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day tripper and other questions

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(@briank)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

First. . . what key (or scale, see below :?: )is the riff to the beetles' day tripper? I'm trying to learn theory and I figure I'd try it out on something simple.
I end up spending half my time on the guitar and half my time studying all the articles on theory here, but it all seems so complex. What's the difference between a key and a scale? And when you have a scale, you can only make chords (and individual notes) that use the notes within that scale, right? And what the hell is a mode? If there's a definitive guide somewhere on this website or anywhere else, please post it. . . I feel that I may have jumped ahead of myself. . .
And another thing. . . I'm a right-hander (I fret with my left hand). . . has any other righties out there tried to go southpaw? Sometimes I think that would be so much easier because I'm so much better with my right hand. . .

"All I see is draining me on my Plastic Fantastic Lover!"


   
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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

It's in the key of E. And, yes, the key tells you which scale to use. They're synonymous, although there might be a finer distinction which eludes my crude grasp of theory.
A mode? A mode is something designed to confuse guitarists and something about which you shouldn't trouble yourself if you're a beginner. It's a way of shifting the scale around so that you start the scale of C on D or E, for example, rather than on C. Don't worry about it for now.
Hope that's a bit helpful.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Here's how I'd define them...

Key: the tonal center. Key defines the basic scale used (G major uses the G major scale, etc.). Key also groups the chords that are commonly used. Not all songs stay in one key, but the 'key' of the song is still there - it's the home base that the tune will return to when it's done modulating to other scales.

Scale: an arrangement of tones. Scale can be interchanged for key in many cases - we talk about the key of Em and mean the E minor scale - but there are some scales (whole tone, diminished, chromatic, etc) that are beyond the idea of key.

Mode: a concept that makes guitarists look like experts to each other, and asylum escapees to other musicians. Really. Modes are the shifting of a tonal center to something other than the 'tonic' (or starting note) of a scale. They came about in the Gregorian chant music of about 1500 years ago. If you want to play Gregorian chants, they're very important... if you want to play other kinds of music, ignore them completely. Everybody else does, even the people who talk endlessly about modes. If you REALLY want to learn how to use modes, learn the fretboard up, down, and sideways first - then study jazz. After that, they'll start to make sense.

Don't go southpaw. You want to be picking with your dominant hand. In the beginning, it seems like the fretting hand has the hard labor, but as you develop you'll find your right hand is better suited to the precision required by picking.

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(@briank)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

thanks, but another question. . .
when you make chord formations, why are there more than three notes (strings) in, say, a major triad? I can't understand that, especially with open strings.
and my oldest brother, a bass guitar/tuba/trombone/trumpet player, says that for the C major chord, i should pick all six strings because there's already a C (an octave higher) inside the chord. but my other, guitar-playing brother says play 5 strings and not the low E. Any help?

"All I see is draining me on my Plastic Fantastic Lover!"


   
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(@undercat)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 959
 

When you are playing more than 3 strings for a major triad, all that it's indicating is that you are playing 3 distinct named notes, in the case of a C major triad it's the C, E, and G. All notes you play when playing a C major will be one of those three.

Take your typical open C:

x32010

That's: x-C-E-G-C-E

I believe the most common way to play the C Major is with only the 5 strings, but for a six string variant, I'd usually play the G on the low E string. So it would look like this:

332010

I've heard that explained as the 'right' way to play a 6 six string C, but I've never been told why exactly. I imagine NoteBoat probably knows...

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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Nope, I haven't a clue. Everybody learns that fingering, but it's only one way to do a C chord.

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(@briank)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

how do you decide which open strings to play? or what octave of the note should you use?

"All I see is draining me on my Plastic Fantastic Lover!"


   
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