#1
...improvise? I tend to play quite a lot of metal and hard rock stuff, not anything incredibly flashy, I can't shred or anything but can play some tricky riffs and the like. Solos are another matter though, I don't tend to learn solos, I'm not sure whether it's because I'm incapable or because I'm just plain ol' lazy. That's not the point though, I'm not troubled by it. What I do instead is usually improvise with an E Minor Pentatonic. This gets pretty boring and repetitive though, so can anyone recommend some other good scales for improvising a large range of songs with?
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin
#2
It depends on the progression, but you could potentially use E Natural Minor, E Dorian, E Phrygian, E Harmonic Minor, E Melodic Minor, E Blues, and if you're really slick, E Phrygian dominant.


But, as I said, it depends on the progression; some of those scales are inappropriate in certain scenarios.


Remember, a scale exists all over the neck, not just in one position.
#3
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It depends on the progression, but you could potentially use E Natural Minor, E Dorian, E Phrygian, E Harmonic Minor, E Melodic Minor, E Blues, and if you're really slick, E Phrygian dominant.


But, as I said, it depends on the progression; some of those scales are inappropriate in certain scenarios.


Remember, a scale exists all over the neck, not just in one position.

Isn't E Blues just another name for E Pentatonic?

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#4
Quote by Black_Fender
Isn't E Blues just another name for E Pentatonic?
No. The E blues scale contains the notes E G A Bb B D while E Minor Pentatonic doesn't contain the b5, Bb.


Edit: Naturally, if someone says to use the G major scale, I will flip.
#5
Quote by Mighty_Meh
...improvise? I tend to play quite a lot of metal and hard rock stuff, not anything incredibly flashy, I can't shred or anything but can play some tricky riffs and the like. Solos are another matter though, I don't tend to learn solos, I'm not sure whether it's because I'm incapable or because I'm just plain ol' lazy. That's not the point though, I'm not troubled by it. What I do instead is usually improvise with an E Minor Pentatonic. This gets pretty boring and repetitive though, so can anyone recommend some other good scales for improvising a large range of songs with?


I would highly recommend that you learn some solos. There are plenty of scales you can try, but scales alone wont help your improvising.

Think of scales like the alphabet.... you gotta know it... but the goal is to say something.

Think of this as well: When you were very young, you learned to talk by imitating those around you. You started there, but eventually developed your own voice within that common language. Learning to say something, and develop your own voice with music is no different.

So rather than learning a bunch of scales with impressive names, that you wont understand. I would suggest spending some time learning actual solos. Learn how others speak the language, and build from that. learn the scales that are directly applicable to what your are doing.

keep in mind, that im not saying not to learn those other scales, but rather to spend some time learning how to use what you do know, and then build 1 step at a time from there.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 21, 2008,
#6
Quote by bangoodcharlote
No. The E blues scale contains the notes E G A Bb B D while E Minor Pentatonic doesn't contain the b5, Bb.


Edit: Naturally, if someone says to use the G major scale, I will flip.

Cool. I didn't know it was defined like that. I learned it the way you said, but just assumed it was a dumbed-down version of the pentatonic scale (which it is) but I didn't know it was called that. Thanks

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#8
Lol mixed it up. Knew I'd do that...

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#9
Quote by GuitarMunky
I would highly recommend that you learn some solos. There are plenty of scales you can try, but scales alone wont help your improvising.

Think of scales like the alphabet.... you gotta know it... but the goal is to say something.

Think of this as well: When you were very young, you learned to talk by imitating those around you. You started there, but eventually developed your own voice within that common language. Learning to say something, and develop your own voice with music is no different.

So rather than learning a bunch of scales with impressive names, that you wont understand. I would suggest spending some time learning actual solos. Learn how others speak the language, and build from that. learn the scales that are directly applicable to what your are doing.

keep in mind, that im not saying not to learn those other scales, but rather to spend some time learning how to use what you do know, and then build 1 step at a time from there.


