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Thread: How do I learn what key a scale is in, and how can I seperate it...

  1. #1
    I love Guitar. UltimaRage's Avatar
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    How do I learn what key a scale is in, and how can I seperate it...

    ...into different patterns? It's much easier to learn as different patterns. That's how I learned the pentatomic minor.
    ~UltimaRage~

  2. #2
    I love Guitar. UltimaRage's Avatar
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    Can anyone help?
    ~UltimaRage~

  3. #3
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    well ultima,

    the major scale patterns you'll find surely somwhere on ibreathe if you do a search. if not on google, and if there won't be any out there - i'll tab them out for you .
    learn them and keep an eye on the root (thats the key you are in) - that'll make it easier if you get into modes afterwards.

  4. #4
    I love Guitar. UltimaRage's Avatar
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    Alright... I'd really like to start getting into scales and theory, but my time for racticing them is limited, but I have a set to practice for my band, since we have a show next Friday.
    ~UltimaRage~

  5. #5
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    Metalllicas 1 st album , "Kill em All", had some good E minor/E Minor Pentatonic riffing . Seek And Destroy , is good for that .
    The song "Enter Sandman" From "the Black album" , also shows good usage of E minor Pentatonic with , other Minor notes added.
    Pluss with Metallica , the Rhythm guitar also is playing the E Minor as well.
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    Last edited by Sir Speedy; 09-15-2011 at 08:10 AM.

  6. #6
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    How do I learn what key a scale is in, and how can I seperate it...
    ...into different patterns? It's much easier to learn as different patterns. That's how I learned the pentatomic minor.
    As to ---How do I learn what key a scale is in, If you are asking how do I tell if this is a C scale or a G scale? If that is your queston you have to look at the individual notes. Or let your ear tell you I'll talk about both below.

    Put the notes in alphebitical order, cross out any duplications and then compare the notes with a Major Scale chart. I.E. if you have 7 notes and do not find any sharps or flats in any of the notes you can bet you have the C scale. If only the F is sharped (F#) that will be the G scale.

    Listen to the scale, music, CD, whatever and run the low E string up the neck, when what is playing and the sound of the low E string go together (sound OK together) look down at your fretboard and see what note you have landed on. If the 5th fret note sounds right you are in the key of A.

    Once you know which scale, yes then use your patterns, just place the root note (if E scale place the root note of the pattern on fretboard E notes -- Like Sir Speedy's graphs show)

    Not sure this is what you were asking --- if I missed the mark, sorry.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 10-31-2004 at 01:09 PM.

  7. #7
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    What i've always been told , and the way Paul Gilbert teaches , is to learn your Patterns in one key , Say A minor . Learn Your pentatonic boxes, and Your Extended Pent Boxes . Your intervals and Triads . Utilize them , then start adding Scales and Arpeggios later .
    .
    If you want to see these patterns layed out on a Fretboard , get a good Technique Book , such as .The Frank Gambale Technique book , and check out the Apendix .

    I actually write my own Fretboards out for students , who want to know about the Zakk Wylde/Tony Iommi style of Fret Burning .
    If you have any Questions , ask away.
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    Last edited by Sir Speedy; 09-15-2011 at 08:10 AM.

  8. #8
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    Check out the series of Articles by Guni under Music Theory on major scale theory, it's all there for you.

    Once you've read through this and done the exercises given you will be able to work out keys from chord scales by a process of elimination and understanding the intervals and chord formations. They always stay the same! Learn them and know them for ever!

    Although there is plenty to be said for learning patterns I think it is restricting after a certain point because you find you run out of options quickly and are perhaps scared to leave what become "safe" areas of the fretboard. You know your root, but can you quickly move to the 5th or 7th? If you use a pattern it takes too long for your brain to get your finger there, if you know your notes your one step ahead! You'll "see" the patterns merge on the fretboard and be much freer to get outside the box.

    I've played like that for years and after a while it's frustrating because you end up repeating riffs and restricting your ability to really get into some improvisation. Since I've read through Guni's articles, very recently I might add, I'm already benefitting and because I now know what note I'm playing and which note it is in a scale I can pick out the notes that define the mode I want to portray.

    First time I gripped it I laughed to myself while I was doing it, it's so logical I cannot believe I failed to learn it for so long!

    First up learn where all the notes are on your fretboard. This takes a while but do it anyway. It will be the best thing you ever do for your guitar playing I promise. It's not as bad as you think. Don't worry about sharps and flats to start with. There are little tricks to help you, for example BC are always one fret apart of course and EF will always appear next to each other on the adjacent string. Thats a pattern of four notes all together which repeat all over the fretboard. Then learn your G, A and D. Job done, from there you can quickly reference your sharps and flats.

    Learn your cycle of fifths!!! Major scale theory! Modal application!

