hey. i was thinking about learning a few scales to help out my solo writing and improvising, but i dont want to learn like box stuff, i was going to learn where all the notes are on the fretboard. but then i wanted to learn a diminished scale, which is spelt 1, 2b, 3n, 3, 4#, 5, 6, 7b (i think). but how does this apply to notes. ?
This doesn't really "apply" to notes. If you were to make that scale with C as the root however, you could see that it would be "spelled" like this -

C Db Eb E F# G A Bb

Do you see how the formula tells you which notes are sharp/flat in relation to the major scale?
First learn everything about diatonic scales and how they work, then learn the octatonic scale aka the diminished scale. Learn to walk before running.
Quote by misfitsramones
hey. i was thinking about learning a few scales to help out my solo writing and improvising, but i dont want to learn like box stuff, i was going to learn where all the notes are on the fretboard. but then i wanted to learn a diminished scale, which is spelt 1, 2b, 3n, 3, 4#, 5, 6, 7b (i think). but how does this apply to notes. ?

That's good that you want to learn the notes on the neck, but I would highly recommend not avoiding the patterns. I know you've probably seen some people here imply that there is something wrong with learning them. You should know that that's not the case. If anything, they're a positive thing to learn. They are a benefit to us as guitarists.

If you don't know any scales whatsoever, learning a scale pattern and using your ear to make music with it is a good place to start. You can still learn the theory behind it ( how the scale is constructed), as well as learning the notes on the neck. Ultimately the pattern serves as a visual aid that reinforces your understanding.

What I would recommend, is that you pick a solo ( something realistic for you, nothing too hard), and learn to play it. Find out what scale is being used, learn the scale formula (how its constructed), learn the pattern on the fretboard, learned the notes in the scale, and then put all the information together.

PS: if you're going to study theory, I would highly recommend starting with the Major scale. That will be a reference point for all of the other scales that you learn.
That being said, if you listen to rock or metal, chances are the solo will be utilizing the minor pentatonic, minor blues, or natural minor scales. It's okay to start with those scales, just remember that when you see the scale formulas for them the scale degrees will be shown based on how they relate to the Major scale.

for instance the minor scale formula is:
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

this is compared to

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
( Major scale formula)

^ not understanding that is the reason you don't understand the diminished scale formula.

shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 14, 2008,

You still don't get it do you?

If he learns the scale this way then he'll learn the patterns by default - there's absolutely no reason for him to specifically make a point of learning that piece of information, namely the patterns, in isolation because it's an inherent part of what he's already decided to learn.

If you learn scales PROPERLY, yes..."properly", then there's no need learn patterns because they're simply "there".
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Oct 14, 2008,
not this patterns argument again, I'm actually not going to argue the patterns point, just to tell ts that patterns are not wrong, but some people don't see the point in learning them (or that you learn them as you learn notes). I learned patterns and I highly recommend it.

Freepower has already answered the question, so there's nothing left to say
Quote by steven seagull

You still don't get it do you?

If he learns the scale this way then he'll learn the patterns by default - there's absolutely no reason for him to specifically make a point of learning that piece of information, namely the patterns, in isolation because it's an inherent part of what he's already decided to learn.

If you learn scales PROPERLY, yes..."properly", then there's no need learn patterns because they're simply "there".

You don't ready very thoroughly, do you?

Who said anything about isolation ? Why don't you read before you post.

Quote by Helpy Helperton

Freepower has already answered the question, so there's nothing left to say

I felt there was more to say.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 14, 2008,
Quote by Helpy Helperton
not this patterns argument again, I'm actually not going to argue the patterns point, just to tell ts that patterns are not wrong, but some people don't see the point in learning them (or that you learn them as you learn notes). I learned patterns and I highly recommend it.

Freepower has already answered the question, so there's nothing left to say

Munky brought the patterns thing into the discussion when there was no need to, he's got a real bee in his bonnet about it.

Fair enough in a thread where someone asks "How to learn scales" then there's a difference of opinion but the TS already stated that he wants to learn things properly rather than start with patterns, I'm assuming the TS is well aware of the ins and outs of the matter and has made his own, informed decision. There was no reason for Munky to bring his wounded ego into it with the "I know you've probably seen some people here imply that there is something wrong with learning them." comment.

