#1
Ok guys, I'm working on the basics as I am a beginner. I'm tryin to learn a little theory and im tryin to get my feet wet in a little improv. Im working on the major scale as I've read that it is one of, if not the most important scales in western music. I think its the right scale for me to start with as a beginner seeing as its the foundation of pretty much everything else and i wanted to learn it before the minor, major and minor pentatonic, etc. My question is, what is easier to improvise with? In a major key, would the major scale or major pentatonic be easier to improvise with? Or, are they equally easy to use they just create a different sound/ mood? Should I just stick with the major scale for now as far as learning to improv goes? Thanks for the help.
#2
Dude, you need to get fundamentals down before you start learning scales. Until you can really find use, they'll just confuse you and make you spend more time on memorizing than on getting better. There's no rush to memorize a ton of scales.
#3
You've got a good start and you're learning the right things, good job!

Pentatonic scales have less notes so you may say they're "easier" to improvise with if you're a beginner, I personally find it harder to improvise if I restrict myself to pentatonics but to each his own. If you by "easy" mean easy to not hit the wrong notes, then yeah, pentatonic is easier as you don't have to keep track of so many notes.
#4
Either major or major pentatonic is fine. It doesn't really matter. Start with
some simple basic progessions. It could just be a couple of chords, or standard
blues or ii-V-I.

Don't worry about how it sounds right away. Just take 1 position of the scale and
map out where you're important notes are: root, chord tones as the chords change
and try to hit them. Go up and down the scale and listen to how the notes sound
against the progression. If you know how to harmonize the scale in triads, try
playing various arpeggiated triads over any chord and listen for the sound.

That's more or less basic note selection and targeting. You'll also want to try
various techniques like bending, slides, legato, phrasing. Note selection is the
"what", technique is the "how". You'll want to explore both.
#5
Quote by rockadoodle
Ok guys, I'm working on the basics as I am a beginner. I'm tryin to learn a little theory and im tryin to get my feet wet in a little improv. Im working on the major scale as I've read that it is one of, if not the most important scales in western music. I think its the right scale for me to start with as a beginner seeing as its the foundation of pretty much everything else and i wanted to learn it before the minor, major and minor pentatonic, etc. My question is, what is easier to improvise with? In a major key, would the major scale or major pentatonic be easier to improvise with? Or, are they equally easy to use they just create a different sound/ mood? Should I just stick with the major scale for now as far as learning to improv goes? Thanks for the help.



Well, the Major scale is definitely the place to start for learning theory. You need to know that. However for improvising, the minor pentatonic and minor blues are often the 1st scales learned. This is because they are easy to play, and more importantly because they are used in a Majority of rock, metal, and blues music. ( more so than Major )
I would definitely spend some time learning and playing the pentatonic scales. Learn some solos as well. You don't necessarily have to "understand" them from a theory perspective right away.

For improvising, I would recommend starting with :

minor pentatonic
minor blues
minor ( natural minor scale )

Once you can make some music with those I would start working with:

Major
Major pentatonic
Major blues


once you can really do something with those, you could look at other scales.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 26, 2008,
#6
yeah if you learn like the major or minor scale, pentatonic comes from that so...you already would know pentatonic
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#8
Quote by GuitarMunky
Well, the Major scale is definitely the place to start for learning theory. You need to know that. However for improvising, the minor pentatonic and minor blues are often the 1st scales learned. This is because they are easy to play, and more importantly because they are used in a Majority of rock, metal, and blues music. ( more so than Major )


I'd think it's probably the other way around: They're used in the majority of rock, metal and blues BECAUSE they're so easy to play.
#9
I prefer to stick with diatonic. The Pentatonic scales are select notes from diatonic scales. Thus, if you are improvising from the diatonic, you can leave certain notes out and have the pentatonic. If you are only comfortable with the pentatonic though, you probably won't know what to add for diatonic.
#10
Quote by Aziraphale
I'd think it's probably the other way around: They're used in the majority of rock, metal and blues BECAUSE they're so easy to play.


whats the other way around? Major is used more in metal rock and blues? Not that im aware of.

I dont think it has THAT much to do with how easy they are. Rock and roll was in many ways spawned from the blues.... which uses alot of minor pentatonic. Rock evolved from there. Also it has to do with what they sound like. There arent that many metal songs in Major.... they exist, but they are not the majority by any means.

Also keep in mind this guy is a beginner. I would recommend working on scales you can USE before anything else. and im talking about improvising.... as was asked for by the TS.
For learning theory.... you pretty much have to start with the Major scale.... but for improvising.... there are other criteria to consider.


Quote by TheShred201
I prefer to stick with diatonic. The Pentatonic scales are select notes from diatonic scales. Thus, if you are improvising from the diatonic, you can leave certain notes out and have the pentatonic. If you are only comfortable with the pentatonic though, you probably won't know what to add for diatonic.


well the pentatonic scales have a different sound than diatonic. That is reason enough to learn them. then you can choose the sound that is right for what your doing.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 26, 2008,
#12
improvising with scales is only as easy or hard as you let it be. id say practice soloing with every scale you know. each song will need something different. personally, i dont like to stick to one scale. i do however like to use the pentatonic as a "base scale" and then add notes where i see fit.
#13
to be a good musician you have to study music. to be a good guitarist you have to study your guitar. know every note on it, how they fit into chord shapes and know how to go about causing the string to vibrate in a way that sounds GOOD.

no matter how much theory you learn it will be of no use if you don't know how to use your guitar! that being said, learn lots of theory because once you know how to actually apply it you can use it to further your playing.

in short, you should focus more on being one with your guitar than learning how to do this or that.
A fool is not one who makes a mistake, a fool is one who does not learn from it.
-me HAH!
#14
Quote by GuitarMunky
whats the other way around? Major is used more in metal rock and blues? Not that im aware of.