Heh, perhaps I should've elaborated on my, "not knowing solos." I know some basic ones, some Bullet For My Valentine and Mastodon ones to be specific, because they're short and easy to remember. I tend to improvise on the others because, following your metaphor I think, I'm not being a parrot and mimicking what others say, I like to think I put a small bit of meself in a song when I improvise where a solo would normally be.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin
#10
Quote by Mighty_Meh
Heh, perhaps I should've elaborated on my, "not knowing solos." I know some basic ones, some Bullet For My Valentine and Mastodon ones to be specific, because they're short and easy to remember. I tend to improvise on the others because, following your metaphor I think, I'm not being a parrot and mimicking what others say, I like to think I put a small bit of meself in a song when I improvise where a solo would normally be.


Your always putting yourself into it. Don't be fooled by the misconception that mimicking others reduces you to parrot status. Alot of people buy into that idea unfortunately, but it is far from the truth.

If someone was in the other room and heard you talk, they would know it was you instantly.... even though you speak the same language, you use some of the same catch phrases (lets compare that to licks), you have the same accent........... you still talk like you. Playing music is no different.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 21, 2008,
#12
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It depends on the progression, but you could potentially use E Natural Minor, E Dorian, E Phrygian, E Harmonic Minor, E Melodic Minor, E Blues, and if you're really slick, E Phrygian dominant.


But, as I said, it depends on the progression; some of those scales are inappropriate in certain scenarios.


Remember, a scale exists all over the neck, not just in one position.
Personally I think you should only recommend scales for begginers to devolop their phrasing.
#13
Quote by demonofthenight
Personally I think you should only recommend scales for begginers to devolop their phrasing.

Scales and arpeggios are the basis of EVERYTHING when it comes to melodic lines, solos included. If you don't know your scales odds are you're screwed. The exceptions are rare and have innate talent, but they are very much the exceptions and probably learned the basics of melodic writing at some point anyway.
To the point: learn the pentatonic (major AND minor) and blues scales to get the basics down, then the major scales, relative, harmonic, and melodic minor scales. That's a good order to learn them in as well. Learn their respective arpeggios and seventh chords, and learn the theory behind each one. At that point you should be ready to explore modes, since natural minor is a mode of major (so learn some theory too if you can, it's invaluable) you will probably slide right into modes at that point. Bear in mind though, modes aren't everything. Stick to the key, and then figure out what notes to emphasize rather than saying "now I'll play in this mode". I find it frees you up a bit because you can change your approach on the changes with less thought; you just change what notes you emphasize rather than finding a whole new mode to play in. If you know your modes really well it still works, but I find thinking in key and following the changes to be easier. Whatever works for you, though.
Once you know the scales up and down the neck, in all positions and can move between positions easily, you should be naturally incorporating them into your playing naturally. At this point, if you want to go into exotic scales (half-whole, whole-half, octatonic, symmetrical augmented, hirajoshi, etc.) feel free. They add some cool colors if you know what you're doing.
I know it sounds like a lot, but take it a little bit at a time and you'll soon see huge improvements because your melodic and harmonic vocabulary will exand greatly. Good luck!
#15
Quote by Nightfyre
Scales and arpeggios are the basis of EVERYTHING when it comes to melodic lines, solos included. If you don't know your scales odds are you're screwed. The exceptions are rare and have innate talent, but they are very much the exceptions and probably learned the basics of melodic writing at some point anyway.
To the point: learn the pentatonic (major AND minor) and blues scales to get the basics down, then the major scales, relative, harmonic, and melodic minor scales. That's a good order to learn them in as well. Learn their respective arpeggios and seventh chords, and learn the theory behind each one. At that point you should be ready to explore modes, since natural minor is a mode of major (so learn some theory too if you can, it's invaluable) you will probably slide right into modes at that point. Bear in mind though, modes aren't everything. Stick to the key, and then figure out what notes to emphasize rather than saying "now I'll play in this mode". I find it frees you up a bit because you can change your approach on the changes with less thought; you just change what notes you emphasize rather than finding a whole new mode to play in. If you know your modes really well it still works, but I find thinking in key and following the changes to be easier. Whatever works for you, though.
Once you know the scales up and down the neck, in all positions and can move between positions easily, you should be naturally incorporating them into your playing naturally. At this point, if you want to go into exotic scales (half-whole, whole-half, octatonic, symmetrical augmented, hirajoshi, etc.) feel free. They add some cool colors if you know what you're doing.
I know it sounds like a lot, but take it a little bit at a time and you'll soon see huge improvements because your melodic and harmonic vocabulary will exand greatly. Good luck!

