Quote by mikerockcity
Yes I want to learn because I have been playing many years I feel I am nice, with nice aptitudes and what would of been great potential I had practised more and not delved into the Dj and producing world. I want to catch up with time missed and learn my theory so I can as you pointed out solo and no think too much of the scales.

In bands I was always the one dubbed as lead guitarist because of my skills and potential. Even now when I play with my Friday night band Im dubbed lead because im the best of the 3 guitarists by far but for myself I know i can be 1 millions times better if I iknew my scales.

I Also want to start teaching.

Have you looked into getting a teacher? Private lessons? Schools?


What you are doing is applying an approach called Chord Scale Theory, it's just one way to come up with different ideas over a chord.

As for Modal, simple answer is this. they superimpose a scale with a modal name over the chord, but you are not playing modally. The scale is just the scale. The application, isn't modal.


Why did they tell you you were doing it wrong? Did they not like the things that you were playing? Or were they fine, and just suggesting that you broaden your horizons more and learn arps? To be honest, it is a pretty sound addition to your grab bag. But you can learn what you want and use it how you want, as long as it works.

When I studied with Jimmy Bruno, he taught the arpeggios to the 7th all over each of his positions (If you're familiar with JB's 5 positions) for all the ii V I embedded in those. So, they are sort of right, in that lots of people do that, and then from that, using those as a basis for alterations, like from the b7 to 7 in slides.

Having the framework lets us use passing notes intentionally instead of randomly, and gave us more control over the framework as we'd weave in and out of the progression. Also since they were often times changing keys quickly (or using temporary tonicization) that framework became easier to follow and conceptualize.


Quote by sosxradar
So, I just confuse Arpeggio with scale . tbh I'm really creative and has a passion in guitar. I made my own song by humming and record them on my phone and the difficulty is finding the note I'm humming in. You just tell me to learn the key first. thank, But do you have direct link to where I can learn to recognize the key?

And it start to sound like this thing relate to song writing now?!?

I can tell you're frustrated and want to move forward and understand the guitar more, as well as music. I really think your "problem" is a lack of understanding how everything works and goes together. A lack of music theory.

I have no doubt that you have passion to do well, but it sounds like you need direction as well. As you have seen, Google and Wikipedia are not your friend, and you can take hours of your day searching and be frustrated with the "answers".

I'm not sure what it is that you "know" about the guitar or understand, yet. Have you ever thought about taking lessons? Finding a private teacher?


Exactly as stated. Learn chord formulae. Now I think that having some sort of structured study into it helps, because you will have the correct note names for the correct chord.

For example, an E7#9, Hendrix chord. If you play it on the guitar, what notes make it up?

Did you come up with any of these?

E Ab B D G?
E G# B D G?

If so, they are wrong. The correct notes of that chord, in music theory are E G# B D Fx.

A structured guided study of music theory would prove essential in understanding how that is true and why that is true.

As for how to learn these things, lots of ways. There are online sources that teach these things. But, you can learn the same thing at your own pace by understanding the intervals, the correct notes at those intervals, and the chord structure/formulae.

Step one, learn the correct notes for every interval. Scales have one alphabetic character per degree. For example in A:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Seven notes in an A major scale (not including the octave)


So A with some sort of 6th would mean that the alphabetic letter at 6 is some sort of F, it could be F# or F, depending upon the context, but they are always the letter F

If you needed a 3rd in A, it will only be some sort of C.

This is what I mean about naming the intervals with the correct alphabetic identity.

Hope this gets you started. Knowing every chord no matter how crazy is an awesome skillset, that can help you also decide what would work with it.


That's C# Minor. The strings consist of the 3 notes of a C# minor Triad. C# the root, E the b3 and G# the 5th. This is an open C#m tuning.

You can play major chords with a barre, and one additional finger.

It is curious as to how effective this tuning might be however, because essentially you have two stacked power chords, and only one voice which defines it as minor. The doubling of these, in my opinion tends to occlude the overall sense of major or minor to this.


Quote by mikerockcity
I tak all your advice and Im going to learn and pay attention to scales more.

I just play I dont know much theory as a kid I remember my teacher who was really good teaching me scales and triads and I was just like dude teach me Enter Sandman.

