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Thread: How to learn a scale all over the fretboard?

  1. #1
    Registered User Revenant's Avatar
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    How to learn a scale all over the fretboard?

    I'm one of those players who are really stuck into "box" shapes. I've been trying to find several positions for each scale so that the scale can be "mapped out" all over the fretboard.

    I know pros can just take the scale formula and map it all out themselves because they know the notes all over the fretboard etcetra etcetra. But I'm not quite there yet. I want to take a more basic approach before working that mathematically with music.

    So basically, I am just asking for links to pages with scales in ALL positions. Preferably also a good learning strategy for getting them imprinted into the memory asap.
    The Young Apprentice

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    So basically, I am just asking for links to pages with scales in ALL positions. Preferably also a good learning strategy for getting them imprinted into the memory asap.
    I'm sure the articles here have some good information on this subject. I'm not familiar with which one so I'll send you to a site I've used for years. This site will give you the five positions used to take the Major scale and the pentatonic scale up the neck.
    Click here
    May save you some time if you notice the positions have the same patterns as the modes of the scale. For example:
    Major scale's first position pattern is the same pattern as Ionian
    Major scale's second position pattern is the same pattern as Dorian
    Major scale's third position pattern is the same pattern as Phrygian
    The Forth position is the same as Mixolydian
    And the fifth pattern is the same as Aeolian

    So if you already know the mode patterns for the Major scale you already know the five positions used to take the Major scale up the neck. All you need now is how to hook them together when going up the neck.

    I use the rule --- next position starts where your little finger left off, i.e. position 2 will start at the fret your little finger used on position 1. Should mention this works on all except going from position 2 to position 3 and here you back up one fret. I made my self a cheat sheet chart and ended up with favorite spots, i.e. I no longer play them in order one to five; I have favorite spots. For example:

    I like to play the C scale at fret 8 using position one or I use position 5 at the 5th fret. Or perhaps move to the 10th fret and use position 2. The other two spots involve the 12th fret or the 3rd fret and both are in arears of the fretboard I do not prefer to play in. My point; No one says you have to use all five positions. In working up your own cheat sheet chart this will become clear and you will pick out those places you like to play best.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 01-28-2007 at 02:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User Revenant's Avatar
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    Great stuff! Thank you!
    The Young Apprentice

  4. #4
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    Learn the scale "Linear". then you can go to any place on the fretboard and continue it from there. Do one scale, then relate it to the next scale starting from the octave. Then you can see how they relate and sue that combined with the linear way of doing it to locate your scale anywhere.
    We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground, and the Russians fire another round...

  5. #5
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Malcolm and I have completely different approaches on this subject. I hope to present my approach without criticizing his.

    There are seven positional scale fingering patterns - see the attached file. Each pattern overlaps the adjacent patterns by three frets / two notes. Strung together these patterns cover the whole fretboard. As powerful as they are, these positional forms are only one approach to connecting the various fingering patterns to cover the whole fretboard. I suggest you learn these 7 patterns then work on 2nps and 3nps patterns as well as single string scales to see how they all describe the same thing in only slightly different ways.

    I prefer to avoid describing these fingering patterns as modes since whenever each note is treated equally MY ear hears the totality of those notes as the relative major scale regardless of what note I start or end on.

    Also attached is file of the seven various arpeggio fingerings derived from these seven positional patterns for the three types of triads derived from the major scale. These are the arpeggio patterns that I used to learn the fretboard. Remember that if the goal is to learn the note names all over the fretboard then you should think in terms of note names / scale degree function / chord tones rather patterns. Practicing patterns will not teach you notes. Know that thinking in terms of notes names can be challenging but it's a worthwhile investment if you are looking for long term rewards.

    Lastly, try practicing scales from the root position only. Forget about modes until you know the major scale from any position / any starting note / anywhere on the fretboard. Once the major scale is internalized in various keys, thinking in terms of modes and chord scales becomes a very simple thing.

    cheers,

    PS Once you've had a look at the scale and arp fingering patterns (if you are still interested in going that route), I'll be happy to explain how I used these to develop my fretboard visulaization skills. No need to clog the band-width with an explaination that you're not interested in.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Jed; 01-28-2007 at 08:35 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered User agalloch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    Malcolm and I have completely different approaches on this subject. I hope to present my approach without criticizing his.

    There are seven positional scale fingering patterns - see the attached file. Each pattern overlaps the adjacent patterns by three frets / two notes. Strung together these patterns cover the whole fretboard. As powerful as they are, these positional forms are only one approach to connecting the various fingering patterns to cover the whole fretboard. I suggest you learn these 7 patterns then work on 2nps and 3nps patterns as well as single string scales to see how they all describe the same thing in only slightly different ways.

    I prefer to avoid describing these fingering patterns as modes since whenever each note is treated equally MY ear hears the totality of those notes as the relative major scale regardless of what note I start or end on.

    Also attached is file of the seven various arpeggio fingerings derived from these seven positional patterns for the three types of triads derived from the major scale. These are the arpeggio patterns that I used to learn the fretboard. Remember that if the goal is to learn the note names all over the fretboard then you should think in terms of note names / scale degree function / chord tones rather patterns. Practicing patterns will not teach you notes. Know that thinking in terms of notes names can be challenging but it's a worthwhile investment if you are looking for long term rewards.