my friend has absolutely no knowledge of any scale or anything and he can solo like a pro. no lie. he just spends hours finding notes that sound good.
#16
Quote by TinPants
my friend has absolutely no knowledge of any scale or anything and he can solo like a pro. no lie. he just spends hours finding notes that sound good.
I know theory and scales and I spend mere seconds finding something good.


But I guess it is fun to be horribly inefficient.
#17
Quote by TinPants
my friend has absolutely no knowledge of any scale or anything and he can solo like a pro. no lie. he just spends hours finding notes that sound good.

Exactly why it pays to understand theory, because you know how different things work so that you don't have to spend hours figuring things out. Knowing theory will make for easier and likely better improvisation.

And don't double post; the edit button is there for a reason.
#18
Quote by misunderbirds
wrong. you can play up and down a scale without thinking. sure, it sounds good, but a machine can pick notes at random out of a scale and play them and sound good

you think of only the next note to play. someone who plays only by ear will think of the next phrase to play and think it out onto the fretboard.

So are you saying that if you know theory, all you'll do is run up and down scales? If so, you literally could not be more wrong.

And if somebody who plays only by ear (in the context of this discussion, I assume that we're implying this person is not familiar with theory) doesn't know the intervals and notes, they'll have a hell of a time applying it to the fretboard if they're improvising.
#19
Quote by misunderbirds
bull. everyone in this forum says learning theory is like learning the alphabet, which is a wad of crap. if you want to use an analogy, learning theory is like learning grammar, learning how to read sheet music is like learning the alphabet.

did your parents teach you grammar before you learned how to talk? does knowing what the subject of a sentence is help you speak, or write? does knowing the name of a scale help you do anything but play all the notes in that scale?

i believe that if you want to play music you just need to take a lot of time of practice to get good. learning scales and theory and what not might accelerate your ability to play, but it will be repetetive. it's a cheat.

say you hear a phrase in your head. how will knowing theory help you translate that phrase onto the fretboard, exactly?


I'm going to prescribe you some smart pills. Take two by mouth tonight and tell me how you feel tomorrow morning.
#20
Quote by misunderbirds
bull. everyone in this forum says learning theory is like learning the alphabet, which is a wad of crap. if you want to use an analogy, learning theory is like learning grammar, learning how to read sheet music is like learning the alphabet.

did your parents teach you grammar before you learned how to talk? does knowing what the subject of a sentence is help you speak, or write? does knowing the name of a scale help you do anything but play all the notes in that scale?

i believe that if you want to play music you just need to take a lot of time. learning scales and theory and what not might accelerate your ability to play, but it will be repetetive. it's a cheat.

No, no, no, no, no, no and no. You are flat-out wrong.

What you're saying is that learning theory inhibits your ability to be creative. Theory is a descriptive tool; it tells you why and how certain things work together. To say that learning theory inhibits you is akin to saying that learning new vocabulary words will inhibit your ability to colorfully describe things using language. In short, you'd have to be a complete dumbass to argue the opposite.

As for your analogy, knowing grammar helps me to construct creative and interesting sentences, so your little comparison is actually working against you. It's not "a cheat" to learn theory; it will do anything but make your playing repetitive. Take very schooled players like Satch and Vai and tell me that their music sounds like they're running repetitively through scales. It doesn't. Learning and understanding music theory will allow you to achieve exactly what effect you desire because you'll understand what musical phrases and scales create specific sounds as opposed to simply guessing and wondering how things fit together.