    Ignore it at your peril. Without this knowledge you will be for ever stuck in the pentatonic rut, or copying riffs from others. No harm in that you might say, but do you want to be a cloner or a player? What defines your own style? Do you want people to alwasy compare you to other players or recognise you have a style that you've developed for yourself.

    EricV has also done an article recently including stuff on playing/practicing on one string and getting out of that running across the fretboard at speed. Also very handy!

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    I have always ignored the cycle of fifths/fourths. What is the benefit of learning this?

  10. #10
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    I do not rely on the circle any more. I use a Major Scale Chart which tells me the same thing the circle does and I do not have to figure anything out.

    Only thing I got from the circle (and I did have a copy glued to my music stand) was a quick way to see what I, IV, V would be and I could take a peek what vi would be.

    Chord progression is the only thing I ever used it for. Well, yes I did use it for the order of sharps and flats until I learned the following limerick and I now just use that.

    See God destroy all earth by F#irey C#haos -- order of the sharp scales
    Fat cats go down alleys eating birds -- order of the sharps
    Farmer Brown eats apple dumplings greasely cooked. -- order of the flat scales and the order of the flats.

  11. #11
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    I just say the word phonetically so I don't have to remember any crazy sentences. I have to remember not to say them in public. You get some funny stares!

  12. #12
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    Outstanding Malcolm!!

    I like those alot! Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.

    Ultima, from learning Malcolms limericks you will be able to identify major scales easily you see. Only sharp in the scale? And it's F#...can only be G Major.

    Another way I have for learning the order of sharps is that there are two parts to it if you like. Know that F is the first sharp then GAB follow each other that's part one, Part 2 would then follow on CDE.

    But if you imagine stretching FGAB so there are gaps between, then insert part 2 into the gaps

    FCGDAEB.

    But I have to admit, I really like Fat cats go down alleys eating birds.

    I shall be chuckling away for the rest of the day now!

  13. #13
    Registered User Sir Speedy's Avatar
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    Right, you should know everynote on the fret board or atleast the 2 low strings and thier Octaves .

    As far as Approaching theory goes ,first of all , when you learn scales , everything is compaired to the Major scale , even Minor scales like A minor pent
    (1b3 4 5) so, scale "Formulas" like patterns are based on the same starting , Root note.
    just physically being able to "do something ' on the guitar , with pentatonic scales is a very important step in the right direction . Cause even over a Rhythm in one key , you can choose weather or not you want to use Major or minor Pentatonic ,to get a tonality . Right there you are begining to use substitutions , and can take it to the next step of using Dominant 7th Arpeggios , and chromatic scales , after that , to get a "Country/Jazz" sound ,or what ever .
    Or check out how a Harmonic minor scale sounds , on a simple one key rock progression . The things which have there unmistakable idenities of sound , are good to know before , attempting ,some of the more Subtile , scale sounds .
    I as a rock player, I identify scale sounds, as patterns and riffs as used by particular players .
    Clapton plays in D minor/major pentatonic usually and juggles the two back and fourth , to make playing in one key sound more interesting .

    Johnny Winter is Straight E A and B minor , and plays through 12 Bar changes , like no other ,
    Johnny juggles Minor and major pent back and fourth when jamming over a one key progression , as well , like most country rock players do , Like Skynard and Outlaws

    The guy in Blue Oyster Cult uses the Harmonic minor , over , even simple blues rock ,like Don't fear the Reaper

    Jeff beck uses Mixolydian and Lydian alot

    Vai uses Lydian/mixolydian alot

    Allman Bros use Dorian alot

    Blackmore used Minor intertwined with common blues Riffs ,really well , infact on Smoke on the Water , a very simple Progression , he still manages to get 7 note Minor scale riffing in there ,as dose Santana .

    Iommi used Mixolydian to start out the solo in the middle of "War Pigs" as well as in the Bridge in "Symptom"The song " After Forever " s Intro Riff is Mixolydian , a good example of what the scale sounds like .other wise Iommi uses Minor,Phrigian . Chromatics And the Notorious Tri Tone , in the title track Black Sabbath

    Metallica is staight minor , Phrigian and some times Locrian (Phrigian with a b5) Tritone

    Malmsteen uses Phrigian and Diminished 7th arpeggios with harmonic minor , exclusively .

    Hendrix Purple Haze starts out with a Tri Tone E with Bb , and uses E minor pent Emajor Pent and LOCRIAN in the solo , to sound strange as possible .

    Burning of the Midnite Lamp intro is a good example of what a Dorian scale sounds like .Watch tower , straight minor

    Those guys all know,how to get Moods through scales ..
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    Last edited by Sir Speedy; 09-15-2011 at 08:10 AM.

  14. #14
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Sir Speedy - your last post went into my hard drive, I'll give you credit for it till ------ I think it was really an original thought on my part.

  15. #15
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    Theres Dorian and Mixolydian moments in the Purple Haze solo. But locrian, I need to check that...?

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