identify any note being played not by name right away but instantly I can locate it with my fingers just because it's second nature now. I always found it weird how the same notes sound a little different on each string and it annoys me a little, with distortion its not noticable but clean it becomes really apparent to me on the higher frets.

furthermore, from a psychological perspective I think its best to think as the notes in terms of sounds and not names when playing because of subvocalization(sp?), it's when you say things silently in your head. If you're saying, ok C to G that's the fifth it takes a heck of a lot more time than just knowing what it sounds like and making your fingers play it.
Last edited by farcry at Nov 15, 2007,
#6
^ well thats not exactly what i meant. if someone says to me "hey the chords are Amin, E, C, G" i'll look at the fretboard and see all the notes for A min, then E, then C, then G. i know that this certain group of notes is a major shape and on these different spots its these different chords and the 1-3-5 is here here and here. i don't see A minor, i see a i in the key of A if that makes any sense (and subsequently i see a V III and VII)
#7
yeah I get what you mean and it's completely different from how I play, not a bad thing or anything. I don't really think of the tonic/dominant/subdominant and how to create proper cadences, it's just kind of given to me in my head what's going to sound good and trying going against it usually sounds bad, sometimes a chord will be screaming out to me to be played and I can tell it's a resolution to a certain sound phrase. Like seeing the fretboard in terms of a scale when soloing and seeing it in terms of chord construction are no different and I just construct the chords on the fly based on what pops into my head. I don't know if this is wrong or if it makes any sense at all but it's working ok so far.
#8
^ hey man if it works for you, go with it. but i recommend at the same time expanding your knowledge and the basis for how you write. you can never learn too much!
#9
I do try to learn as much as I can, I've read a lot about chord theories and understand it but I can never come up with a good chord progression by picking one chord and starting from there it just doesn't work for me, there's no life in the chords when I do this and it usually sounds like crap even if it is properly formed. Some bands like Pink Floyd could create entire songs based on one note or chord because they could put life into it and I try and take the same approach, other bands like The Beatles who take an entirely different approach to songwriting would work better with the conventional chord progression theory. Well that's my 2 bits, thanks for the insight.
#10
try this exercise. take a chord, any chord you want. and play it as many different ways as you can think of, arpeggiated, fingerpicked, strummed, slow, fast, soft, heavy, medium, distorted, clean and variants of patterns within that. find new and different rhythms and approaches to it. this is basically a variation on the "take one note and play it for 30 minutes and eventually you'll get tired of using the same rhythms you've always used and start making/using new patterns"
#11
As far as keys go -- it's a guitar! The huge advantage of guitar (over say a piano)
is that the shape of every scale is the same for every key.

I think as long as you try to think in terms of note names all the time, your playing
will be hampered. If you think of "mental" spaces -- there's a "note name" mental
space, and a "shape" mental space. I do 99% of my actual playing in the shape
space. It's so much faster.

A really key thing is to "see" any scale over the entire fretboard. The best way to
do that I found is to simply work on a variety of patterns that move both horizontally
and vertically on the neck. A lot of people I think ignore the up & down the neck
scale movement. If you do that, you'll always see the scale as disjointed slices
on the neck and never really get the big picture.
#12
Ok, first - NO NOTE NAMES NEEDED!

Really, you don't need to know it's Bb note, you need to know it's context. Context matters.

I prefer seeing all chord tones on the guitar for each chord that comes to play. Then, I play melody using chord tones as guide tones - and they are, no matter how you turn it. Of course I use other notes, but it is important to learn that chord tones carry the melody, chords in general. You could play a C scale for years, and once when you'd make a good melody, it'd turn out to follow some progression.

Not to mention that scale will never work well enough over the V chord. You could say I'm thinking something like modes, but I'm not. :-\

Hope this helps!
"The end result - the music - is all that counts"
#13
Quote by z4twenny
^ well thats not exactly what i meant. if someone says to me "hey the chords are Amin, E, C, G" i'll look at the fretboard and see all the notes for A min, then E, then C, then G. i know that this certain group of notes is a major shape and on these different spots its these different chords and the 1-3-5 is here here and here. i don't see A minor, i see a i in the key of A if that makes any sense (and subsequently i see a V III and VII)



Exactly what I do. See everything as a distortion of its major scale.
"The end result - the music - is all that counts"
#14
There's actually 2 very broad areas when it comes to improvising and note choices:
Harmonic Generalization (also called Triadic Generalization) and Harmonic
Specificity (also known as melodic control, change running, chord tone soloing...).

Of the two, what most beginners will tend to do is the first one because it's easier.
For example the II-V-I progression Dm7-G7-Cmaj7 would be viewed as just C major
and just run C major scale riffs with some eye to resolution (the 1-3-5 of the key
would be considered the main target notes irrespecitive of the actual chord
played which is why its also called triadic generalization). You can do some quite
cool stuff this way, but if you were to listen to the solo without the chords, you really
couldn't tell what the chord progression might be.