You're cheating yourself by not learning theory, because you're simply trying to justify your own laziness.
#21
ok all retarded analogies aside, you are wrong
while learning music theory might seem boring and useless for most rock guitar players, that knowledge is what separates guitarists from musicians. technical mastery of the instrument is simply a matter of motor memory for the hands.
Its good that people can tear it up technically on the guitar but its idiotic when they have no idea what they are playing. Its easy to memorize scales, arpeggios, and other peoples licks, but
its so important to understand them. Understanding theory will help you hear ideas better, be able to recall those ideas and give other people new and exciting ideas.
So stop wasting your time telling the world that knowing theory is useless
Last edited by mattrsg1 at Apr 22, 2008,
#22
Quote by misunderbirds
how about you just ****ing practice transcribing until you can get all your ideas down in minimal time.

And still have absolutely know idea why certain musical ideas work in specific ways. Fantastic advice.

Or, learn theory and be able to express your ideas quickly and with an understanding of what exactly you're doing. That's the better way to go. I didn't mention any "vaguaries" (it's "vagaries", by the way), just a better path than you suggest.
#23
ok please dont ever quote me incorrectly again
i never said to learn theory to be able to have exciting idea i simply said it enables you to get those.
and yes transcribing a solo still does not put the knowledge in your head it only puts in your finger tips.
you must stop being an idiot, some people might actually listen to you and i feel its my obligation to prevent that, please if you could never talk again that would be greatly appreciated. thank you for your time
#24
Quote by misunderbirds
second off, who gives a **** how "musical ideas work". if you want to spend time doing that, your choice, you're not better than anyone else.

the ts wants to know how to solo. he complained that playing scales was repetetive and boring. my advice to you is to practice transcribing songs until you're good enough to do it quickly, and by that point you should find it easy to play your own ideas quickly. don't be afraid to take pauses in your playing to think of the next phrase...listen to clapton...why do you think he takes breaks?

or you can read a bunch of books and learn a bunch of theory and act like these piano wielding douchebags

And again you leave me speechless and disappointed in humanity in general.

If you don't care how musical ideas work, then you're an idiot. Understanding how musical ideas work together is at the very base of music itself. If he wants to know how to solo, understanding the theory behind the music will be beneficial as it allows for easier improvisation. When you have a clue what you're doing musically, things come easier. It's simpler.

Clapton takes breaks, yes; any good guitarist does. Satriani knows loads of theory and is an absolute master of phrasing; understanding rhythm, for example, will allow you to phrase the way you want.

And I'd love it if you could explain to me how, exactly, one wields a piano.

Quote by misunderbirds
too bad i'm not a "musician" like you. suck my dick.

Now you've been reported for this comment too. Nice going.
Last edited by :-D at Apr 23, 2008,
#25
^second off, who gives a **** how "musical ideas work". if you want to spend time doing that, your choice, you're not better than anyone else."^
the dude that started this obviously cares, so shut up
listen to clapton yes, he "knows" what he is doing cause he has picked up some theory in his years playing, and he is much better than you.
I also am much better than you just based on your argument i can tell you suck im a better musician and guitar player, and no i will no suck something of yours, thats homosexual, dont be an idiot, remember i told you that. but no you went along and acted like an idiot. well done i applaud you. also remember when i told you not to talk anymore, you did that too, you just dont listen, maybe thats why you dont know any theory. dont be a douchebag anymore please take my advice you are embarrassing yourself
#26
Quote by misunderbirds
when clapton takes breaks...do you think he thinks "gee...i wonder what scale i will progress to next?" or do you think he tries to work out how to play his next solo?

if you listen to the beano record you will actually hear, if you slow it down, you will sometimes hear him try out a phrase very softly before he plays it at full volume.

what a shock..the world's great improvisational guitarist plays by ear and not by a book

Because he listens to the underlying progression he doesn't know any theory? You're brilliant.

