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#1
I know that this question is probably asked a million times a day, but does anyone have any nice guides to learning scales and modes and about how to create chord progressions to go with them?

I've been trying to teach myself for a long long time and I have learned the major scales intervals and can remember Aolean sometimes. But whenever I want to apply these scales to improv or to learning other songs, my mind goes blank and its like all the time spent learning was for nothing. Instead, I end up just hitting notes for the most part and hoping for the best when changing strings.

Any suggestions? I am beyond frustrated with guitar and am losing inspiration to play, but I want to become a great guitar player and express my inner muses effortlessly.

Another thing, I usually don't have much time to practice daily (college and work). What do you suggest would help me grow more in those short periods of time.
#2
Quote by king1201989
I know that this question is probably asked a million times a day, but does anyone have any nice guides to learning scales and modes and about how to create chord progressions to go with them?

I've been trying to teach myself for a long long time and I have learned the major scales intervals and can remember Aolean sometimes. But whenever I want to apply these scales to improv or to learning other songs, my mind goes blank and its like all the time spent learning was for nothing. Instead, I end up just hitting notes for the most part and hoping for the best when changing strings.

Any suggestions? I am beyond frustrated with guitar and am losing inspiration to play, but I want to become a great guitar player and express my inner muses effortlessly.

Another thing, I usually don't have much time to practice daily (college and work). What do you suggest would help me grow more in those short periods of time.

Drawing the box shapes on a peice of paper will help.

Learning the box of each mode, and seeing how they all 'fit' together.

Chord Progressions are somewhat harder, but the work on the same Principle as scales.
#4
wow, I love the learn your theory lesson. That really helped a lot. Now how can i practice to play a scale all the way up the neck? just apply the WWHWWWHWWH... theory to the neck?
#5
You're probably trying t put together too much stuff at once and you get
overwhelmed with thinking.

You really should memorize the scale finger positions first. The shapes are
important for actually playing, but you also have to understand what they mean.
You can take the major scale forumla which is fairly simple. But trying to improvise
at the same time you're figuring out the formula on the neck is a nearly impossible
task. The shapes are what you get "under your fingers" and you use the formulas
and intervals to give meanings to the shapes you play.

Beyond memorizing the finger position shapes, the next thing I'd do would be to
work with all the triad shapes within the scale. That's crucial for understanding
how the scale harmonizes and incorporating triad shapes in your improv lines
will give you stuff that has a lot of melodic interest right off the bat.

I don't think there's all the much reason to get too involved with modes right off
the bat.
#6
alright. so what exactly should I focus on. I have all this information but not much direction on where to go with it.

By memorizing finger positioning, do you mean I should just memorize all of the shapes for a particular scale?

(btw. for those that are trying to help me, I own the Guitar Grimoire of scales and modes, so if you have any pointers from there that would be great)
#7
Buy The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory. You'll learn quite a bit and then be able to apply that theory to the guitar instead of confining yourself into box shapes.
#9
Quote by king1201989
alright. so what exactly should I focus on. I have all this information but not much direction on where to go with it.

By memorizing finger positioning, do you mean I should just memorize all of the shapes for a particular scale?

(btw. for those that are trying to help me, I own the Guitar Grimoire of scales and modes, so if you have any pointers from there that would be great)
Yes, those intervals [WWHWW[WH]WWHWWW]....goes all the way up the neck. The steps within the red breackets is your major scale formula. The steps within the blue brackets is your relative minor scale formula.

The Guitar Grimoire is a nice reference but is exactly the type of thing that overwhelms people. Scales are much easier to learn then how that book makes it look. Like someone else said, there are 7 positions of the major scale(which is in your book) - those box patterns will be the same for every major key. all you have to do is shift them to correspond to the root note. (if that sounds confusing at first, compare patterns in your book and see how the same patterns ALWAYS repeats)

Also take a look at this site: http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php It's like the Grimoire only I think the visual of the fretboard is nicer.

And important note: When you delve into scales/patterns/major/minor/modes etc, remember that you're learning this to understand the fretboard and understand the relationship between notes. This is what will help you more then anything in freely expressing yourself on the fretboard in the future.

