I got motivated and organized the 5 major box shapes into a table to help me learn the relationships between the scales instead of memorizing them. So far its helping me learn, hope it helps you too. Also, I am very new to this so if I mislabeled something please tell me. If you need help understanding what I've done read some intro lessons, this is merely a good organization of a few simple concepts.
``````
|A(7)B          |A(1)BCDE       |                   |A(2)BC               |BDE
|             |A(5)BCDE       |B                 |A(6)C                 |DE
|A(2)BC        |BDE                |A(3)C          |A(4)BDE             |E
|A(6)C            |DE                  |A(7)B          |A(1)BCDE           |
|A(3)C     |A(4)BDE          |E                 |A(5)BCDE           |B
|                   |A(1)BCDE        |                   |A(2)BC              |BDE``````

Ok... came out a little jumbled on here but I think I can explain. The very bottom row is the Low E string, and each column is a fret. The root note is on the Low E where you see A(1). So for the major scale follow the diagram up two frets to A(2), then to the A string at A(3). So for each scale just go up the strings left to right bottom to top to follow that scale. I put the intervals there for the major scale so you can look at which notes are flattened or ommited to make the other scales. The scales are as follows:
A = Major scale
B = Harmonic Minor
C = Pentatonic Major
D = Pentatonic Minor
E = Pentatonic Blues

Keep in mind:
Major Scale = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Harmonic Minor = 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7
Pentatonic Major = 1 2 3 5 6
Pentatonic Minor = 1 b3 4 5 b7
Pentatonic Blues = 1 b3 4 b5 5 b7

Edit: It was really hard to get it readable here and it is barely readable. Just look at the first column on the far left as fret 2, and go from there. If that is the case then you are looking at those 5 scales in G Major. Try copying this on paper it makes alot more sense that way. Notice how all the scales share the root, and the other scales just flatten certain intervals in the major. I dunno I made it so I figure I'd post it, if its too confusing don't look at it.
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Last edited by tubetime86 at Aug 13, 2008,
You're just going to confuse yourself if you try to learn too much at once. Just start with the major scale for the time being, but instead of just mapping out the scale patterns try it with chords...it'll help you cement the relationship between the scale and it's chord progression.

Draw a blank fretboard and draw in every note of every chord in the chord progression, so for C major you want

C Dm Em F G Am Bdim

Draw them all out as full 6 string barre chords with the root on the low E, you'll find a fair few notes already accounted for by the previous chords as you move up the fretboard, then draw them as 5 string A shape barre chords with the root on the A string...lots of notes will already be there.

Next, identify all your C notes within that pattern and fill in any gaps using the pattern of intervals for the major scale...there won't be many. For me, that's the best way to approach learning scales across the whole fretboard, and the added bonus is you've learned the pattern for A minor too.
Actually called Mark!

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Whoa I thought what I did was confusing... So you've taken the 7 chords that go with the C major scale (C Dm Em F G Am Bdim) right? Then your saying look at all the individual notes within each chord? Wont they all be notes from the C major scale anyway?

I'm just trying stop learning scales and scale shapes and start learning literally the entire fretboard and any and all relationships that exist on it. Ideally instead of saying "I'm playing the pentatonic minor scale" or whatever I'll say "I'll throw in a flattened 3rd from the pentatonic minor".

I figured if I learn the major scale mainly, and focus on what notes are flattened and omitted in the others it will all blend into one useful model of the fretboard not many small models each useful in different situations...
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BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
They will all be in C major, but most guitarists learn chords early on and are pretty comfortable with them - and if you know what key you're in and know the associated scale and chord progression then it makes approaching the whole fretboard a lot easier. Just 7 chords will put every note within the scale under your fingers, we're generally pretty happy changing chords so I feel it helps prevent you getting stuck in boxes.
Actually called Mark!

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Yes, thank you I had not thought of that. I'm in no hurry, I'm not looking for a "quick-fix" to learning scales so I don't mind taking a few approaches to it at once. I just like to spend a little time each day sitting down and writing things out and what not. Hell, just last night I realized that the first and second position of the pentatonic blues scale overlap. So I went from having a box shape memorized to having a quarter of the fretboard figured out... Little things like that are helping me. If I get a little better grasp of this stuff each day, in time I will be knowledgable.

Also the amount of theory I can explain right now is pretty small, however I am noticing I already "played by the rules" just by instinct. I'm now learning why I do some of the things I do when I improv and its teaching me when I can break my own rules. My playing is improving wayyyyyyyyyyyyy faster than my technical knowledge. So even if I never do learn this stuff like I learned the ABC's, I'll still be better for trying.
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BURN THE WITCH!!!!!