He knows what he's doing scale-wise, and that's how he constructs his phrases. Besides, your "greatest" point is subjective anyway.

Quote by misunderbirds
once again, suck my dick

And you've failed to make a coherent argument, thus making yourself look like an outrageous dumbass and effectively conceding the point.
#27
nice retort there you slow witted douche
you just suck at life, really dont ever give advice again
you know what dont even pick up the guitar again, it embarrasses me that we both take pride in playing the same instrument
#28
Quote by misunderbirds
i've made a perfectly coherent argument. i don't see why you bothered replying to it if you have nothing to add.

No, resorting to childish insults does not equal a coherent argument. Could we return to the original point? Why are you so against learning theory?
#29
Quote by misunderbirds
i have played with people who know a lot of theory...and they will improvise...and they could improvise for hours because they know a bunch of different scales and arpeggios and such. except after about 1 minute, it all sounded exactly the same...and as i said, they could do this for hours.

Because they're terrible improvisers, that's why. Good improvisers who know theory do not get boring. Look on YouTube for Dream Theater's "The Spirit Carries On", first result. The first solo is improvised and beautiful.

Quote by misunderbirds
do you want to be like that, or do you want to express yourself with a guitar? if you can already "improvise" like them as much as you want...why would you take the time to learn to play what you really want, which will take a lot of time, regardless whether or not you know theory.

I express myself exactly how I want because I understand music theory well enough to achieve specific sounds simply by figuring things out in my head. Much easier than just guessing without theoretical knowledge.
#30
wow.... misunderbirds has absolutely no idea what theory is even about..... I'm seriously shocked that someone is capable of deluding themselves to that degree.
#32
the ts wants to know how to solo. he complained that playing scales was repetetive and boring. my advice to you is to practice transcribing songs until you're good enough to do it quickly, and by that point you should find it easy to play your own ideas quickly. don't be afraid to take pauses in your playing to think of the next phrase...listen to clapton...why do you think he takes breaks?


Without theoretical knowledge, studying the solos of other artists accomplishes nothing other than teaching you to play the solo. Music theory is descriptive, not prescriptive. It exists so that musicians can communicate and describe ideas with other musicians. With an extensive knowledge of music theory, you can look at music written by other people and know not only how to play it, but why it sounds the way it does, and how to take and apply that concept to your own playing. There is absolutely no conceivable reason not to learn as much theory as you possibly can, and you need to shut up.

You go ahead and repeat solos ad verbatim and learn, through trial and error, what sounds good and what doesn't. I, on the other, know exactly what my music will sound like long before it's been written down and recorded.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Last edited by Archeo Avis at Apr 23, 2008,
#33
It took me a while before I started to learn theory. I'd played piano for a long time, but it was never something I was particularly interested in so I never progressed to learning theory on it, but I picked up some basic theory, just through practise, like the fact that hitting two notes one semitone apart made a clashing sound, or that there are notes that really just don't fit. But I didn't know why any of these occurred.

When I started playing guitar, I didn't learn any theory straight away either, and I came across a lot more things that sounded "good", and a lot more that sounded "bad". But again, I didn't know why this was. All I did really was learn the songs.

Then I began to discover theory, and it told me why all these things happen. It makes it a lot easier to write your own things if you know why things work. Plus it showed me a lot of new things that led on from those.

If I didn't learn theory, I still wouldn't know why anything was working. And I'd spend ages working out what the next note should be in my solo. Instead I can do it much quicker.

As for your friend, I bet that whatever he improvises still conforms to theory anyway. Just he doesn't realise it. And how is he going to play in a band setup? If he doesn't know theory he can't tell anyone else what key he's playing in, so they can't play a very good backing.

It sounds like the people you've played with that do understand theory either don't know enough yet, or haven't practised it enough yet. Don't judge everyone else by what those people play.