If you have any more questions ask!
Gear:
Inflatable Guitar
Digitech GSP 2101/Mosvalve 962/Yamaha S412V
My Imagination
#10
Quote by KryptNet
Yes, those intervals [WWHWW[WH]WWHWWW]....goes all the way up the neck. The steps within the red breackets is your major scale formula. The steps within the blue brackets is your relative minor scale formula.

The Guitar Grimoire is a nice reference but is exactly the type of thing that overwhelms people. Scales are much easier to learn then how that book makes it look. Like someone else said, there are 7 positions of the major scale(which is in your book) - those box patterns will be the same for every major key. all you have to do is shift them to correspond to the root note. (if that sounds confusing at first, compare patterns in your book and see how the same patterns ALWAYS repeats)

Also take a look at this site: http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php It's like the Grimoire only I think the visual of the fretboard is nicer.

And important note: When you delve into scales/patterns/major/minor/modes etc, remember that you're learning this to understand the fretboard and understand the relationship between notes. This is what will help you more then anything in freely expressing yourself on the fretboard in the future.

If you have any more questions ask!


Thank you tons, this is the main info I was looking for.

One other little request. Where would you suggest going to find some common riffs and the like that I could apply to improvisation?
#11
Quote by king1201989
Thank you tons, this is the main info I was looking for.

One other little request. Where would you suggest going to find some common riffs and the like that I could apply to improvisation?
They're everywhere. Look up "guitar licks" on google. Check out magazines(they usually have a column with new licks each month), check right here on UG lessons. I even heard of a book called the "The Licktionary" idk if it's any good. And also - STEAL! Check out some solos you like. You're bound to find a lot of licks/riff patterns that you wouldn't have come up with. good luck.
Gear:
Inflatable Guitar
Digitech GSP 2101/Mosvalve 962/Yamaha S412V
My Imagination
#12
don't bother yourself memorizing different modes and such, if you pick a note (C for simplicity), then you have 12 different pitches to play up until your higher C. find different patterns to get there. that is the fun of music!
A fool is not one who makes a mistake, a fool is one who does not learn from it.
-me HAH!
#13
ok, so I've been working on working with the seven patterns all of last night and all of today. and I have a question.

Would the 5th pattern of say... E major be the same as the 1st pattern of A Minor?
#14
^No, but the patterns for E major will be the same as the patterns of A Lydian. Yes, Lydian is a mode, but you'll get to those later.


Unless of course, you just picked two random scales, in which case, yes, two scales can contain the same patterns, just not ANY two scales.

Takendergib: STFU. Someone is trying to learn what musicians have figured out over the last 2000 years. Your advice is akin to suggesting an engineer not just read books on physics and math, but recreate the work of Newton and Euler and Maxwell and such.
#16
mmm, i am not going to stfu because i am right. if you can tell me that i am wrong, then by all means please do.

look,

C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B

there are your notes. if you want to make a 'major scale' (we are working in the key of C here for simplicity), play the notes that aren't sharp. now if you use the same number of notes, but use 1 different note (say G# instead of G) you've just played a 'mode' of C.

music theory is not hard. you just have to not be intimidated by it.
A fool is not one who makes a mistake, a fool is one who does not learn from it.
-me HAH!
#18
LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADIES AND GENTLEMEN in this corner with the dubious logic, from the far reaches of manitoba canada we have Takendergib AND in this corner with a knife/wrench and theoretical forsight from the great country of America,Fvck yeah, we have Bangoodcharlote !!!!!!! LETS GET READY TO RUUUUUUUUUUUUUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!

where was i ?...... oh yeah....

for theory, take it in baby steps if you're having troubles. make sure you COMPLETELY understand something before moving on, if you don't understand what a minor 6th is but keep going you WILL have problems later on. i personally ended up reading a college level music theory book about 5 or 6 times over and still didn't get all the info in it, just a good chunk of it.

