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Most "Useful" Scales?


(@jakeman)
Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 9
Topic starter  

I only know one scale at the moment which is Em Pentatonic, which i know all over the fretboard and can do on demand. Im not interested to be learning every single scale there is but I would like to know which scales are the most useful. Someing to spice up some solos, to add some more interesting notes instead of ones where there a step apart.

Thanks.


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(@pkrider)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 59
 

That Em (also known as a blues) scale is nearly identical to the G pentatonic so whether you realize it or not you actually know the 2 (the blues scale adds a few notes to the pentatonic). Therefore, if you learn the major scale, the pentatonic, and the blues scale you know you'll have 3 which is likely all you need. Another thing, learn in all keys! Since you know the Em, move the root to F,G,A, B, C D..... The shapes and distnaces remain the same, only the root changes.

PK


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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5134
 

I'm not quite sure what you're asking. You should definitely be able to play the pentatonic major and minor in any key up and down the fretboard. The major and minor are easy enough. For example, the Em minor pentatonic is also the G major pentatonic.

You should also learn how to play the major scale at any position in any key. (By doing this, you'll also be learning the different positions called the modes but don't even give that a second thought). And you should learn the natural minor. This probably sounds like a mouthful at the moment, but read David's lesson Scaling the Heights. He'll make sense of it for you. Once you get those pentatonics down, tackle the scales he discusses.

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


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(@voodoo_merman)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 370
 

It depends on what you play.

Most usefull blues: Blues scale, major pentatonic scale and mixolydian scale.

Most usefull Jazz: Dorian, Lydian, and Locrian (but you should know pretty much every popular western scale/mode in order to play "good" jazz)

Most usefull rock: The pentatonic scales and the major scale.

Basically, you'll be able to play with almost anyone if you know your pentatonic scales well. So, overall I would have to say that the minor pentatonic is the most usefull scale.

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(@off-he-goes)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1274
 

Like everybody else seems to be saying, you would probably benefit by learning the Pentatonic Scales, and the majors/minors. They seem to be the most usefull for popular music. It gets a bit more complex with Jazz music though.

Check out David's lesson, and the Music Theory forum as well!

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(@forrok_star)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2340
 

Here's some that can be very interesting. Have fun.

My favorite's

Joe


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(@kingpatzer)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2198
 

It depends on what you play.

Most usefull Jazz: Dorian, Lydian, and Locrian (but you should know pretty much every popular western scale/mode in order to play "good" jazz)

I'd disagree with that.

For jazz the most important scales are major, melodic minor, harmonic minor, diminished, wholetone and chromatic.

"Modes" are a really popular topic, but as they are typically used in Jazz I have a hard time finding many people that are honestly making use of them. Most people either are using them to define available notes for soloing under a particular chord, or they're playing chromatically. And frankly, the good jazz players play chromatically and leave the mode stuff alone . . . at least as far as I can tell when I do transcriptions. Maybe they're thinking in modes, but if they are, I have no idea how.

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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

I'm sort of with King on that... although there are definately tunes where I might 'think' in Dorian (like "So What"), if you actually did a transcription you might just as well assume I was thinking in the blues scale, or the minor pentatonic... because jazz is so chromatic - it's often hard to tell after the fact what the 'core' of a solo was.

And frankly, I don't know anyone who uses the Locrian improvisationally. I know lots of people who talk about using it... but I don't hear it in the results. There are easier ways to get similar dissonance while leaving yourself points of resolution, like the diminished scale.

I'd say no matter what style you play, you need to know the major scales inside out - everything else builds off of them. And there are very few genres where a knowledge of the blues scale won't be called on.

Beyond that, feel free to specialize... in addition to those mentioned, the bebop scale comes in mighty handy in jazz.

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(@tedywillian)
New Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 1
 

There are a lot of useful scales. I just want to share some of them.

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