From my personal experience, I'd suggest that beginners learn a lot of songs to start with, and the major scale and minor pentatonic, before "theory" is actually mentioned. This way the theory won't just be new to them, it'll explain something they already know, and go from there.

And one more point about learning theory, other musicians tend to respect you more if you know theory (you may notice this from this board). And after a while, that becomes important. If most people would just give theory a try, they'd find it really fun.
#34
misunderbird is probably still nooby. People can learn theory on their own without books, other people, internetz and so on. Theory is just knowing what sound good.
Quote by Nightfyre
Scales and arpeggios are the basis of EVERYTHING when it comes to melodic lines, solos included. If you don't know your scales odds are you're screwed. The exceptions are rare and have innate talent, but they are very much the exceptions and probably learned the basics of melodic writing at some point anyway.
Scales are a starting point before people can properly progress to a better way of note choice. It's not innate talent, anyone can do it after some time. I dont think people should be dependant on scales.
The way of note choice I'm trying to acheive is looking at every interval and asking myself, does this sound good over this chord and after this note? It's difficult, but it works well and with a better knowledge of how intervals interact you can achieve any type of feeling. You've also got to realise that in a single motif (sadly, I still improvise in motifs, like most rock musicians), you cant have two notes that blatantly clash, like a m7 and M7 (maybe that sounds good, I dunno I'll try it out).

I got these ideas from marty friedman, who said "the more you think the better your going to play" or something ridiculously similar. He never learned scales, instead studied how notes (therefore intervals) interact.

tl;dr dont be dependant on scales
#35
Er, well back to the matter at hand. The reason I'm asking is cause I'm learning Leper Affinity by Opeth, which is good and all, it's an awesome song with challenging but not impossible riffs. The solos are awesome, but soooooo long widned I'm not sure if I can learn the solo, and so far have just being improvising with an E minor pentatonic. I could look up some of the scales suggested here, or someone could recommend an easier way to do learn it than playing have speed over and over again....
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin
#36
Quote by Mighty_Meh
Er, well back to the matter at hand. The reason I'm asking is cause I'm learning Leper Affinity by Opeth, which is good and all, it's an awesome song with challenging but not impossible riffs. The solos are awesome, but soooooo long widned I'm not sure if I can learn the solo, and so far have just being improvising with an E minor pentatonic. I could look up some of the scales suggested here, or someone could recommend an easier way to do learn it than playing have speed over and over again....
lol, sorry cant help you there....

I got bored learning other peoples songs a long time ago. It was a long, futile, process which didnt achieve anything. I normally forgot most of the songs in a week. Now I almost exclusively improvise. It's easier, accomplishes alot of emotianal release, I dont need to learn/remember anything and my family thinks its "artistic" and like it.
#37
^Working on improvising is great, but I'd also reccomend working on transcribing other peoples music as well, it will benefit you for sure. Taking the easier approach where you 'don't need to learn/remember anything' won't be nearly as beneficial
#38
Quote by Stash Jam
^Working on improvising is great, but I'd also reccomend working on transcribing other peoples music as well, it will benefit you for sure. Taking the easier approach where you 'don't need to learn/remember anything' won't be nearly as beneficial
Yeah I know, but I'm lazy.
#39
Quote by demonofthenight
Personally I think you should only recommend scales for begginers to devolop their phrasing.


I agree. I memorized solo's when i was beginning guitar but it didn't help me in learning how to write solos. Knowing the scales and where you CAN go is almost essential to do first in my opinion.

Dont get me wrong, listening to people solo is a great way to learn to use the roadmap of scales. But I think if you don't learn the scales in the first place you are just shooting in the dark.
#40
Quote by Stash Jam
^Working on improvising is great, but I'd also reccomend working on transcribing other peoples music as well, it will benefit you for sure. Taking the easier approach where you 'don't need to learn/remember anything' won't be nearly as beneficial


+ 10000000000000

Quote by Demon of the Night

Personally I think you should only recommend scales for begginers to devolop their phrasing.


You dont develop phrasing by practicing scales.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 23, 2008,