i recommend for starters reading the sticky at the top of the forum and then whatever questions you have feel free to ask in here what your question is. if you're having trouble understanding "what chords are in what keys" please specify what you're having trouble with as that is pretty vague (and i think we see that thread about twice a day from various people)

also practice, you say you don't have much time? well buddy, make time. experience is THE best teacher.
#19
Quote by Takendergib
mmm, i am not going to stfu because i am right. if you can tell me that i am wrong, then by all means please do.

look,

C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B

there are your notes. if you want to make a 'major scale' (we are working in the key of C here for simplicity), play the notes that aren't sharp. now if you use the same number of notes, but use 1 different note (say G# instead of G) you've just played a 'mode' of C.

music theory is not hard. you just have to not be intimidated by it.


Wrong. You've played in the C major scale with a chromatic note thrown in (#5). There is no mode of the major scale that goes 1, 2, 3, 4, #5, 6, 7.
#20
Quote by :-D
There is no mode of the major scale that goes 1, 2, 3, 4, #5, 6, 7.
I think he meant that it is C Ionian Augmented, the third mode of A Harmonic Minor, which is actually correct.
#21
You're right about the Ionian Augmented scale, but I thought he was referring to the modes of the major scale. He said that "you've played a mode of C", and the C Ionian Augmented is not a mode of C major.
Last edited by :-D at Mar 18, 2008,
#22
see my point is that giving them names like that intimidates people from learning what it ACTUALLY IS. a 'mode' is simply finding a different way from point 'a' to point 'b' (no pun intended).

you're absolutely correct though that you need to understand what a note is before you start this, and what an interval is. my best suggestion is to sit at a piano and just figure it out.

if you know that the major scale is whole whole half blahblahblah then you know everything, you just don't know it. because once you know this, you just play any damned chord you know, pick out the notes in the chord, and see where they correspond in your 'scale' (i use this term loosely).

example:

i play a C chord. so this is (starting from the very lowest E string) G - C - E - G - C - E

do we notice a pattern? there are 3 notes, and they repeat in certain fashion, unfailingly. think about this. play a minor C chord.

G - C - D# - G - C - D#

yay! another pattern!

of course, you have to have an ear and an understanding of what makes a chord 'major' or 'minor' to really get a grip on this stuff. a misconception is that you can just dive in - no you must do a little bit of work. but my objection is when people start giving these confusing names for chords and daunting things like 'augmented aoelian blahblahblah'. this puts people off. if they could just understand it like it is, i think alot more people would incorporate musical theory into their playing.

i apologize for my long winded response.
A fool is not one who makes a mistake, a fool is one who does not learn from it.
-me HAH!
#23
But your response proves that clearly you haven't studied theory, because a C minor is C, Eb, G - it has no D# though the two are enharmonic. A minor triad is built 1, b3 and 5. Without theory such as this (especially the name for scales, modes, etc.) you'll have a hard time communicating your ideas to other musicians.

Why do you use the term "scale" loosely? It's a very accepted part of music.
#24
right, you're absolutely correct that i haven't studied theory, i've taught it to myself and it has worked quite well. what you just said doesn't make alot of sense, saying that i'm wrong because i used a D# instead of an Eb. that's like saying 'you're wrong, the time isn't 1:00 pm it's 13:00!!!!' well, no we're both right.

the reason i won't (and haven't) had trouble communicating my ideas to other musicians is that i am standing there with a guitar and can show them exactly what i'm doing. you can do amazingly inventive things and communicate just as well using a less complicated simplified version of music theory.

if i was to write out what i play on sheet music, it would be no different than if i was using a different method to come up with it.


oh, and the reason i said 'using it loosely' is because i look at music in the large picture - as a collection of different pitches. if you can think outside of the box like that, instead of saying ok now i'm going to play in lydian blahblah and switch back to harmonic minor diminished derka derk, you are going to be more rigid and less inventive.

in my humble opinion.
A fool is not one who makes a mistake, a fool is one who does not learn from it.
-me HAH!
Last edited by Takendergib at Mar 18, 2008,
#25
No, what I said makes perfect sense. We are not both right; you are in fact wrong. C, D#, G is NOT C minor. It's a Csus#2. If you hear it it obviously sounds the same, but they are in fact different chords. A minor triad (as I said before) features the notes 1, b3, 5; a sus#2 is 1, #2 and 5. That's what you gave me.

