Ok, so I'm trying to learn scales because I hear how it is very important when it comes to soloing and creating your own riffs. I've been practicing the harmonic minor scale and the c major scale and the minor petatonic scales, but I don't know how to really use them. Basically, I'm completely confused about the whole theory about scales, I checked the lessons on the website but it seems like I don't really find what I want from that. I need the basic detailed info about what are scales and how do I use them. I also want to know how bands use these scales to come up with their riffs or do they just play random notes until something sounds right?

if your song is in a certain sound like e major or something, you use any notes in the e major scale and you can basically solo with it sounding good, it depends on what key your song is in then you find the scale for that key and you're good.
just keep messing around and you should get a feel for what works, what doesnt. just keep improvising different rythms. listen to some of your more technical influences and take in what theyre doing. thats what i would personally advise.

if you want to get really technical, you'll need to know the rhythm chords that are being played, which you plan to solo over. generally you can take the the 3 (triad?) notes that make up that chord. for instance the C chord would be the notes C, E, and G. by sticking to those, or empasizing those notes, you will end up with technically "good" sounding solos, but notes dont have to fit in perfectly to sound amazing. originality is always good.

EDIT: for example the chord C is being played, so you emphasize the C, E, and G notes but can still use other notes throughout your C major melodic/pentatonic scale that your probably using. the chord changes to an A minor. now you want to empasize the notes A, C, and E, because those are the notes that make up your simple A chord.
Last edited by skaguitarist53 at Nov 24, 2007,
A scale is a pattern of notes ascending or descending moving from one note to it's octave, e.g. C Major is C D E F G A B C. Each note in a scale creates a distinct interval between it and the root note. These intervals are what makes a note have a certain feel to it in one key and a different feel in another. For example. The G in a C Major scale is the perfect 5th, and sounds different when used in the Key of C as opposed to when used in the Key of E and that same G now becomes a minor 3rd.

If you know anything about chords, you then know that basic chord structure tends to be done in Tritones (3-tone) chords. A major chord uses the 1st, Major 3rd, and Perfect 5th of that key's scale. Minor chords use the 1st, Minor 3rd, Perfect 5th. I know this seems redundant, but here is my point. A certain key's chord progression depends upon the scale used in that key. If we use the notes of the scale, say C Major, we can arrive at certain chords. C Major, D minor, E minor, F Major, G Major, A minor, B diminished. Each scale creates its own set of chords, and thus it's own sound. Now all major scales, create the same pattern of chords, but simply in different key's and actually certain keys sound different even though their intervals are the same, typically the Key of F is considered to be a darker key to write in.

In short, a scale can be any pattern you create leading from one note to its octave, but you must understand that each scale comes with it's own rules. Once you understand the rules, you can then learn where to break them, e.g. I like to throw a Major 7th near the end of my Minor scale runs. If used right, you get a really cool dissonant feel.

I hope this was helpful,
oh jeez, you open up a whole can of worms here....

your last sentence is actually really how it all works, people play around with different parts of scales to make riffs. also scales are how you determine the chords in a song. a few simple things to note.

A scale has 8 notes, we'll take C major cause its got no sharps or flats

the notes are C D E F G A B then back to C, theses are known respectivly by their roman numeral names, I II III IV V VI VII, then C is I again. most theorists refer to things by their roman numeral names.

if you take a major scale, you take the I, III, and V notes to make the Major Chords, in this case C E G makes up the C major chord.

for soloing, you find the key the song's in (or the chords being played during the solo) and apply the same key scale to it (IE a song is in C major, so use the C major scale)

A scale is made of a certain number of half and whole steps, a major scale goes

root-whole step-whole step-half step-whole step-whole step-whole step-half step
^^just as a note, the root is also the key of the current scale

now if you play this scale, but start and end on a different root (say D E F G A B C D) then you have a new MODE of C major (its technically called D Dorian, but you'll look this up as you need it) it still has the same chord pattern as C major, but you can solo in D dorian and add a new flavor to the song. eventually you'll notice patterns and start soloing even better. (this won't all make sense at once, trust me, it'll take time and practice)

Chords are determined by a set formula. I, IV, and V are major chords. II, III, and VI are minor, and VII is a diminished. so the chords for C major are: Cmaj, Dmin, Emin, Fmaj, Gmaj, Amin, Bdim

i may have more info you like, email me @ snboarder592@hotmail.com if you have any more questions

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