When should I play a minor or major?

If the song starts with a G major chord that means I have to solo in G major?

If the song progression starts in G then goes to A- B I have to switch scales or I continue in G the whole time?

I think a commitment to learning music theory would answer all of these kinds of questions. Because, as you can see you are probably feeling very limited and excluded because of things you do not know/understand, am I correct?

For example, you posted an example of how you might play G, Am to B

Because of music theory I can immediately understand that I can solo over this in a number of ways:

1. I recognized this in seconds as a I ii and III in G
2. I understood instantly that I could play in these chords with G major, but only one decision to make over one of these chords. Do I treat the D note of my scale over the B chord, as a passing tone, or do I modify it to a D#?
3. The answer for me, because of my understanding and application of music theory, is I can play the scale as I like, but, modify one note over the B. No scale switching, just adapting the approach.
4. Furthermore, I could select chord tones from all these chords, and hit them on the chord change. I could choose the 3rds for each chord, as my landing notes as the chords change, and I know these notes would be B, C and D#.

Now as you read this, you might be thinking something like "Wow, I don't even understand most of what he just wrote." That's exactly my point. This is how excluded you are from where you are now, to the understanding that you'd like to have.

If these seem like good skill sets to have, I would agree with you. I hope this helps you realize just how far behind you are, from where you'd like to be. And hopefully, this can inspire you to want to know/learn more and understand these things.

Good luck to you!


"That's not how it works...that's not how any of this works" comes to mind when I read these sort of questions. These guys are right, by the way. A lot of this, is about understanding intervals. minor seconds, tritones, etc. and recognizing and identifying dissonances.


It's nothing but a Blues scale. The other notes bring in tension and want to be resolved to the next scale tone. a 9th a 6th and a major 7th.


Quote by 6stringstudent
Hello ultimate guitar!

I know there is already a couple threads about this topic, but none of them answer my question, and I don't like stealing people's threads.

I have been playing guitar for a year and a couple months, mostly through online and dvds. In the last two weeks, I started taking one on one lessons with a teacher.

Last lesson, he assigned me to learn combining minor and major pentatonic scales. I have tried to look stuff up on this matter, but it hasn't really helped. I understand the concept, but I don't know how to apply it to playing.

I know that with the two pentatonic scales, you have:
Major: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 (C major: C, D, E, G, A)
Minor: 1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7 (C minor: C, Eb, F, Gb, G, Bb)
So combined, you would have: 1, 2, b3, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7

So with that, I formulated my five different shapes for the combined pentatonic.

The way I practice, is with my Boss RC1 looper. Instead of mindlessly practicing scales, I will play a simple 2 or 3 chord progression, and play the scales overtop. That way I practice a little rhythm, I practice my scales, and I practice timing with my scales.

Since this is considered a 'blues' type scale, I play the I, IV, V chord progression in the key I practice (I do a different key each day) for a measure each, and loop it back and play the combined scale over top.

However, I can get some decent sounding licks going, but then it just sounds awful on other parts. To just do scale runs it sounds awful as well, to the point where it almost turns me off from practicing it. I don't know what I'm missing.

If anyone could offer help on this issue, I would greatly appreciate it.


Look at what makes a chord major or minor. It's one note. The third.

In a Minor scale its a b3
In a Major scale its a 3

What other notes are different in the Minor scale from the Major Scale?

There are two more the 6th, and the 7th. (Unless you're in Harmonic Minor, then the 7th is the same as the Major scale 7th)

So, use these characteristics, and instead of coming up with a largely chromatic run with no understanding, figure out the notes and how they function against the key center, then use that deliberately to craft your major and minor scales.

If I were to have taught you, I'd have shown you examples of how to do this and what/why they are different. Did he not do that and just assign you some sort of abstract assignment?


I think learning diatonic harmony, and how scales work with chords, and then understanding harmonic analysis, and chord tones, and then venturing into deriving what the chord progression might be, is a great way to go on this. To get to the point where you Identify what minor chord it is, and then ascertain what other chors might work in this key, and then understand the scale. It's all about those things, and learning what works and why is a lot of fun and very fulfilling.

