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Thread: Scale Positions on guitar

  1. #1
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    Angry Scale Positions on guitar

    Hey, since recently starting practicing scales daily during my practice, I have become confused with all the so called "positions" ie when u start the scale at a different point on the fretboard.

    Now I know all the positions of the pentatonic scale, and since there are 5 notes and 5 positions for the pentatonic, I figured after starting that this would be the same for the major scale. Well when I got a page of scales for G major it only had like 5, and the same with a page off the net. Reading further I picked up on the idea of modes, which is essentially just playing the scale starting from a different note, but then the modes often go past the root at the top of the scale, so surely when u descend it will sound different slightly because u started on a different note?

    Since scales on the guitar seem a lot more complicated than I ever remember them being on the clarinet, my old instrument I wonder if someone could shed some light on this problem, or point me in the direction of where I can find out, my goal is to resolve the problem then when learning scales to write out all the positions/modes in Powertab and learn a new set of positions each week.

    Thanks a lot,

    Jonny

  2. #2
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    It isn't as complicated as you think. In fact. it's quite easy, really!

    In order to play in major in ANY key you only have to learn one big pattern (which can be divided into 5 easy to handle parts). By shifting this big pattern up and down the fretboard you will play in different keys.

    Let's say you let the big pattern start at fret 5 and you would be playing in A (depends on how you picture the pattern of course...): well, if you move the complete pattern up 2 frets (=2 semitones) you will be playing in B!

    So the patterns is the exact same (you only have to learn one) but the position on the fretboard determines the key!

    With this big major pattern you are also able to play all modes: the pattern is the same, only the root note changes.

    Example: minor. If you are playing in C you are playing all the notes that belong to Am too! So... the patterns is the same too, only the rootnote has changed: it was the C but it went 3 frets down to A.

    To play in C Dorian, just play the C major pattern but start at the second note! Etc. etc.

    Hope this makes any sense... Things always look very easy when you understand them...

    Anway, with learning just ONE (big) pattern you will be able to play (most) scales, keys, modes, whatever.

    If you want it I can send you a pdf I recently made with the 'big' pattern and some extra info on this all.

    Edit: forgot about your pentatonic scale: since the pentatonic is nothing but the major scale with two notes left out, the pentatonic scales are also in the same big pattern!
    Last edited by hellogoodbye; 10-20-2003 at 10:06 AM.

  3. #3
    Registered User Moonchild's Avatar
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    If you want it I can send you a pdf I recently made with the 'big' pattern and some extra info on this all.
    Hi. I was just wondering, would you be so kind as to send that pdf-file to me at: ealsterberg@telia.com? I'd appreciate it since I've been struggeling with the same issue. Thanks

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by hellogoodbye
    To play in C Dorian, just play the C major pattern but start at the second note! Etc. etc.
    Wouldn't playing the C major scale starting at the D note be "D Dorian" - the second mode of the major scale?

  5. #5
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Yup... I guess thatīs what he meant. To play D-Dorian, play the C Major scale starting on D.
    Eric

  6. #6
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    If you use 3NPS patterns you can play all the modes of a given scale, for instance A minor, if you play it from the lowes posible note and work your way up you'll have: E Phrygian, F lydian, G Mixolydian, A minor (Eolian), B Locrian, C Major (Ionian), D Dorian, E phrygian and so on... Now the sweet part is they can be all part of the same scale (any of the above) depending on your tonal center... try playing each one of those patterns against a drone or a keyboard grove playing the lowest note on your pattern (changing the onote each time you change patterns) and then just holding one of those notes while you play all 7 patterns. You'll see how they all get a different feel.

    Now for a monstrous task: Do this with all 12 keys for the major, harmonic minor and melodic minor scales. It works, I did it myself although not quite religiously, if you do it though it should train your ear to recognize those modes quite well. Anyways, like someone once said "Take it easy... but take it"

    Regards,
    Last edited by forgottenking2; 10-20-2003 at 04:49 PM.
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  7. #7
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    pdf file

    Hey hellogoodbye, if you could it would be great to see the pdf file to backup ur explanation, all your help is great guys!

    Jonny

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by EricV
    Yup... I guess thatīs what he meant. To play D-Dorian, play the C Major scale starting on D.
    Eric
    Oops, yes, of course. Typo. You get C Dorian when you start on the second note of the Bes major scale... Sorry for the confusion! I'm not perfect. Yet.

    Edit: moonchild: I just mailed you the pdf.
    bigmentaljonny and JimmyJ: check your mailbox!
    Last edited by hellogoodbye; 10-21-2003 at 09:21 AM.

  9. #9
    Ibanez Fan
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    can you please email the pdf to me as well

    jjer@dodo.com.au



    ok heres my explanation of modes

    taking Cmajor and now call that scale ionian

    starting on the second note of the Cmaj scale,D, play the notes of Cmaj but start on D and finish on D. This is the dorian mode of Cmaj

    to play phrygian mode start on E and end in E,


    now dont think that Dorian is only for D...nonono....you can play the dorian mode anywhere but always be aware that the root note of your dorian mode IS the 2nd note of the maj scale. Always finish on the note you started on.


    take a look at this page for easy reference

    http://www.ibanez-guitar-players.com/guitar-scales.htm
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  10. #10
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    oops lol sorry forgot my ad is jondo_C@hotmail.com

  11. #11
    latin jazz man
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    Can you send that pdf to me?? I'm curious

    pelayo_jose@hotmail.com

    Thanks...
    Giant Steps...

  12. #12
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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  13. #13
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    Modes!

    Hey Jonny,
    Hey listen, scales can get kinda trickey and the best way to commit them to memory would be to break them apart into shapes.
    You spoke briefly on the pentatonic scales, you can have major or minor pentatonic scales just like the 7 modes of the major scale. By saying mode I mean the degree of the major scale. For example in C major scale C being the tonic or root note with is symbolized by the roman numeral I. The second degree would be D(II) and so on untill you reached the octave...(C again!) If you get modal charts which are basically shapes of a particular scale that are broken apart, it is real easy to memorize scales because you will know various starting points. Read up on the 7 modes and how they work. If you need help, post me a message.... and I will explain it in detail, I have spent months studying this!
    Remember..don't get discouraged at all. All the best guitarists have tricks on remembering scales for their soloing. AN example being Kirk Hammet from metallica. Think about this... I would say 95 percent of Metallica's songs are in e minor. Kirk knows his e-minor scales whether it be pentatonic, melodic, harmonic..so on. He has been at it for awhile!
    Keep practicing!

  14. #14
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    I always wonder why people talk about scales... I very often read: 'I'm going to practice the E-scale today and the Bes-scale tomorrow...' Isn't this making things extremely complicated...? You make it seem you have to 'learn' and memorize every scale!

    Now I only think in patterns. I never study a certain scale, just the basic patterns. With that hat one 'big pattern' you can play all scales and modes you want! Just by playing the patterns on different positions.

    Why study 7 months on learning all scales while you can learn all the 5 basic patterns in a few days and play everything you want...

    Is your E-scale really something you have to learn apart from the Bes-scale (for example...)? Ir do I just misunderstand it all (which could be since English is not my native language...)?

  15. #15
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what the Bes scale is...but anyways, I learned a neat trick I'm using, and that is to memorize the scales as patterns, like you would a chord. Now, obviously you dont fret it like a chord, but the shape is pretty distinguishible usually, and I find that really helps me after a few go throughs (this only works with the 'dot' reprisentation of scales, not tabbed out) it easily commits the pattern to memory.

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