It makes sense, you're just oversimplifying this. To say that learning theory makes you rigid and uninventive is akin to saying that expanding your vocabulary in a specific language will limit your use of that language. You're opening up new doors in terms of expression; people who have studied theory will be able to express themselves exactly how they want based on solid musical ideas. It's really quite ridiculous to argue that learning theory limits you in any way.
Last edited by :-D at Mar 18, 2008,
#27
Quote by king1201989
ok, so I've been working on working with the seven patterns all of last night and all of today. and I have a question.

Would the 5th pattern of say... E major be the same as the 1st pattern of A Minor?
I *think* I know why you're confused. By the way, if I'm wrong ignore my thread. Are you thinking this because the 5th fret of the of E string is A? Because if that's you're thinking you might be well on your way to tying your head into a pretzel.
Gear:
Inflatable Guitar
Digitech GSP 2101/Mosvalve 962/Yamaha S412V
My Imagination
#28
no, i'm not confused at all. i'm just saying that at a certain point, theory makes music a science. this applies readily to guitar: just as with any medium, you must make good use of what you have. 50% of music is in the way it is played. great 'players', of any instrument, take what anyone can theoretically learn and play it in way that is pleasing to the ears. you must remember that what we're talking about is sound, and self taught musicians know just as much as you do about sound.

learning theory isn't a bad thing! it never is a bad thing to know how to communicate with other musicians. that's why we give different pitches names like C and D. in terms of individual expression, how you use the 12 different (and thats not counting what's inbetween these classified 'notes') pitches is how you will create good music. how does this sound with that, what about if i inversed that...ect ect. experimentation! if i could give you a recording of my band playing i would but we're not there $$ yet.

anyways, i'm not trying to be militant about this or anything i am actually quite friendly
A fool is not one who makes a mistake, a fool is one who does not learn from it.
-me HAH!
#29
The best thing to do was supposed to be done before... You should have tried applying the theory to the guitar while learning it.

But anyway it's not too late, you can try doing it, just keep practicing and good luck.
#30
takendergib: You still seem to be coming from the viewpoint that knowledge of music theory will inhibit creativity when in fact it does the opposite. If you know theory, you can still experiment with certain improvisational techniques; the only difference is that you understand why you're doing something. Without knowledge of theory you're essentially going in blind. In addition, using musical knowledge in conjunction with experimentation and improvisation allows for easier application of ideas. Here's an example

Say you have two people improvising a solo, one who knows a lot of music theory and someone who doesn't. While experimenting, they play the exact same lick and both like it. The person who does not know much about theory will like the sound and keep the lick. However, should the opportunity arise to use that lick again (in a different key or setting), the player will not understand the underlying music and how the lick fits in; essentially, it will be a complete guess as to whether or not to use the lick. The player who understands theory will be able to say something like "Oh! That #4 is what makes Lydian sound this way!", keep the lick and be able to apply it and expand on it.

It never hurts to learn music theory. It will only expand your creative abilities.
#31
Quote by KryptNet
I *think* I know why you're confused. By the way, if I'm wrong ignore my thread. Are you thinking this because the 5th fret of the of E string is A? Because if that's you're thinking you might be well on your way to tying your head into a pretzel.


haha i love the imagery of my pretzel head. My logic behind it was similar to what you said. I know that there are 7 patterns (at least in my book) per octave for any given measure and reach one starts on a different note with the root note being latter in the pattern. so i was just sitting at school and the thought came up... "hey would this be right, because of this?" and I see my flawed logic now. but in reviewing my book I did see something kinda odd... some of my patterns in some scales are the exact same as patterns in other modes (for a different note)... is there some explanation for that?