But you cannot start there. To understand you must understand the most beginning concepts and be able to work within them. That can be from self study, or a school, or whatever, but it's a great path to understand what's going on, be able to replicate it, and play with understanding. Not to mention the elements of tone rhythm, and phrasing.


It's not standard tuning. It's tuned to Eb - They did that to accommodate the singer. Van Halen did that as well.

What the other guys said in this is precisely the case.


Music Reading for Guitar - David Oakes


Quote by mikerockcity
Ok Ive been playing guitar for a while. I dont know many scales but i would like to leanr how to solo all over my neck and recognise scale patterns.

In your opinion.

Which scales Should I learn first and in what order?

Any tips in memorising and learning how to solo all over the neck?

Start with the Pentatonic. Grab a backing track off somewhere, and then begin to improvise. That's what I have my students do when I first start teaching them. They send in recorded homework assignments. Recording yourself, is a great way to hear what your phrasing is like.

As for tips, look at what's all out there, and choose something that works for you. But whatever you do, have fun doing it.


When someone brings a young person to me to teach, that age, I start with a ukulele. If they can do well with a 1 finger chord, and learn some chords on a uke and some songs, and they show commitment...those chord shapes are the same as the 6 string guitar, but with an added note or two.

If they can't make it on a uke, they won't make it on the guitar. I use the ukulele as a "proving ground" to make sure the parents arent spending a ton of money, and at the same time, show if their kid is actually ready and willing to put the time in to learn. If not, they got out cheap, and if so, they transition to the guitar very very well.


I have recently come to appreciate Anytune - I started use it at the Academy teaching studio on My iPhone, and then I output it to a set of high end monitors when I teach. I download a song on i Tunes, and use the looping, and slowdown, for students to play along with. I don't need it for the notes per se, but it has been great for teaching and breaking down ideas.


Quote by stayfrosty78
Hey guys, im 15 and have been playing for about a year, Ive been learning a bunch of songs and i know very basic music theory (7 blues scales, major minor pentatonic) and i know how to play in key and improv, but i just really wanna take my playing the next level. Im a huge Satriani, Vai, and Petrucci fan, (idk what genre to classify them under, but whatever genre that is thats what i wanna play haha). So what can i learn to kinda just make me a better player? Thanks.

Have you learned any of their songs?

If I were advising anyone, I'd say, start out with a decent amount of theory. It helps to figure out the big picture of where the songs going and what may be next. If I suspect that a song is in A Harmonic minor, I'll be expecting an E7 shortly. Maybe it helps me to isolate an otherwise insanely fast arpeggio, and it reduces the brden of trial and error note hunting, to a more reasonable range of possibilities.

Then I'd suggest getting a song that seems challenging but possible to learn, and download it/buy it. Then get a "slow downer", and start transcribing it by ear. I would not use anyone's TABS because I'm at the mercy of someone else's knowledge and they could be right or they could be wrong. After I transcribed a bit, I might look at someones tabs to compare how close. Many times, mine are better, and occasionally we used the same notes, but they did it in a different position that, upon reflection, makes sense.

Transcribing, with a knowledge of theory is a very substantial education in learning and understanding a song. A slowdowner allows you to practice a bit (looped) at a speed that allows you to keep up and work on developing good technique.

Good luck!


Quote by jomorgan582
So I understand how to play the major (ionian) and minor (aeolian) scales on my guitar as well as the modes (lydian, mixolydian, dorian, phrygian, and locrian), pentatonic, and blues scales. But I have a couple concerns.

1.) How come in most guitar instruction videos regarding scales, they play two whole octaves? Why do they have to use all six strings?

2.) I cannot make sense of the positions. It makes sense to, for example, play Major scale in the G position, but in most videos, the instructor lists the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th position of a scale. WTH??

Any help would be appreciated.

I think you have a very limited understanding of scales. A one octave scale, say G Major..

G A B C D E F# G

If I play those notes G to G, I have played a G major scale. in One octave. If I stop there, then cool. But what if I want higher and lower notes to add to my self expression?

Well, G can go on from there. G A B C D E F# G A B C D E F# G A B C...and so on.