Specificity on the other hand is a lot harder because you're using a constantly
changing target of guide tones to hit. These guide tones are the main notes you'd
play to suggest the underlying chords.

One's not right and the other wrong. Specificity takes a lot more work however.
So, it helps to practice nothing but that. It will seem very restrictive at first. But,
over time you'll start finding those notes easier. Then when you go off on some
wild tangent you can land right on a guide tone whenever you want and it will sound
like you know what you're doing.
#15
Now, I think this discussion is pure gold. Because, all music follows this rules, all melodies. If you get my point...
"The end result - the music - is all that counts"
#16
Quote by edg
As far as keys go -- it's a guitar! The huge advantage of guitar (over say a piano)
is that the shape of every scale is the same for every key.

I think as long as you try to think in terms of note names all the time, your playing
will be hampered. If you think of "mental" spaces -- there's a "note name" mental
space, and a "shape" mental space. I do 99% of my actual playing in the shape
space. It's so much faster.

A really key thing is to "see" any scale over the entire fretboard. The best way to
do that I found is to simply work on a variety of patterns that move both horizontally
and vertically on the neck. A lot of people I think ignore the up & down the neck
scale movement. If you do that, you'll always see the scale as disjointed slices
on the neck and never really get the big picture.

Sounds like something Satch (god) would say. He calls them "linear scales."
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#17
Don't worry about memorizing the notes in each major scale. Just memorize your key signatures, and you automatically know what notes are in each scale.

@edg, can you elaborate on melodic control? I've always thought that it was incorporating arpeggios and following the chords, but if targetting the r, 3, 5, etc of each chord is part of the "simple" way, then what is melodic control? I hope that made sense.
Last edited by Spamwise at Nov 15, 2007,
#18
Quote by Spamwise

@edg, can you elaborate on melodic control? I've always thought that it was incorporating arpeggios and following the chords, but if targetting the r, 3, 5, etc of each chord is part of the "simple" way, then what is melodic control? I hope that made sense.


The "simple" way, Harmonic Generalization, only really targets 1,3,5 of the *key*.
That's something that is pretty static.

Harmonic Specifity would target each chord as it changes. The basis for that is the
2 main notes that determine a chords *quality* are the 3 and 7. So, the most
emphasis of the harmony in a solo would target those 2 notes of each chord.
Additionally, there's voice leading, guide tones and whatnot that are notes chosen
to "point" in a certain direction melodically to keep movement in the lines.

Chromatic movement is another very powerful melodic motion. For instance the
tritone dom7 sub. The main reason you can do a tritone sub is because both
chords have the same 3 & 7, but a tritone sub for the V7 chord in a II-V-I
progression also puts chromatic root motion in the chords.

That's just some of the concepts in Harmonic Specificity. The "Melodic Control" video
is good, but it's really not much more than a brief overview. There's no real
details in there.
#19
Ahh I see what you mean. I guess I didn't read your post as well as I should have. thanks for the reply.
#20
i found learning the shapes and patterns themselves worked best, and i wouldn't know what fret the next shape in a certain key would start on, but i'd know how to travel up the pattern, and eventually i remembered where the shapes started for each key after playing them a lot.
#21
Quote by felixdcat
Exactly what I do. See everything as a distortion of its major scale.


i just got smacked in the head with self-realization. I've known it for a while but never put it together. Anway to the point: I tend to think of all of my scales as a distortion of the minor scale. Blues much?
#22
Quote by Krusader187
i just got smacked in the head with self-realization. I've known it for a while but never put it together. Anway to the point: I tend to think of all of my scales as a distortion of the minor scale. Blues much?


Just PM me and I'll explain it to you. If you want to, of course
"The end result - the music - is all that counts"
#23
oh i get it, i know my major scales and such i just realized that when i play i tend to be more thought oriented on the relationships of things to minor scales. Especcially my chord work. It's more of a 'when i'm playing' thing than it is 'when i'm thinking' thing... i guess if that makes any sense.

but thanks bro!
#24
Quote by Krusader187
oh i get it, i know my major scales and such i just realized that when i play i tend to be more thought oriented on the relationships of things to minor scales. Especcially my chord work. It's more of a 'when i'm playing' thing than it is 'when i'm thinking' thing... i guess if that makes any sense.

but thanks bro!


Well, it's easy in fact. I will explain it via chords.
You know the progression is ii-V-I in the key of C. It's Dm, G, C. You just see the CAGED for D key, and flat the 3s to get a minor chord, plus you do some other stuff if you want to be in key completely (make the mode) and you play. It's easy. If you got any problems just ask. You don't really need to use any other scales.
"The end result - the music - is all that counts"