I've never once said not to use patterns, just not to make a specific point of learning them when there's something else you could be learning that will teach you those patterns at the same time.
Actually called Mark!

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...it's a seagull

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Quote by Freepower
This doesn't really "apply" to notes. If you were to make that scale with C as the root however, you could see that it would be "spelled" like this -

C Db Eb E F# G A Bb

Do you see how the formula tells you which notes are sharp/flat in relation to the major scale?

^^This is basically how the formula can be applied to any key.

I do understand why you guys are arguing about shape patterns versus intervalic formula but I think learning one eventually leads to the other. The important thing is that the player makes the cognitive bridge to relate both. Many guitar players become reliant on patterns only, as the guitar is an instrument that inherently functions on finger position, so its easy to become comfortable with just learning patterns. What I find limiting about the pattern playing is that my melodies sound the same because I really don't listen to the notes but think more about finger placement. Modal theory in music school is taught on a keyboard for the reason of the keyboard being linear and its easier to visualize note spacing that way. This is my perspective.
Quote by steven seagull
Munky brought the patterns thing into the discussion when there was no need to, he's got a real bee in his bonnet about it.

Fair enough in a thread where someone asks "How to learn scales" then there's a difference of opinion but the TS already stated that he wants to learn things properly rather than start with patterns, I'm assuming the TS is well aware of the ins and outs of the matter and has made his own, informed decision. There was no reason for Munky to bring his wounded ego into it with the "I know you've probably seen some people here imply that there is something wrong with learning them." comment.

I've never once said not to use patterns, just not to make a specific point of learning them when there's something else you could be learning that will teach you those patterns at the same time.

"I dont' want to learn like box stuff" and "I don't understand how this relates to notes" doesn't sound like someone that knows the ins and outs.

My impression is that the TS needs to start at the very beginning theory wise and is probably afraid of learning "boxes" (scale patterns) due to reading somewhere that he "shouldn't" or that they aren't "proper". The point of my post was to address those issues, not start an argument.

Don't insult me by implying that I don't "get it" because while I don't pretend to know everything, I do have alot of experience and have spent plenty of time both with theory and playing the guitar in general.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 14, 2008,
The beginning is where he wants to start - with notes. He's right that he shouldn't learn patterns first, there was no need for you to start casting doubt in his mind. Of course you're right that he should start with the major scale but there was no need to bring your beloved patterns argument into the discussion, if the threadstarter learns things in the way he intends to he'll discover the patterns for himself in no time.

If you put two notes together you get an interval, if you stick a few intervals together you get a scale therefore notes is where you start.
Actually called Mark!

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The patterns are there to make remembering the scale of all over the guitar easier, but it's basically the same thing. However, you need to understand what the root notes are, and which intervals you're playing.

There's no point in learning many shapes, without the theory behind it. Same goes for barre chords shapes? Why? Because it's the same thing. All shapes, whether it be scales, arpeggios, or chords, are derrived from the CAGED shapes. Make sure you understand that. For example, if you can play the major scale in all 5 traditional positions, you can in fact play all related chords, that is, barre chords, open inversions, etc. Shapes are good way to visualize where the notes are, but the downside is that you might play a shape without realizing what you are doing.

Also, the 5 tradiotional positions aren't everything. You can play the scales 3-notes-per string, extended patterns. Here's where knowing the notes comes in handy, but those are "shapes" as well.

Shapes are just the result of how the guitar is tuned and where the notes are. Nothing more. Like I said, understanding the CAGED system is important, but without the theory the "shapes" don't mean anything.
Last edited by Thunderstorm at Oct 14, 2008,
Quote by steven seagull
The beginning is where he wants to start - with notes. He's right that he shouldn't learn patterns first

^ that's your opinion, and I have mine.

the reason I brought up my "beloved" patterns is to make the point that there is no need to avoid them and that they are in fact very beneficial to us in many ways.

I disagree with you when you say he shouldn't learn them. from experience, I know that the patterns serve to reinforce any information you may gain by studying theory.

Patterns enhance our learning in all fields, not just music. Being able to visualize a concept helps to solidify it in our minds. This type of visualization serves as a reinforcer, making our understanding that much stronger. Telling someone to ignore this very useful aspect of learning is not helpful and if anything perpetuates a sense of doubt and ignorance.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 14, 2008,