It can encompass all areas of the fretboard. But its all G Major.

If you were playing with a backing track and the key is G Major, and you played from the 5th position and started from A B C D E F# G A B C D....

It's 5th position, but I'm still in G, even though I started from the A note. Because the A note and the others that I played after it, were all in G Major, notice I still played the F#, for instance. Positions are relative to the note of the scale I'm starting from, but the note of the scale in and of itself doesn't change the name of that scale - only other things, in context determines this.

If the notes are in the G Major scale, and the key is G major, and I play them, it's gonna sound congruent with playing in G Major. That's why you can play it all over the place, in different "positions".


Quote by krm27
I'm self-taught for about 3 1/2 years. My practice basically has included:
- reading on theory
- working on minor pentatonic and major scales and trying to get comfortable with it all over fretboard without being limited to boxes (and using these to practice soloing / jamming over backing tracks)
- learning a lot of chord progressions from popular songs in different genres (over 100) from UG's tabs

After reading about the importance of ear training, I've spent some time over the last 6 months working out from ear / memory some melodies or riffs. It takes a bit of time, but I can see improvement.

Also, I sometimes just let the radio run (Pandora) and trying to play with whatever song is on. I can find the key pretty quickly, and maybe figure out the lyrical melodic line or some riffs. But what I cannot ever seem to do is work out the chord progression. I mean, knowing what key it is in limits my options and I wind up just randomly trying out the "usual suspects" (I-V-vi-IV for example) in that key, but that's basically just guess-work, even if I get it right, it's not using my ear.

At this point, I am totally lost how to "hear" what chord progression is going on in these songs. It seems very common that there is no so much a clear "chord" being played in each measure, but instead the various instruments are playing partials, overlapping riffs, and stuff, that I suppose altogether indicates a particular chord. But I just cannot process all the different tones / notes from the different instruments and deduce a particular chord from them. Is this something that takes a long time to develop, or am I just not doing it right?

I've read some theory stuff on how to write a song starting with a melody then determining what chord progression "fits" it. I have never done that myself (if I write songs, I start with chord progression first). But it made me wonder if I'm supposed to listen and figure out the melodic line and from that I somehow apply theory concepts to "deduce" what chord progression would best fit it -- basically figuring out the progression by deduction after figuring out the melody by ear, rather than figuring out the progression directly by ear.

Is this a common problem, because I cannot recall ever reading about anyone else struggling in particular with chord recognition by ear, versus just general difficulty pickup out notes, phrases, etc.

It does not help that a lot of chords have lot of overlap, like C and G have 2 out of 3 notes in common, like I think it can be very difficult to tell a Dm7 from F for example (3 out of 4 common notes?), and if you have a rhythm guitar playing Dm7 while there's an F being sung or played by another instrument, forget about it.

Is this really as hard as it seems, or is it only hard when songs don't have whole chords played by single instruments but instead have different instruments playing chord partials to jointly create the chord progression?


Hey Ken,

I don't know what you might be doing that's different from what I do, and I can pretty much instantly figure out "most" songs, or get pretty close.

So, with your background, I don't know if you're just stacking on some "complex" songs and hitting a wall, but what I do is figure out the key. Then I listen to the "moves" I can hear a I IV or I vi, or I bVII right away and from there listen to mtion, and function. Also chord types, was that a minor chord, etc. Then if I may miss a chord in the middle, I isolate the bass, and check it, is it a root or an inversion? Only then do I look at modal interchange, borrowing, etc. I find most songs simple.

Only when it's not guitaristic, and its more piano or synth based, and layered with all sorts of things going on, will it take a little longer.

What's your approach?


Quote by Lord hazel
So lately I started using a metronome and improve my rhythm skills.
At first I followed the advice I read online, which was to count notes, as in:
1 & 2 & 3 & 4
1 e & a 2....

But I've found that it's virtually impossible for me to count like that without being distracted from the actual notes I'm playing, especially when improvising, and especially with doted notes and triplets and what not.
So instead I just started tapping my foot, which lead to a different problem. I can stay on the beat, but if I'm improvising something which is not that consistent, I can't know which beat I'm on, or where a bar ends or starts.
So my question is, what do you guys do to stay in (and aware of) time?