    Lastly, try practicing scales from the root position only. Forget about modes until you know the major scale from any position / any starting note / anywhere on the fretboard. Once the major scale is internalized in various keys, thinking in terms of modes and chord scales becomes a very simple thing.

    cheers,

    PS Once you've had a look at the scale and arp fingering patterns (if you are still interested in going that route), I'll be happy to explain how I used these to develop my fretboard visulaization skills. No need to clog the band-width with an explaination that you're not interested in.
    Hey if you could explain further i would be very much interested in hearing since i need to learnt the scales all over the fretboard myself.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    Malcolm and I have completely different approaches on this subject. I hope to present my approach without criticizing his.

    There are seven positional scale fingering patterns - see the attached file. Each pattern overlaps the adjacent patterns by three frets / two notes. Strung together these patterns cover the whole fretboard. As powerful as they are, these positional forms are only one approach to connecting the various fingering patterns to cover the whole fretboard. I suggest you learn these 7 patterns then work on 2nps and 3nps patterns as well as single string scales to see how they all describe the same thing in only slightly different ways.

    I prefer to avoid describing these fingering patterns as modes since whenever each note is treated equally MY ear hears the totality of those notes as the relative major scale regardless of what note I start or end on.

    Also attached is file of the seven various arpeggio fingerings derived from these seven positional patterns for the three types of triads derived from the major scale. These are the arpeggio patterns that I used to learn the fretboard. Remember that if the goal is to learn the note names all over the fretboard then you should think in terms of note names / scale degree function / chord tones rather patterns. Practicing patterns will not teach you notes. Know that thinking in terms of notes names can be challenging but it's a worthwhile investment if you are looking for long term rewards.

    Lastly, try practicing scales from the root position only. Forget about modes until you know the major scale from any position / any starting note / anywhere on the fretboard. Once the major scale is internalized in various keys, thinking in terms of modes and chord scales becomes a very simple thing.

    cheers,

    PS Once you've had a look at the scale and arp fingering patterns (if you are still interested in going that route), I'll be happy to explain how I used these to develop my fretboard visulaization skills. No need to clog the band-width with an explaination that you're not interested in.

    I was lookin forever for those arpeggio shapes, appriciate the post.

  8. #8
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    The place to start would be to develop a passing familiarity with the fingering patterns in the key of C then move onto diatonic triad arpeggios. I found scales too complicated and too numerous to work as aids to learning the fretboard so I used triad arpeggios instead.

    See the attached file for notes on what all the various numbers mean on the scale and arpeggio form sheets. You may want to start by mapping out the notes on the low E string since the forms can be anchored to scale degrees on the 6th string.

    Inside each pattern, rather than just dots, are the scale degree numbers. All of the 1's = the tonic or 1st degree of the major scale, 2 = the 2nd degree of the scale, etc, etc.

    Start with pattern #4 at the low F on the 6th string (for the key of C). Get familiar with this form before you move up to the pattern #5. Don't try to memorize the forms just get familiar with them. Do memorize the locations of the tonics for each form - all of the C notes. Work you way through each form, noticing the over-lapping notes and patterns.

    Practicing scales starting and ending on the tonic notes will help develop the ear and make it a bit easier to learn the forms but do play the whole form, just always start and end on the tonics for a while until you have a firm grasp of where they are. To start all you need to do is learn the patterns and the location of the tonics in each pattern. In doing so you'll be reinforcing the locations of all of the tonics all over the fret board and the notes along the 6th string since they are the lowest notes of the form.

    Once you are familiar with the forms (can play them from memory over the whole fretboard in C using the tonics as anchor points) it's time to look at the arpeggios. Arpeggios for the C major triad exist within each of the seven patterns and can be found by looking for the 1's, 3's & 5's in each pattern. It's probably best to find the arps from within the scale patterns rather than use the arp sheet.

    Work up the seven C major arpeggio patterns, one form at a time but do so in terms of notes not patterns. Think in terms of notes names first, then as chord tones (root, 3rd & 5th) and eventually as major scale degrees. Avoid thinking of patterns but rather force yourself to see the notes first. You may have to count up or down from other known notes at the beginning. This is the frustrating part but if you really want to know the fretboard you need to think in terms of note names and not patterns. Practice the C maj arpeggios in 7 positions to move up and down the fret board to get an idea of where all of this leads.

    Lastly consider how the brain remembers things and how we commit things to long term memory. Repetition is one mechanism - we remember things that we do often. But we can only remember a couple of things at a time so start slow and keep at it. Practicing 10 minutes at a time 3 times a day every day is better than once a week for 3-4 hrs.

    When you feel familiar with the seven major arp forms in Cmaj , start on the minor arp forms in A min (the 6th, 1st, 3rd degrees of the major scale = A min) and continue to review the major arps in C maj. When you feel familiar with the major and minor arp forms add the diminished arp forms in B dim (the 7th, 2nd, 4th degrees of the major scale = B dim) while reviewing / maintaining the other arp types.

    The key is to change things up often enough that you don't start thinking in terms of patterns but keep think in terms of collections of notes. Think of the note names, sing the pitches, look at the notes but don't fret them, close your eyes and try to visualizing where each note is - there are hundreds of variations to try - invent your own exercises.

    Eventually you'll want to practice these arpeggios in all the diatonic triads of all 12 keys. Don't be overwhelmed, start slowly - one key at a time.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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