Scale Synthesis Method

author: RawalKhan- date: 07/15/2009 category: guitar scales and modes
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One week ago, a friend came up to me, and he asked me to give him 5 GOOD reasons why he should keep playing because playing the same scales over and over again gets boring. VERY true, very very true, alot of people get stuck during improvisation, when they think that they really aren't improving or making any good music through their previously learned licks or plain experience. But I'm going to introduce something a little new, it may work for you or it may not but I can only tell you what has worked for me and hope that it helps you guys develop your own style of playing. From my perspective, music has no bounderies, loads of classical musicians will disagree with me on this but from what I've learned... making your music sound good should not have limits. One of the things that has definitely helped improve my compositional and improvisational skills is making my own scales. Yup, from what I believe... scales may have been going on for centuries BUT that does not mean you cannot make one of your own. After making scales you can form different types of arpeggios that hardly anyone uses and that will make people recognize your style, it will make it truly unique. Before I move on let me go through a couple of rules that one must go by in order to do this: 1. Your scale should be seven (or eight if you count the octave) notes long. I know people have made five note (pentatonic) and six note scales but to start off we should focus on 7 note long scales. 2. You must not repeat a note for example A B C C# E F G. That cannot be done because it is not diatonic, so instead you will write it the other way, hence it will be A B C Db E F G. Now that we have that out of the way I will show you a couple of scales that I have made up for the purpose of composing riffs and solos. These are my trademark in soloing, arpeggiating... basically just everything! The Arabian Scale - This is my arabian scale in the key of A. It was derived from the minor scale and the only difference is that I flattened the fifth which is E to Eb, sharpened the sixth which is F to F# and sharpened the 7th which is G to G#. So I have A B C D Eb F# G#, this gives an exotic, middle eastern sound. Here it is over two octaves in TAB form.
I hope I've tabbed that out right lol. I do not have a guitar with me at the moment. So basically this scale came about when I was playing the minor scale, I figured that if I mess around with some of the notes then I could make it into something I want. P.S. if you like this scale, it goes well over diminished and dim7 chords. The Adim chord also gave me some ideas as to how I wanted to make this scale something more exotic, so here's a tip. When you're making your scales, then try throwing in a riff or some chords that you like and see if the scale fits it. Other than that it's all a matter of taking a a common scale (A minor and C major are the best examples because of all the natural notes, you can use the modes of the major scale if you want) and modifying the notes. I'll give you some other examples (most of the scales I make are named for the culture they remind me of, if you can think of a scale that reminds of something then it can make naming them easier). The Egyptian Scale - This scale came about when I was playing guitar while watching this movie 'The Prince of Egypt'. This is in the key of A minor again, it has some harmonic minor notes as well, also.. if you're a person who wants to play fast shred-like solos then I suggest you do not use this shape for soloing because it isnt the kind of shape I would use if I wanted to shred, anyway having said that here are the notes - A Bb C# D E F G#. Reminds me of Egypt. Here is the scale over one octave in TAB form -
Not for a shredder, but great for making dark sounding exotic riffs, I've made a couple but... yeah you don't wanna see them lol. Last but not least I would like to introduce to you the Jewish (Aha Rabba) scale, it is the same shape as the last scale but the G# is raised back to G. Here it is over one octave -
So the basic idea here is for you to make up your own scale and learn different shapes and positions over the fretboard, you're most welcome to use these if you like but try making your own, just keep the two rules in mind and you will be A-ok.
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