You'll need to count slowly at a speed that allows you to percieve the count, but also give you time to be aware of the note. Going slow is a discipline, and doesn't come easy, because it's so easy to get bored or distracted. But if you can get mastery over that, you'll be better off for it. Once you have a concept of the timing and your playing (I recommend to count it out loud to get to that stage) then add a metronome beat.


And just to add a .05 to everything they said above, I see a lot of "common" tone sharing in that black section, which is a popular concept for arranging and voicing in general.


F#m9 tuning isn't neccesarily as an aid, as it is a reference point. It depends upon what you know. If I saw the tuning, I could divine what chord it's tuned to. That's useful

I could use that information to determine the chord forms of other chords that I wished to make.

For example, I see that a single finger changes it to dominant, from minor,

2 fingers changes it to a major 7th. It really depends upon what you know, to start with.


Appreciate all the thoughts guys. Both publicly and privately. They have been felt and received.


A few months ago, I had to step away for here as I had some sudden family issues that had suddenly come center stage in my life, namely my mother had been diagnosed with cancer, and it had a rapid and terrible journey, to where she passed away shortly before Christmas.

I am now just making my way back here, and I'll be honest, my hearts not fully in this yet. But I still will try to help where I can. I'm sorry I missed JP's wonderful collaboration projects, but I'm sure there will be others. For those who I disappeared on without notice or warning, I apologize.


AlanHB - Class act and Hall Of Famer UG'r in my opinion.

Godspeed my friend - may your success be full!


I agree with Magarra to an extent. For example, I teach it for the guitar and its aimed for the guitarists in its application. But the theory itself remains intact. The bb7 of C dim7 is still Bbb, for example, but if you are a guitar player, "guitar theory" in my mind integrates the understanding of theory with the application of it to the physical geometry of the guitar.

A great example is, the understanding of the essential chord tones, in a Guitar context. More concretely, a Dominant 13 chord formula works out to be a 7 note chord. If you're on 6 strings and 4 fingers the application to the guitar is different than it would be on a 10 finger instrument like a piano.


Quote by dazzzer30
If I am using an E minor backing track Can I solo over it in E minor Lydian or a mix of E minor Lydian and the natrual E minor scale - ?

What is E Minor Lydian, a b3 and a #4th?

Kidding. I don't think that you are doing anything much more than a blues scale there, my friend, especially if you add a 4th - Id see the #4 as more of a b5 or a tritone, blues note etc.


Quote by jayx124
check out the Coltrane changes for example in "Giant Steps", this progression is absolutely beautiful as it is "sick", a challenge for every improvisor

Right, a lot of ii V I's. Good call.


Don't worry about it Liam, you've grown and come a long way. I like the smarter you that you've become.


Quote by hanginout
I am getting frustrated. I have made great improvements in many elements of my playing so far. I definitely have gotten a lot better a solos. However I still notice that I get caught in the trap of running through my scales in a really boring fashion sometimes. I learn songs by david gilmour and he finds such interesting combinations to make out of the simple minor pentatonic. Obviously i am no david gilmour but what are some ways that I can start using the pentatonic in a more interesting way rather than going through the same progression up the scale that I always find myself in?

Great question.

Do you know chord tones? You could try isolating chord tones on the change and accenting them.

Do you know about call and response playing? Also known as Question Answer? You could try looking into that.

Finally check into Variations on a Theme.

One more I thought of, learn your scales in contours, or sequences, especially those in 3rd and 4th intervals.

There are so many approaches you can take, but these are good to start with.


I'd suggest emphasising chord tones, especially 3rd and b7 on the change, and come up with a very solid melodic strategy in your playing when changing to the IV chord, so it feels "on point".


Its a benefit. Why are you making it about yourself?

Even so, I'd say that many times by the end, people are tired and winding down. Unless you were the sought after famous popular headliner, I'd say take the middle.


To be honest with you, the second I responded to that kind of thing, I'd have become their supplicant, and that's not what I'm about.