one other thing i don' understand was the C minor Csus#2 argument... I could understand that it could technically have another name, but I mean, why not call a chord a chord? does it hve to do with the whole diattonic thing? (which is one of the few things in theory that completely stumps me)

and takendergib: your approach is similar to the way that many of my friends play, and while they are good musicians in their own right, it is really infuriating to try and explain to them when jamming why they should play a certain progression over another one.

and just for everyone trying to help, again I want to say thank you a ton!
also just a bit of info, I already know a good bit about theory... I think I understand it on paper, its just a matter of applying them all on the guitar and using them. (I was in High School music for 6 years... unfortunately i didn't pay as much attention to theory lessons 'because I am a drummer and we don't need to know theory' (as my band teacher used to tell me))
#33
Quote by bangoodcharlote
In practice you will, but you have to learn the rules before you break them.


alright... that doesn't really help me too much, in the lesson on your sig I read about enharmonics but I never really understood its real purpose. Could you help me out with that if you don't mind?
"There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah"
-Leonard Cohen
#34
Quote by king1201989
alright... that doesn't really help me too much, in the lesson on your sig I read about enharmonics but I never really understood its real purpose. Could you help me out with that if you don't mind?


The term enharmonic refers to two notes with different names but the same pitch, for example F# and Gb or Bb and A#.

EDIT: Actually, look below for a much better explanation that's longer than one sentence.

Damn you, BGC...
#35
Quote by king1201989
alright... that doesn't really help me too much, in the lesson on your sig I read about enharmonics but I never really understood its real purpose. Could you help me out with that if you don't mind?
In a western scale, you have 7 notes. Additionally, each letter is represented once and only once. Take the C major scale: C D E F G A B. From here, you can form all kinds of various C scales be sharpening or flatting notes. C D E F# G A B is C Lydian, C D Eb F G A Bb is C Dorian, and so on. However, each letter is represented once. You could not write the C Lydian scale C D E Gb G A B. Even though F# and Gb sound the same, they do not have the same function. Gb is the diminished fifth and F# is the augmented fourth.

In 8-tone scales and scales that contain three chromatic tones in a row, this rule can be violated. Additionally, the seventh modes of the harmonic and melodic minors are written with both the flattened second and the augmented second, but you don't have to concern yourself with this quite yet.
#36
ok thanks alot that really makes sense, so the reason why the C-D#-E is a Csus2 instead of a C minor is because that would make the C minor scale become C-D-D#-F-G-A-Bb-C. But what constitutes the name a Csus2? and is there any way to easily recogonize chords simply by name? I figured that would always be an important part of theory, but I've never really seen much on how to apply it to the guitar.
"There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah"
-Leonard Cohen
#37
A sus chord (sus2 and sus4 are the one's you'll see the most) implies that there is no third. A normal major triad is 1, 3, 5. A sus2, 1, 2, 5 and a sus4 is 1, 4, 5. This is because the third is suspended- the 2nd will feel like it wants to resolve up to get to the third and the 4th will feel like it wants to resolve down. After you learn how different chords are constructed, you'll be able to read a chord name, build it in your head and then apply it to your guitar.

EDIT: The Csus#2 would be C, D#, G. A chord built as C, D#, E would be a Cadd#2 because it has the third.
Last edited by :-D at Mar 21, 2008,
#39
let me clarify something -

i know alot of theory. i don't 'understand this on some level'. i've taught guitar lessons. i don't appreciate the condescending tone.

take Csus#2. i KNOW that that means you are 'sustaining' the sharpened 2nd in your chord. what i am saying, is that in the context of actually playing music, it doesn't matter what you call something. give me any chord name, and i know what you are talking about. for some reason, i've been lumped in together with the crowd that thinks theory is bad. no, it's good to know what something is called. to be a decent musician and guitar player it's pretty much impossible to not know this stuff. but lets be clear: theory is a way of understanding how music works. once you know the general rules, it becomes clear how to break them.

this is where i stand by what i said earlier - there are 12 different notes. how you arrange these notes together is what music is.
A fool is not one who makes a mistake, a fool is one who does not learn from it.
-me HAH!
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