I dont think it has THAT much to do with how easy they are. Rock and roll was in many ways spawned from the blues.... which uses alot of minor pentatonic. Rock evolved from there. Also it has to do with what they sound like. There arent that many metal songs in Major.... they exist, but they are not the majority by any means.
doing.


I think you misunderstood me, you are right that they are used in the majority of rock, metal and blues. What I meant was that the reason WHY they are used so much is because they're easy and comfortable on guitar, and those genres have been shaped as a result of that. If you look at music that is dominated by piano or strings for example, it'll be constructed very differently. I've never met a violinist who knew anything about pentatonics.

This is very off-topic but I just wanted to explain what I meant.
#15
I like the major scale since there are more tones in it meaning there are more options to improvise with. My favorite is minor though. Pentatonic is what people usually start improvising with, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily easier.

It all depends on the person.
The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.-John Cage
#16
Quote by GuitarMunky
For improvising, I would recommend starting with :

minor pentatonic
minor blues
minor ( natural minor scale )

Once you can make some music with those I would start working with:

Major
Major pentatonic
Major blues


I'm not agreeing with that. The major scale is the building block of Western music, and if he begins with it, he'll be able to understand things such as chord construction, chord progressions and harmony as well as be able to improvise perfectly well. There's no reason not to learn the major scale first, since the pentatonic scales are constructed from these anyway. It'll do him more good to see that the major scale is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 and the pentatonics are 1 2 3 5 6 for major and 1 b3 4 5 b7 for minor. He'll be learning much more about theory and why things work together if he begins with the major scale.
#17
Quote by :-D
I'm not agreeing with that. The major scale is the building block of Western music, and if he begins with it, he'll be able to understand things such as chord construction, chord progressions and harmony as well as be able to improvise perfectly well. There's no reason not to learn the major scale first, since the pentatonic scales are constructed from these anyway. It'll do him more good to see that the major scale is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 and the pentatonics are 1 2 3 5 6 for major and 1 b3 4 5 b7 for minor. He'll be learning much more about theory and why things work together if he begins with the major scale.


I already said for studying theory that you should start with the Major scale. What you quoted is an order based on improvising.... not studying theory. Read the post more in depth before you disagree, because it in no way conflicts with with you just said.

too reiterate:

If you DONT know theory yet, and you want to learn some scales for the sake of improvising. Start with the most commonly used scales, that you can apply right away. You dont necessary have to understand them theoretically to use them. this way you learn a scale like minor pentatonic, then you can learn a solo that uses it. Try finding a well known solo that uses the Major scale ( yeah they exist, but not that many). The minor pentatonic scale is used in ALOT of solos. Its a great place to start for learning to solo.
In my college improv classes, my teacher said he always start teaching the kids to solo with pentatonics and the blues.


learning theory is a different issue / different goal.... that will eventually tie in, when you get far enough along. for studying theory...... start with the Major scale.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 27, 2008,
#18
Quote by GuitarMunky
I already said for studying theory that you should start with the Major scale. What you quoted is an order based on improvising.... not studying theory. Read the post more in depth before you disagree, because it in no way conflicts with with you just said.


I was referring to improvisation. I don't think he should be improvising with the pentatonic scale before he understands and can improvise with the major scale.
#19
Quote by :-D
I was referring to improvisation. I don't think he should be improvising with the pentatonic scale before he understands and can improvise with the major scale.


Well I disagree.
shred is gaudy music
#20
I know you do, that's why I was simply offering my opinion. He can begin with whatever he wants, I figured it would be helpful to have another view on the issue.
#21
Quote by :-D
I know you do, that's why I was simply offering my opinion. He can begin with whatever he wants, I figured it would be helpful to have another view on the issue.

thats cool. I agree with your point about the Major scale.... for understanding sake. I just know from experience, that minor pentatonic is a great way to get into soloing.

its about being able to directly apply what you learn. The theory route is a long one for improvising. You have to get past alot of elementary concepts before you can even grasp the idea of improvising.

if you just learn the minor pentatonic, and some solos that use it. You get to making music ALOT quicker. Your understanding will catch up in time if you choose to study theory.

So I totally disagree that you NEED to understand theory before you ever improvise. Ultimately it would be great to understand the theory behind it. but its not necessary to start, just as its not necessary to make music period.

Quote by Aziraphale
I think you misunderstood me, you are right that they are used in the majority of rock, metal and blues. What I meant was that the reason WHY they are used so much is because they're easy and comfortable on guitar, and those genres have been shaped as a result of that. If you look at music that is dominated by piano or strings for example, it'll be constructed very differently. I've never met a violinist who knew anything about pentatonics.

This is very off-topic but I just wanted to explain what I meant.


It doesnt really matter why. It it is the way it is. If your going to learn to improvise, your going to probably want to start with music you are familiar with. For most of us guitarists, thats rock, blues, metal...... It makes sense to start with the scales used in that music.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 27, 2008,