Quote by Fret Frier
Everything I have learned up until this point has either been through tabs or private/video instruction. I play guitar by patterns rather than music. What I mean by that is I don't recognize a song by the notes that are played, but where my fingers are supposed to be by a certain time. I have heard that learning by ear is very valuable, Especially in learning to improvise and jam. How do you actually learn to do this? the thought of hearing a song and then playing it is mind blowing.

There are lots of ways. Transcribing, familiarity with pitch collections. Theory which reveals the big picture and reveals common tendencies. Knowledge opens a lot of these doors.


Quote by willT08
yeah but what about all the questions in the op?

Is this music composition or visual composition?

Is Visual. The intent wasn't the music, it was the attending visualization.

Could we consider the shapes produced as a form of notation?

Only if you could replicate it based upon the formation alone. Otherwise, no, it's ineffective as notation. It's abstract representation, that would be problematic to replicate. At the very least there would be many gaps which would need to be filled to be notation. How that notation is cued to a given sound, would need to be shared and defined, and isolated.

When watching did you enjoy the shapes produced or did you find the shapes revealed the nature of the sounds?

I enjoyed the shapes. Initially I do not find that the shapes revealed the nature of the sounds. But possibly upon further listens and observations, where there was more familiarty, I might draw a correlation.


Quote by Jet Penguin
It is worth noting that minor keys TEND to be more stable than major keys, and use chains of dominants much less frequently than major keys.

A lot of music in minor keys (especially in contemporary music where everyone loves minor V) has to try really hard to stay away from modulating to the relative major.

I haven't see that, I tend to see that the Harmonic minor tends to be the most predominant usage of a minor key/deriviative progression because of the V-i resolution being stronger. eg. Smooth, House of the rising sun, Hotel California...

Especially if it immediately goes to the i after the V. But, if it meanders and goes to the III in a minor key, after the VI or the viio then I see that you've hijacked the progression and shifted tonality away from the I, effectively creating a V-I now in C, the viio I see as being a rootless dominant in function.


Quote by Patsfan1281
Thanks and right now im looking at the notes on the guitar neck and see that there isnt anything between E and F, and B and C. I am right right?

You are! And now you are on the right track towards figuring out your own question


Quote by bassalloverthe
"When you learn fast, you forget fast."

Itzhak Perlman

Who you should know made a point of never practicing more than an hour a day

That person means nothing to me. Nor do their points. But, what I teach, never requires more than 10 minutes of practice a day, but not because Itzhack thinks so.

@ Jet

...that all music was valid, and that theoretical concepts were a study of not only principles (what music tends to do) but tools with infinite applications in order to help you improve your creativity.

Ding, we have a winner. That's what is at the heart of all that I do. You just summed it up right there. My own term for this is "self-sufficient musician" and that's the outcome upon graduation from the Academy.


Quote by mr42ndstblvd
so im trying to make my first song but i cant seem to play anything that stands out to me as being "good" w2hat im really going for is a deep slow rock song like bolevard of broken dreams or wake me up when september ends i want to make something that sounds similar but at the same time completley my own and a different song so what comes first lyrics or making chords/notes on the guitar for the song

Since its your song, that's your choice. What do YOU want to happen first? There is no one way.

Every answer you can think of, is the correct one!


You know, I don't have a dog in this hunt, but I am glad Jerry is here. Although I don't follow his approach to all of this personally, I appreciate that he does. The point being that we have all at some point found our own musical gravity which sticks us to the ground. I get what Jerry is saying and how it is different than mine, but I certainly agree that he knows his stuff, regardless as to how he gets there, or how he perceives it.

Jerry is a great example of how there is not just one valid way around it. And my valid way, does not invalidate his, or yours or vice versa. The rest is just semantics that we gave a certain amount of weight towards each point.

For example, I feel it's important to be correct in the note you use. Marty Friedman doesn't. The pitch is what counts, and that is why in his video he says D# is the relative major of C minor.

Clearly, the note names are more important to me, that they are correctly taught as Eb, not D#, as the relative Major of C minor, but to Marty, it's not. He can play, we can all hear he can play. He's much better than I am as a player. What gets him there works for him, and clearly inspired enough people to warrant a video, where he seems to present things as if he knows what he's doing.